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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 25 February 2014
Very rare that I read a book. Even rarer that I read a book within a week. Bonkers was read in about four days.

It's rather marvellous. I had read some not particularly complimentary reviews on ITunes - just niggly things like people saying that Dear Fatty(Dawn French's book) was better and to read that instead, or that the book sounded like Jennifer showing off about her famous friends.

Two points there to pick up on.

1) French and Saunders are in fact two individuals, not one person. So to recommend people read someone else's autobiography instead is silly. This isn't meant to be Dear Fatty, this is meant to be Bonkers, the fact that these two people have closely linked lives is by the by. I wanted to read about Jennifer Saunders life, so I read this book. As those Americans would add - period.

2) People like to read about famous people's lives because they include other famous people. If Ms Saunders spent this book telling us about Barbara from behind the counter in Spar, and John from the pub's brother we would be bored. So she throws in a few Goldie Hawns and Ruper Everetts. If ever I write my autobiography, it will include the time Stevie Nicks waved at me. Yes I will.

Bonkers is funny, warm and very human, even with a fancy cocktail in its hand on some millionaire's yacht. And next time I watch French & Saunders Series 1-6 Box Set (6 discs) [DVD], Absolutely Fabulous - Absolutely Everything Box Set [DVD] [1992]or Jam and Jerusalem - Series 1-3 [DVD], I'll feel as though I know a little bit more about the blood, sweat and tears that went into those great shows.

Thumbs up gel.
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on 12 October 2013
as a big fan of Jennifer Saunders I was very excited to read this book, I can honestly say i was not disappointed. The unique 'go of on a ramble in the middle of a chapter' structure ensured that you were never bored by long stories of great grandparents and first boyfriends. The book was just as funny as Jen herself and I read the book in her voice. It was personal but no too personal that it began to feel uncomfortable. The details on how she got into comedy, how she and Adrian Edmondson got together, the beginning of Ab Fab and her fantastic friendships with Dawn French and Joanna Lumley were an insightful view into her fantastic life. Then obviously there was the cancer. She tackled this subject well. She wrote it in an emotional light but not in a way that would drag down the mood of the whole book. She made people aware of what she had been through but you could tell she was not searching for any sympathy, which in a way made it all the most touching. I would recommend this book 100%
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on 25 November 2013
I loved Bonkers ! How refreshingly different to have an autobiography that tells of a happy childhood and not one of misery. I bought Bonkers on cd and listened to it in the car making a normally long boring journey a pleasure. From childhood to student life to meeting Dawn French and their early life in comedy through to the success of French and Saunders, Ab Fab etc., etc. Absolutely recommend Bonkers and, having also listened to Dear Fatty, how interesting that Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders have incredibly similar voices.
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on 11 October 2013
Loved the book thought it was personal but without exposing any intimacy so we now know how ms Saunders mind works but not which side of the bed she sleeps on.
As a huge fan I giggled through the book in a day.
It is to be hoped perhaps a novel will follow however anyone who reads this and has read bonkers will know it may be a long wait. Hah!
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on 3 September 2014
Just like Jennifer herself, this book is likeable, funny, warm & honest. She modestly admits that she's not much of a bookworm herself... but this story of her life takes the reader on a whimsical & fun-filled journey where she speaks to you just like a friend who's come round for tea.

Jen admits she's had a good life thus-far (& there are certainly no skeletons in her closet waiting to jump out!), as she takes us through her happy childhood memories, her college years, & the fascinating story of how she & comedy partner Dawn French met & forged their relationship.

French & Saunders (or The Menopause Sisters, as they were originally known!) emerged on the scene at a key time, becoming Britain's first-ever high-profile female comedy double-act. As you would imagine, the journey was predictably bumpy to start with - but they turned out to be real role-models for others to follow, & true comedy pioneers.
We chart Jen's career here from fledging stand-up, Comic-stripper, sit-com star, film actress & Ab-Fabber... not to mention of course her surprising horse-riding skills!

She gives one of the most cheery accounts of her time as a cancer patient here I've ever read, always remaining positive & realistic, emerging victorious on the other side in a typically modest account of one of her biggest life challenges.
This is great book for anyone who's a fan of Saunders (& French), & it's lovely to read about her family life, her passions, & her refreshing disdain of the tiresome cult of 'celebrity'.

All in all, an excellent autobiography for anyone who's interested in the life of Jen, & one that leaves the reader ultimately feeling they've really got to know her a little bit, & what makes her such a likeable figure.
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on 27 January 2014
This is a really entertaining read and is full of interesting facts and stories for people who grew up with F&S then AbFab. It also confirmed the impression I had of Jennifer Saunders that she's a lovely person who simply likes making people laugh. She also comes across as very down-to-earth and humble about her talents. A must for any fan.
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on 10 October 2013
I was aware when reading this that Jennifer Saunders had quite a guarded approach to writing it, or rather opening up her life completely and publicly, and was perhaps unwilling to write a warts and all biography. The result is essentially another tier of French and Saunders/Absolutely Fabulous-style comedy rather than a surface-scratcher, looking back at her life and snatching those bits that are most likely to raise a giggle. It is even structural written in a sitcom-esque, episodic style, but that didn't spoil my enjoyment because I love to laugh and this is full of deep-belly dynamite. Jennifer Saunders is a bit of a hero for me and the windows she provides into her past are a joy to read, especially since they are crafted with great attention to detail, mastery of language and a talent for manipulating it to make just about anything funny. Yes, it does at times feel as if she is keeping the reader at arm's length, but this could also be a reflection of aloof personality elements or the fact that she really does look back on her life and just remember it all as being bloody hilarious. Either way, the end result is a fun read and I would recommend taking a look.

I saw Jennifer Saunders interviewed at the Southbank Centre on Tuesday and realised how uncool it is to be a superfan... See [...] for more info.
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on 10 October 2013
Arrived today, can't believe little Miss Saunders actually wrote this as I've been into her 'stuff' since 1984 and I was fully aware of how lazy she can be ;-) . . . The book is worth buying just for the photos and the Menopazzi Sisters story set in their (F&S) old flat. Sent me off out the door giggling. There are so many dreadful autobiographies out these days by equally dreadful 'celebs' that this should be a relief for anyone who can read! Great stuff Jen. PLEASE WRITE THAT FILM!

Aubrey x
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on 20 July 2014
I liked this book. It is funny as you would expect from a comedian. A lovely back ground story of her life. The highs and lows from her personal and professional life. A good read. Though, I thought that Dawn French's book had just that little bit more humour. You could see where the two autobiographies intertwined too.

If you like French & Saunders, you will like this book.

(I read this book, just as the untimely death of Rik Mayall was revealed. So it felt just that little bit more special to read the memories from the comic strip and how the girls first started out.)
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 October 2013
I bought the Audible audio version of Bonkers; Jennifer was the narrator.

This is a laugh out loud book. Much of it is written in an off the cuff style of a comedy sketch. And thereby lays her genius. There's, rightly in my view, little in the way of startling revelation. Jennifer has gained some notoriety for being a very private individual. But in this book she's often self deprecating, warm and it gives a fascinating insight into the way in which she can capture the moment and turn the ordinary into both the amusing and absurd. She has an eye for detail and an ear for dialogue. A number of her reflections recounted here have clearly been the basis of or influenced her characters and sketches. Although she often makes light of her road to success, she is genuinely talented and I have the greatest admiration for her work and as a person.

She speaks with honesty about her illness and refuses to be defined by it. Her account is candid and moving. After finishing the book, I've laughed again (unfortunately out loud for no apparent reason) as I remembered a couple of incidents she talked through! She is a very funny lady. I really enjoyed this and I feel enriched by her sharing a little peek into her life.
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