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Not That I'm Bitter A Truly, Madly, Funny Memoir

"A memoir bursting with heart in this no-holds-barred account of life in the spotlight from the adorable Helen Lederer. "

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

Helen Lederer has been around a while (in the nicest possible way) and has got the scars to prove it. A comedy writer with an extensive portfolio that includes writing and performing her own material, not only as a stand-up comedian but also as a comedy novelist and contributor to various publications. For the first time she opens the door to a full account of her life, and I loved sharing her journey.

With one of the most recognisable faces in comedy, Lederer has shared stages with comedy pioneers like Ben Elton and John Hegley, and TV screens with Rik Mayall, Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Harry Enfleld, and many others. Actress, Writer, Performer, Comedian, Talker. Oh she can talk, alright! This book is name-drop-tastic, and I loved every word. It’s funny, it’s real, it’s surprising, it’s dark, it’s light and everything in between. 

Labelled a “show off” as a child it seemed she was always destined for a life in the limelight albeit she spent most of her childhood making other people laugh and then being told off for it. Lederer is queen of wearing her heart on her sleeve and this is her at her absolute best. She knew from an early age that her ideal job would have to be in the field of public humiliation, writing and performing. And boy has she achieved that. Constantly putting herself out there, she’s oh so brave, and she doesn’t hold back in sharing the good, the bad and the ugly. Conquests and all! 

And be prepared, there are some stories in here, Lederer shares with no exceptions but does it with an openness and honesty that feels terribly moving, showing her intense vulnerability.

From the iconic Absolutely Fabulous, to The Young Ones, Bottom, Happy Families, Naked Video, French and Saunders and Girls on Top. From writing radio shows and performing on the West End to children's TV, she’s done it all. With her inimitable style. And although she might be a teensy weensy bit bitter, you can’t help but love and respect her for it. 

Probably best known for her role as the dippy Catriona in Absolutely Fabulous alongside Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley, I have always loved her. 1992. Ab Fab Day 1, I was there and loved every ounce of her hilariously clueless character. And she was on our TV again this week, on Corrie drinking two for one cocktails in the Chariot Square Hotel with none other than Ken Barlow. I do hope Elspeth gets to stay around for a bit.

She helped pave the way for the comedians of today, breaking ground in the 80s. Her first comedy novel Losing It was nominated for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize, which led Lederer to set up her own Comedy Women in Print Prize (CWIP) in 2018 to create a platform for comedy women writers. And she has continued to lift up witty women writers ever since. 

Known for her expressive face, unique wit and observational humour Lederer is bloody funny and brilliantly brave. You feel she hasn’t had an easy ride of it but you want to jump right on her bandwagon and drive her forward to where she belongs. Bravo Helen. We love you.

Join LoveReading MD Deborah Maclaren in conversation with Helen Lederer here in our exclusive publication day special.


Deborah Maclaren

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