Like millions across the nation, I’ve been glued to my TV every Wednesday evening for the Great British Bake Off. Since Nadiya won the competition, and the hearts of the nation, I’ve been suffering cake, pastry and innuendo withdrawal. However, presenter Sue Perkins has come to the rescue and released a memoir: ‘Spectacles’.
Despite a stand-off with nuns over school dinners and ‘Fishfingergate’, Sue’s career seems to have followed a long trail of cooked dinners and baked goods. I’ve been a fan of Mel and Sue since their days on Channel 4’s Light Lunch – they had started with a stand up show The Naked Brunch, eaten their way through Light and Late Lunch before reaching the sweet treats of GBBO. Sue also continued her career of eating joining restaurant critic Giles Coren to eat their way through many historical periods in The Supersizers.
However, whilst food (particularly marmite sandwiches) and comedy (particularly at Mel Giedroyc’s expense) are found in Spectacles – it is also a very touching story of love and loss, of family, partners and pets. Historical artefacts in the form of a school project on Gerbils and a Heron haiku lighten the mood, whilst her letter to her beloved beagle Pickles will have you close to tears.
Sue mentions that she can be somewhat distracted and her memoir jumps around in time, but she’s crafted a great page turner of a book. She talks about break ups, coming out, bereavements and infertility, mixed in with accounts of her top four disastrous performances, how one small dog can turn a car into a health hazard and the time she fell for one of the Ice Road Truckers. It’s an emotional rollercoaster of a ride, witty, hilarious and moving. At the start Sue says “I have, of course, amplified my more positive characteristics in an effort to make me like me” – well, it worked.
I’d love to hear other’s views of the book – please feel free to leave comments or suggestions below.
Photos © 2015 Hannah Larkin www.hannahlarkinphotography.com