While Bonkers is certainly not a warts’n’all book, Jennifer Saunders’ autobiography is a gripping and compulsive read, with Jennifer’s distinctive voice almost reading it aloud in your head – such is the strength of her character on the pages.
While we read about her relationship with lifelong comedy partner Dawn French, working with the legendary Comic Strip team, and her love for Joanna Lumley, we learn little about her experiences as a wife, mother or friend. But that’s hardly surprising as Jennifer has always been a woman who appears to have struggled with the concept of finding herself a celebrity.
At the Cheltenham Literature Festival this year, Jennifer talked so engagingly with Kirsty Young about some of the stories in Bonkers, and it was a joy to hear her chatting on stage. But the sense of keeping everything close to her chest remained. And while you love every second you spend reading Bonkers and hearing her talk about her life, you also come away feeling like you haven’t really learned very much about her. Which is surely what she wants!
But what shines through is a hilarious woman, who is living a life she loves. She’s a woman who loves her family, her animals and her friends. And the fact she comes across as a genuinely good egg is reinforced by the fact she has one of the longest marriages in showbiz, and her friendships have all endured through the decades.