Memoirs are a tricky genre. On the one hand they can give an incredibly insightful account of the author’s life; on the other, it can be a self-indulgent journal that nobody really cares about.
Vernetta Lopez is certainly someone we care about. Best remembered as the sister in the hit 1990s local sitcom Under One Roof, the Class 95FM DJ (she hosts co-hosts The Morning Express with Glenn Ong and The Flying Dutchman) has been in the public eye for more than a decade and a half. And her debut autobiography Memoirs of a DJ: Life in Progress is an honest account of her life on- and off-air.
Readers will probably zoom in on her failed marriage to ex-husband Mark Richmond, as she finally lifts the lid on the breakup of her high-profile union. Lopez gets serious as she shares her heartbreak — finding a mysterious love note, discovering that her then-husband had cheated on her and finally filing for divorce in 2001. She recalls these episodes with sadness, self-reflection and a little regret.
Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, you’d think, but Lopez writes, “I tell it now not out of spite or revenge”. Instead, she shares her experience so that others may find some solace and that “happiness is there for the having if we open our heart to ourselves first before others”.
In an interview about the book, Lopez said she has no intention to be malicious or vengeful, although she tries to be “cheeky”. She succeeds, spilling details that are sure to be fodder for tabloids and internet chatter while firmly maintaining tongue-in-cheek.
But Memoirs is not just about her divorce. It is merely a part of the journey that this 39-year-old has been on. From her early stint in NiteRage to the hugely popular Under One Roof to winning the Most Popular Radio Personality Award in 2007, Lopez chronicles her love for a career which she does not consider work.
One moment she recounts her hilarious “fake wedding” overseen by none other than The Flying Dutchman dressed as Elvis, the next moment she is embarking on a stakeout of her ex. She dishes stories about her travels, recalls ghostly encounters on MediaCorp’s premises and fondly recalls her nature-filled childhood.
Some chapters veer dangerously close into self-indulgent territory but are saved by Lopez’s kookiness. Do we really want to know about her oral fixations, and that she hates people touching her head? At least she dispenses them with genuine honesty and humour. Bear with her and you’ll also get dating advice for single men, bizarre sketches called “inverntions” (get it?), random lists and yes, “Vernetta’s Cure for Cramps”.
Fun and full of hope for the future, Memoirs takes you on a wild and witty rollercoaster ride — with Lopez firmly in the front seat.
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