Book Review – Spectacles by Sue Perkins

First published, 2015

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

This semi-autobiography from Sue Perkins is well-written, with many humorous stories. It gives the reader a real feel for her childhood home in Croydon, through to Cambridge in her student days, and her comedy pairing with Mel Giedroyc.

Now, with any autobiography, you kind of expect the author to present themselves in the best possible light. It’s hard to see oneself with any real perspective and, even in day to day life, we all make ourselves the heroes in our own stories, so, I was quite prepared for the gaps in the narrative before I opened the book.

The opening lines spell this out in no uncertain terms:

“Most of this book is true.
I have, however, changed a few names to protect the innocent, and the odd location too. I’ve skewed some details for comic effect, swapped timelines and generally embellished and embroidered some of the duller moments in my past. I have sometimes created punchlines where real life failed to provide them, and occasionally invented characters wholesale…”
Spectacles by Sue Perkins

I think this is the reason that the revelation from p318 (about how Mel and Sue walked out on the first series of Bake Off because the contestants were made to get upset, presumable to make more compelling television) didn’t hit the press for five years.

The writing was entertaining. The author comes across as very energetic, enthusiastic and eager. I still love Sue Perkins. I got the impression, all the way through, that what she really wanted was something she flat-out stated on the first page.

“…I have amplified my more positive characteristics in an effort to make you like me. I have hidden the worst of my flaws in an effort to make you like me.”
Spectacles by Sue Perkins

I think I would have even if she hadn’t made such an effort.