- Stephen Fry
Thirteen years ago, Moab is my Washpot, Stephen Fry’s autobiography of his early years, was published to rave reviews and was a huge bestseller. In those thirteen years since, Stephen Fry has moved into a completely new stratosphere, both as a public figure, and a private man. Now he is not just a multi-award-winning comedian and actor, but also an author, director and presenter. In January 2010, he was awarded the Special Recognition Award at the National Television Awards. Much loved by the public and his peers, Stephen Fry is one of the most influential cultural forces in the UK. This dazzling memoir promises to be a courageously frank, honest and poignant read. It will detail some of the most turbulent and least well known years of his life with writing that will excite you, make you laugh uproariously, move you, inform you and, above all, surprise you.
This is actually Stephen Fry’s second autobiography. His first, Moab is my Washpot, covered his early childhood and rebellious teens. The Fry Chronicles covers his university years and the first few years of his early career. Now, I’m not usually a reader of biographies and hadn’t intended to read any this year, but I ended up with a copy of this book and thought I’d give a go. (The full story of how and why I ended up with this book can be found here). I’m actually a fan of Stephen Fry – comic, actor, writer and all round entertainer - he always ends up on my dream dinner party guest list! But I know his work rather than his life so I was quite taken aback about how little I actually knew about him.
This book is painfully honest regarding Stephen’s self-opinion and his lack of believe in himself. That Stephen Fry is bi-polar is well known and although it is hardly mentioned here, you can see how even in success this casts a shadow over his achievements. That he had a turbulent time at school was a shock to me – and to be honest the end of book was a big surprise as well – it never fit in my opinion of Stephen Fry as an affable, English gentleman. Which tells you how honest Stephen has been and I guess the reason why biographies sell so well is the ability to get to know a celebrity in raw, honest form.
If you’re after gossip about other celebrities, you won’t find it here. Stephen writes with elegance about what he admires in his contempories and friends but dishes no dirt and bad mouths no-one. I found that quite nice – and if it means the book occasionally reads like a ‘lovie’ name dropping that is only because Stephen does know everyone. The style is intelligent, witty, sometimes philosophical and amusing. It gave me a great deal to think about and I think it actually increased my admiration for Stephen Fry. And hey, The Fry Chronicles beat Tony Blair’s A Journey as best biography at the Galaxy National Book Awards this year!
Recommended for fans of intelligent humour. 8 out of 10