With a Scottish granny, an Irish Catholic mother and a Polish father, you'd expect to have a few jokes up your sleeve ... and Magda Szubanski certainly does. Best known for her roles in Kath and Kim and Babe, this Australian entertainer reveals that the path to stardom has had many a pitfall. Along the way she has needed to reconcile with the usual accommodations of entering adulthood, but also her beloved father's role as an assassin during the Warsaw Uprising in WWII, and more latterly, with the decision to publicly acknowledge her sexual orientation.
This is no frivolous celebrity memoir, but a story of substance, a voyage of discovery to understand self and family; a brave and tender, beautifully written reckoning. [Larger font]
A well-written book but received a mixed reaction.
Well-written; interesting connections and "a-ha" moments for those in the group who grew up in the same era. Interesting stories and discussion about growing up as a lesbian in a less open era of history.
Most of the group really enjoyed this, particularly the first third of the book. Lovely writing and impressive recall of events. Seemed to get bogged down in the latter part of the book - lots of angst and slowed down by too much fine detail.
Most of us loved this book. Beautifully written, great characterisation. The descriptions are so evocative, it is almost like being there. Many themes cleverly interwoven without being pushed in your face.
Although not liking this book much, we all found it interesting, particularly her father's background and visits to Poland, but wouldn't read it again or recommend it. One described it as "an overlong health saga" and most felt it was self absorbed and indulgent. Her angst about her sexuality began to get a bit tedious but in spite of our dislike of the book, it did engender a lively discussion on several fronts.
This book was a real hit. We are all fans of Magda's shows but knew little about her as a person. The story is really funny, but deals with some pretty heavy themes.
Many found this book difficult to get involved with - mixed opinions and feelings. It had a slow start, but was worth persevering with. We had expectations that it would be a light and joyous read - these were ill-founded! Some clever use of language.
Everyone really enjoyed this book. It led to a wide ranging discussion about many aspects of her life, as well as her parents and other relations. Highly recommended.
Read & reviewed during lockdown. We felt the book could have been a lot shorter, the story line was confusing at times and there seemed to be unnecessary material. However we all found very interesting; the family history (particularly Poland during the war years), her growing up and the effects of her father's past on her, and her work in film and comedy. It was disappointing that we couldn't meet to discuss because the questions would have led to some great discussion about life/living/families/influences not just Magdas.
Not popular with our group.
Most really enjoyed this book and felt Magda was very brave in baring all! The language and turn-of-phrase at times was delightful. Perhaps just a little too long.
This story made us all aware of the struggles that peoples of 'different' genders face in a 'straight' society. A well-written book, told with feeling and empathy.
A thought-provoking book; brave and revealing. We found it absorbing.
Love love loved it! So wise and so well-written, accessible and heart-felt.
The first 2/3 were excellent but then it became rather tedious. The historical background was excellent.
Everyone who read the book enjoyed it and agreed that it was well-written, and a great insight into Magda's life. Big surprises along the way. Good read.
Most enjoyed the book, thought the writing excellent and the Polish history fascinating.
We enjoyed the discussion and found it a very thought provoking book. Especially the "tortured" comedian aspect.
Insightful book which provided great discussion on comparisons between NZ and Australia. Questions excellent.
We mostly enjoyed this book but we all felt that it was a part of her therapy and hopefully she felt better after writing it all down. It was a good story and easy to read, although we all got a bit bored in the middle part of the book. It is a shame that she was/is so affected by what her father did to survive and they were terrible times but he did what he had to do and he didn't dwell on it like she did. Most of us remember her from tv/movies and it's always interesting how you think someone is funny but they are actually not. Pleased that we read it but none of us will read it again.