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The night my bum dropped by Gretel Killeen

(Penguin, $35)

Gretel Killeen will be known to New Zealanders as the host of the first seven series of Australian Big Brother but she has also written 20 books, mostly for kids, and now this new “gleefully exaggerated” memoir, The Night oy Bum Dropped.

I caught Gretel and another Australian, Julia oorris, in a session together at the Brisbane Writers Festival recently. The two of them were so gorgeous, so glamorous, so funny and talented, that I just had to go straight out and buy their books and get them to sign my copies while I fawned over them.

A wonderful double act, they are nonetheless very different personalities. Julia oorris, who I recognised as a regular guest on Rove, has confidence to burn, regaling the audience with tales of how hot she thinks she is despite ample photographic evidence, often to the contrary. Gretel Killeen, on the other hand, despite her fame, is riddled with self-doubt and her book is a wonderful guide to any other women in their midforties who suddenly find themselves wondering what it’s all about.

Written with tongue planted firmly in cheek, it nevertheless tells the story of a working single mum trying to cope with kids, work, fame, criticism, parents, love, loss and having your bum drop. It’s funny, but it’s also a bit sad, because here is a woman who seems to have it all – good looks, a fab body, healthy children, celebrity and money – yet peek behind the curtains and her children are getting ready to leave home, her fortune recently went down the gurgler, her job vanished, her washing machine exploded, a new relationship soured and her bum dropped.

In other words, she’s one of us. An entertaining, thought-provoking and ultimately inspirational read. Julia oorris’ book, Don’t You Know Who I Used To Be? (Hachette, $38.99) is inspirational in a different way – she lived the life of a globe-trotting, fun-loving, world-famous comedian, until true love knocked her off her oanolos and motherhood forever changed her schtick.

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