Full disclosure – I did go to an event by Megan on her book tour. It was great. She was lovely and answered every question which as some, I am sure, were challenging for her in terms of a baying crowd demanding why she said and did hurtful things and then questioning why she decided that they were hurtful things to say. I admire her bravery in facing up to what her and family did and are currently doing is not really ‘the Word of the Lord’. But anyway, she was great, it was great, the book was great.
Basically, just go and watch Louis Theroux’s documentary called The Most Hated Family in America.
It’s always slightly harder to review autobiographies. This is the author’s own truth. This is their story. Who am I to say, well this was a bit boring when it was their life and they lived it? That being said, I have read it and this is a review site so here we go!
This book challenged me in a good way. I have to admit, I went into this book thinking how can anyone believe in the Westboro ideology and you must be brainwashed to believe that. And I still think that BUT I also can see them as a family which I hadn’t before. They were still parents loving their children and trying to bring them up. They were still children who defied their parents as all kids do and pushed the line. It was interesting to learn that the Phelps name was first heard as champions in the race wars of the 60s and 70s as the founder of Westboro believed in equality for both black and white people and fought to help black people when other lawyers wouldn’t. It shows that the religious zeal of the family if applied to the right outlet could also be a force for good. A major lesson to take from this story.
On the whole, I found the beginning to slightly drag a little and I found it most interesting when Megan started to doubt her family’s beliefs and ideology. It gives me hope that Twitter can be used for good as well as all the other horrible things the social network is famed for.
I also found the copious amounts of bible verses placed about slightly hard to deal with. When it tied in with the story then I got it but they were placed about quite frequently. Though as Megan herself said in her talk I went to, they are in italics so you can skip them quite easily!
Overall, because it challenged my own prejudice against this family and enlightened me on a topic I thought I knew (because I had seen all the Theroux documentaries) I give this a 7.5/10.
I have always loved Jennifer Saunders. I blame my mother for this. She introduced me to Absolutely Fabulous, Vicar of Dibley, French and Saunders and on my own I discovered Jam and Jerusalem. Saunders’ guest spot on Friends has to be one of my favourites. She basically plays Eddie from AbFab. The joint effort of French and Saunders is sublime and their solo work is as good. I have already read Dear Fatty by Dawn French (Fatty being Saunders’ nickname) and loved it. So when Kindle biography showed me that Saunders had a biography I had to read it. I don’t like biographies as a rule. I have to really like the person they are about and even then that isn’t fool proof. My favourite comedian is Peter Kay and his biography was a very dull read. Michael McIntyre’s however was excellent! As was Dawn French’s. So with this all in mind it was with slight apprehension that I started this book.
I am not entirely sure how to do a plot section for a biography. This book is about Saunders’ life. There we go. One plot!
I am pleased to say I was not disappointed by this book. With Saunders being a comic writer this book had a lot to live up to. It wasn’t as good as it could have been but not as disappointing as Peter Kays. My main gripe was the timeline or lack of timeline. Saunders would be writing about 1985 then all of a sudden it was 1993 then back to the original story she was telling and back again. I was getting into one story then lost track of it by the time it was eventually finished.
Her book also seems to be better read alongside Dear Fatty. I felt that a lot of interesting things from her start up with French should have been put in. It would be nice to have seen the same stories but from a different point of view. At one point Saunders even says for more into this period of her life check out her other half’s book. This just seemed lazy to me.
I never knew she had cancer until I read this book. Maybe because I was a student when she had it so didn’t pay attention to newspapers or reports I do not know but thought her frankness about it was very refreshing. Yes she had cancer, no she didn’t want a sob story and yes it wasn’t as bad as it could have been and she is now ‘cured’. The people who respond to her phrasing of her remission in a negative way shouldn’t. This is her experience of cancer, her views on her remission so how people can belittle her on this I do not know. Even those with Cancer can’t really comment as again, it is HER EXPERIENCE! Rant over!
Overall, a good read. I learnt things about her I didn’t know before and followed a legends life. My verdict is 7/10. If you like Jennifer Saunders a highly recommended read!