Review of 'Spectacles: A Memoir'

Spectacles: A Memoir by Sue Perkins

spectacles.jpg Susan (Sue) Perkins will be familiar to fans of the original BBC “Great British Bake-Off” series many as one half of the “Mel [Giedroyc] and Sue” comedy partnership that has spanned stage, radio and television over the years. In “Spectacles” Perkins uses her trademark self-deprecating wit to tell the story of her life complete with making no promises she will not “embellish” the truth. Here she takes us from her early years growing up in Croydon to her days studying in Cambridge where her love of performing bloomed with her involvement in the “Cambridge Footlights” then on to a tough stint at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and finally into radio and television, ending with her recent involvement in the BBC series “World's Most Dangerous Roads”.

Reading “Spectacles” it seemed to me it was like listening to Perkins herself talking in my head such as it really captures her easy going nature and ironic, very British, humour. The book is split into five parts with a number of chapters in each making it for quite easy reading. Those wanting details on her specific appearances (such as on Bake Off) will likely be disappointed as she reveals only a few tidbits preferring instead to concentrate on the things that have made her what she is. Here she demonstrates she is extraordinarily comfortable has with who she has become, making few apologies. She is who she is, “warts” and all.

In this memoir Perkins makes every attempt to not only amuse but also be as honest as possible including talking about her coming out as a lesbian though it does often seem as though while she relates the facts (and quirks) of the events around her life there is another layer below which we only occasionally get the occasional glimpse of. In this it often seems as though we are reading the script of a sit-com rather than that of a life with humorous scene after humorous scene playing it out on the page. Having said that, she does come across as being genuine and, perhaps, as naive as she often suggests.

Though she may not care to admit it, Sue Perkins is a likeable and very entertaining person which she clearly demonstrates here. I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot of her in the years to come. “Spectacles” is an amusing and not-so-reverent look at an entertainment icon of modern Britain.

Rating: “Nearly perfect, but not quite”

Review Date: 2019-01-01

Genre: Autobiography

Publisher: Penguin

Publication Date: 2015

ISBN: 9781405918558