Spectacles by Sue Perkins

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Spectacles by Sue Perkins

Buy Spectacles by Sue Perkins at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Autobiography
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Stacey Barkley
Reviewed by Stacey Barkley
Summary: Family bonds, loves, losses, silly mistakes and success. All the things that make up life are here in a memoir as honest as it is funny.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 464 Date: July 2016
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 978-1405918558

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A dash of drama, a sprinkling of gossip and a smattering of laugh-out-loud funny make for the best sort of memoir.

As half of the much-loved presenting duo, Mel and Sue, Perkins has broken from her screen persona to share a window into her life, its past and present. In doing so it is easy to believe that actually, what you see on screen is also what you get in real life; a warm and funny individual prone to lateness, mistakes and rash actions, just as we all are. There is no gloss (apart from the funny kind) applied here, but a plain, down-to-earth reflection on her trajectory to the here and now.

Hailing from the English town of Croydon (a source of much comedy throughout) Sue was born to a mother prone to catastrophizing, and a father who kept his emotions in check by focusing on real hard facts. In a few particularly memorable scenes she shares the wonder of this pair with us; one providing the cold, hard facts to the other’s sensational account of the very same event. And this is her style throughout, warm and open.

She invites us along as she leaves her comfortable, modest beginnings, to walk through the doors of the prestigious, Cambridge University, through her Footlights Presidency, and through the years of struggle that followed as she worked to make her way into the entertainment industry. She writes of the colorful landlords, the random gigs, and the characters that helped (and hindered) along the way. She writes with a candid wit and shares in such a way that you feel incredibly familiar with both her, and with the people she chooses to share; again no glossing, but a frank reflection on events and people; a normalcy with which we can all relate and which only adds to the humour she draws out from these experiences.

While memoirs risk treading down the heartache-y line of misfortunes shared and tears shed, Perkins does no such thing. Certainly she does not shy away from sharing the inevitable moments of grief and pain that have occurred in her life: break-ups, infertility, her father’s cancer, but she does so with a dose of self-deprecating humour throughout, and a keen eye for the irony and wider impact of these events.

It is also not a memoir fitting of the sensationalist-tell-all-scandalous-scoop type of affair. And that is said absolutely in its favour, for what we end up with, is an account that is honest and candid where it can be, and briefer, naturally, in the places where it can’t or chooses not to be; honest and relatable.

Perkins opened the book with a forenote, warning the reader that she had dabbled in a bit of self-enhancing here and there in a bid to make us like her. In this she hands down succeeds. If your best friend wrote a memoir (and of course, also happened to be a comedic wonder) this would be it.

For further comedic memoir material, see Dear Fatty by Dawn French.

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Buy Spectacles by Sue Perkins at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Spectacles by Sue Perkins at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Spectacles by Sue Perkins at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Spectacles by Sue Perkins at Amazon.com.


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