I fear the celebrity who takes to writing books: please don’t let this be a painful exercise in ego. So I was wary of Losing It, the debut novel from actress Helen Lederer, who is well-loved for her role of dippy Catriona in Absolutely Fabulous. I shouldn’t have worried. Lederer is hardly a stranger to the typewriter, having an extensive portfolio of her own comedy material already notching up her word count. And it shows in Losing It.
The story of Millie, a fifty-something, one-time QVC starlet, who agrees to be the front woman of a new diet pill in a bid to lose weight, pay off her debts, and get a sex life is packed full of laughs. Every other line of this sharp mid-lit novel is a joke, and Millie’s riotous adventures gallop along faster than the personal trainer that’s been forced upon her. From randy second-best friends with testosterone implants, to dodgy next door neighbours with a bad line in yoga pants and erect sundials, the cast of characters in this book are as lovable as they are hysterical.
A triumph of observational wit, Lederer’s style is reminiscent of the late Sue Townsend. As an author her fearless confrontation of life’s humiliations had me crying with laughter and routing for Millie. And what a bloody great delight to read a funny, fast-paced novel, where the heroine is a fifty-something woman who, shock, horror, and gasp, is interested in sex. (At least she thinks she is). When I grow up I want to be Millie. Minus the explosive food poisoning incident.
Losing It, Helen Lederer: A delightful and delicious treat to be devoured: 5/5
*I subsequently had the chance to meet Helen at her book launch, and was touched by her talent, warmth, and in particular the generous way she seeks to support and encourage other creatives she meets. A top woman with a top book.