Drama Queen is the new book from Sara Gibbs, comedy writer, Neighbours expert and an invaluable voice during the Labour antisemitism scandal.
In this insightful and refreshing memoir, Gibbs guides us towards the autism diagnosis she received at the age of 30 via a series of funny, frank and awkward anecdotes. Each chapter is named after things she has been called (Crybaby, Weirdo, Feminist) by way of misguided explanation for her idiosyncratic behaviour, all beautifully exemplified with stories from a childhood, dating life and career spent trying to avoid the metaphorical and actual cracks in the pavement.
Some of these early memories elicit a sting of familiarity (calling your band Just Add Vodka when you’re 14), others are more extreme yet wholly understandable (canvassing for Choco Krispies to change their name back to Coco Pops). Together they point to a diagnosis obscured by labels, as elusive as the expiry date on a pack of loo roll (which Gibbs spent her first shift at Iceland trying to find).
In other words it is impossible to find something when you don’t know what you’re looking for, and media representations of autism tend towards the Rain Man savant or the character in NBC’s Hannibal with psychic powers. Gibbs provides a rare insight into what it is actually like to be autistic, to exist and succeed in a world not built for you. She explains that a lot of autistic women are good with words, evident in the way her writing makes even the saddest passages a pleasure to read.
Drama Queen‘s heart, humour and helpfulness would also translate wonderfully to TV, providing the volume remains an even number. Until then (and while we wait for a Just Add Vodka reunion), the book illustrates the importance of a little understanding to find the perfect blend.