Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Fry Chronicles by Stephen Fry

The Fry Chronicles An Autobiography by Stephen Fry $46.00, Penguin

Who is this Stephen Fry bloke?  Why would anyone want to read a book about him?  Children of the Eighties will remember him from TV shows like Blackadder and Fry and Laurie.  More recently he has been on TV screens hosting the show QI or showing us America from the vantage point of a Black London Cab.

The first reason to read this book is that he writes very well.  You can hear his voice in his sentences.  Whether he is sharing a secret of his rebellious youth, which saw him in a young offender’s institution a period or his opinion on some colleague or career detail, the Stephen Fry voice we all know from television is perfectly enunciating the words in our heads.

Time, opportunity and maybe even talent have lead many of Fry’s contemporaries such as Emma Thompson and Hugh Laurie to now all be famous, so his recollections are about a large number of now famous celebs.  Their early amateur ventures as actors do make interesting tales. 

A snippet of Fry’s words gives a clear insight into the journey this book chronicles: “A year and a half earlier I had been on probation.  For almost all my childhood I had been lost in the dense blackness of my own making.  Somewhere I had been offered a path out.”  This upper middle class bloke has always struggled with self esteem issues and addictions.  Food, tobacco, work, cars, Apple computers and more have always consumed him and with a passion.  He has discovered that he can do and be nothing other than Stephen Fry and shares that he has done quite well at being Stephen.

You will enjoy the tales he tells.  He spares no detail no matter how embarrassing it may be to himself or the friend it concerns.  Recounting funny paragraphs to friends out of context of the complete book is sure to offend some.  However this self deprecating book that indeed chronicles the life of Stephen Fry is unashamedly about himself.   He admits that he is sharing his obsession with self and seems to admire anyone who sticks with the book to the end.  It is a conversation that I enjoyed feeling I was part of.  I must read it again over the holidays season so I can share his outlandish stories with whoever I can corner and make listen.

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