12 January 2016

Spectacles by Sue Perkins

Hey everyone,

This is probably the first memoir I’ve ever read, but when I saw this incredible cover in Sainsbury’s I couldn’t resist buying it. Of course the fact that it was Sue Perkin’s memoir was an added bonus. I’ve been a fan of Sue since she presented Revealing Anne Lister a documentary about Anne Lister (a pretty incredible women who I encourage all of you to read about). So bearing in mind those two facts lets get on with the review!

The book:

When I began writing this book, I went home to see if my mum had kept some of my stuff. What I found was that she hadn't kept some of it. She had kept all of it - every bus ticket, postcard, school report - from the moment I was born to the moment I finally had the confidence to turn round and say 'Why is our house full of this shit?’

Sadly, a recycling 'incident' destroyed the bulk of this archive. This has meant two things: firstly, Dear Reader, you will never get to see countless drawings of wizards, read a poem about corn on the cob, or marvel at the kilos of brown flowers I so lovingly pressed as a child. Secondly, it's left me with no choice but to actually write this thing myself.

This, my first ever book, will answer questions such as 'Is Mary Berry real?', 'Is it true you wear a surgical truss?' and 'Is a non-spherically symmetric gravitational pull from outside the observable universe responsible for some of the observed motion of large objects such as galactic clusters in the universe?'

Most of this book is true. I have, of course, amplified my more positive characteristics in an effort to make you like me. 

Thank you for reading. 
My thoughts:

To begin with I didn’t like this memoir; the extremely conversational style of Sue’s writing rather than drawing me into the story kept pushing me out of it. Especially when she was discussing her early childhood in South East London. This is because I went in expecting Sue from the GBBO; a sarcastic, hilarious and cake-obsessed woman. And while this Sue certainly appears, in beginning we are introduced to Sue from childhood, her adolescent years and finally her time at university. It shows how the Sue we have come to love and adore came into being. The Sue we first meet is unsure, slightly awkward and just a tiny bit crazy.  Honestly I wouldn’t have had it any other way.


Sometimes we don't want to be tethered to yesterday. It's nicer to forget. Maybe the gaps in our memory are there for a reason, evolutionary perhaps, to give us the space to grow, to get away from childishness or childish things.


For me Spectacles kept improving as I became accustomed to the style of the writing, and let go of what I had imagined the memoir would be about, I began to enjoy myself. The tale of Sue and Mel’s first show at the Edinburg Fringe Festival had me laughing out loud on the train... A sound my fellow passengers didn’t appreciate at 8:00am. This wasn’t the only adventure of Sue and Mel’s that had me laughing and their friendship was definitely a highlight of the memoir.


“So, even if the present isn’t going the way we want it, we can stand back and remember our earlier selves as exciting and funny and daring.”


Yet Spectacles did touch on some of the more poignant and heart-wrenching moments in Sue’s life; such as the doctor’s appointment where she found out she was infertile. Overall this book is characteristic of Sue Perkins. It’s a slightly crazy, warm, hilarious and insightful look into her own life; both the good and the bad. If you’re a fan of Sue Perkins then I can’t recommend this book enough. The only reason I couldn’t give it five stars was due to, in my opinion, the slow start.

My rating:
Happy reading and see you next time!