spectacles

Spectacles: A Memoir by Sue Perkins

My Christmas gift to myself last year was to special order Spectacles from Book Depository. As an aside, please allow me to strongly recommend Book Depository if you often can't wait for European or UK books to be released in the States (or simply can never get them here). I used to obtain such books from Amazon UK but always had to swallow the steep shipping costs and typical 3 weeks + waiting time (though I must admit the couple of times my packages got lost, their customer service was excellent). Book Depository has become my new go-to. 

I would pay top dollar for whatever media outlet (PBS, I assume?) to make the past seasons of The Great British Bake Off available here in the States. I absolutely adore everyone one there - the bakers, the judges, the hosts (which includes Perkins, if you and I are not symbiotic and you somehow don't know this already). Even when someone irritates me, it's usually just enough that I start lobbying for them to get eliminated, not that I start hating them. 

This is how I was introduced to Sue Perkins, but she's been around on various British television shows for much, much longer. She is adorable, sexy, witty, strong. This memoir taught me that she can also apparently be unbearable to be in a relationship with and terrifying if you encounter her on the road. It's okay, I still adore her (particularly since either of those scenarios are unlikely to happen to me). 

If you've seen Bake Off or any of Sue's other appearances (or read reviews of Spectacles), you'll know that she's a funny lady and that you can definitely expect some laughter here. But I was surprised and pleased to find some more depth and insightfulness and sadness than I was expecting. Not that humor can't include those things as well, certainly, but the synopsis and other reviews I'd read prior to reading Spectacles just hadn't prepared me for them. I cried over her letter to her dog who'd recently died. I did find another scene with another dog to be quite uncomfortable because she was clearly trying to play it off as funny, at least until near the end, but instead, I would have been freaked out and terrified for the dog over what was happening from the very beginning. 

That chapter aside, I was on Perkins' side throughout the narrative, and was impressed with her apparent honesty in admitting where she has contributed to (or wholly completed) screwing things up. If you're inclined towards humourous memoirs, particularly British humour, Spectacles is an excellent prescription for all this winter sadness. 

At this time, Spectacles hasn't yet be published in the Unites States but if that's where you are and you're interested, you can find it at Book Depository by clicking on my picture of the book above. I'm going to donate my copy to my local library so that my fellow locals can be introduced to this lovely lady.