Eyebags and Dimples by Bonnie Henna

One of the things that make autobiographies stand out from memoirs and biographies is that subjects are expected to reveal all. Whether it’s interesting or drab, good or bad, it doesn’t matter, readers just want all the details to come out in an autobiography. And that’s exactly what Eyebags and Dimples (An autobiography) does. Described as “Bonnie’s shockingly naked account of how her depression almost robbed her of her shine and how she continues to fight this darkness” the book is indeed a naked account of the short life she’s lived up to so far.

Bonnie Henna is well known for being a child star back in the days (as a TV presenter) and a well established actress. From the age of 13 years she managed to pull a happy face on our TV screens as if all was well back home even though she came from a very troubled and unhappy household. But all was actually not well. She has always been followed by darkness right from her childhood up to her adult life. Moving to America to try and pursue her acting career in Hollywood, Bonnie terribly fails to make it into being a “star” she left South Africa hoping to become. As things don’t work out the way she expected them, profound depression settles into her and she’s pushed closer to the edge. But luckily she’s diagnosed on time with clinical depression before falling and losing herself completely.

It’s almost difficult to believe that she wrote the book herself because it is so well written. And I don’t mean that in a patronizing way, please. What I am trying to say is that it is not quite common to find TV stars moving from doing their TV work to writing their stories in such a compelling manner and with such ease. Each and every chapter in Bonnie Henna’s book is totally absorbing and almost leaves a lump in one’s throat.

In the book Bonnie doesn’t blame anyone for her “illness” but rather asks this fundamental question: Having endured the most heart wrenching and depressing period of your life, how do you then own your story and move forward peacefully when you finally find out what the problem is? And as much as Eyebags and Dimples is not a self-help book, anyone with a troubled soul can use Bonnie Henna’s story to acknowledge their pain, deal with it and move on.

The way her mother treated her as a child is horrifying and one gets the feeling when she wrote certain parts (if not the entire book) of the book she was in absolute tears. The stories of abused children are quite common in our societies and even though one is vividly aware of such stories Bonnie Henna’s story will still make you shudder with utter horror. The experience is profoundly excruciating.