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The Fry Chronicles: An Autobiography Hardcover – 19 Jan 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 438 pages
  • Publisher: Overlook Press; 1 edition (19 Jan 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590207149
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590207147
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.9 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (287 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 77,837 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen Fry is a leading light in film, theatre, radio and television the world over, receiving accolades in spades and plaudits by the shovel. As a writer, producer, director, actor and presenter he has featured in works as varied and adored as the movie 'Wilde', the TV series 'Blackadder' and 'Jeeves and Wooster', the sketch show 'A Bit of Fry and Laurie', the panel game 'QI', the radio series 'Fry's English Delight', Shakespeare's Globe's celebrated 2012 production of 'Twelfth Night' (as Malvolio) and documentaries on countless subjects very close to his heart.

He is also the bestselling author of four novels - 'The Stars' Tennis Balls', 'Making History', 'The Hippopotamus' and 'The Liar' - as well as two volumes of autobiography - 'Moab is My Washpot' and 'The Fry Chronicles', which published in six unique editions that combined to sell over a million copies. His third volume of autobiography, 'More Fool Me', is published in September 2014.

Product Description

About the Author

Stephen Fry is an award-winning comedian, actor, presenter and director. He rose to fame alongside Hugh Laurie in A Bit of Fry and Laurie (which he co-wrote with Laurie) and Jeeves and Wooster, and was unforgettable as Captain Melchett in Blackadder. More recently he presented Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive, his groundbreaking documentary on bipolar disorder, to huge critical acclaim. His legions of fans tune in to watch him host the popular quiz show QI each week. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

141 of 152 people found the following review helpful By LadyD on 23 Sep 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved this book. I have been eagerly awaiting it ever since I read Moab is my Washpot which was wonderful, but left you wanting more. Well I still want more because this book only takes you up to 1987. Nevertheless it is a fantastic combination of funny stories, brutal honesty about himself, loving descriptions of the people he met along the way, a description of university life that made me nostalgic for my own student days, an interesting account of the rise of alternative comedy, and the wonderful use of language for which is is so rightly admired. It is to his credit, and is a measure of the man, that there is barely a bad word uttered about anyone in this book unlike so many celebrity autobiographies.

In particular his descriptions of his relationship with, and deep love for, the dedicatee of this book - his partner and friend Hugh Laurie - are extremely moving and brought a tear to my eye.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Darthy on 8 Nov 2010
Format: Hardcover
Having read "Moab is my Washpot" several years ago, I had been awaiting the next volume of Fry's autobiography with huge anticipation and high expectations. I certainly wasn't disappointed.
This book does not bring Fry's story up to the present day - another volume is seemingly promised. Instead it shows us the formative years of Fry's career - actor, writer, comedian - beginning at Cambridge an continuing into his early stage and screen productions, leaving the story around the time of "Blackadder II".
Fry is typically honest and self-deprecating - often harshly so, but without ever falling into the trap of self-pity. His affection for his years at Cambridge is very apparent, as is his love and respect for many of those he has worked with - particularly Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson, Ben Elton and Rowan Atkinson. Fry's feelings of inadequacy when compared to these other talents are particularly fasincating, though I don't doubt that they each felt something similar. There are also wonderful and hilarious anecdotes of the likes of Robbie Coltrane and Miriam Margolyes.
Fry wilfully admits that he will use ten words when one will do, but his prose are so elegant and his love of language so infectious, I doubt many readers will mind. This is certainly a more straight-forward narrative than I remember "Moab" being - "Moab" would often veer off into tangents and Stephen would give us his views on life, the universe and everything, and it is a shame that there isn't a bit more of that in this book. But this is a very minor quibble.
All in all, anyone who read "Moab" should certainly read this, and everyone else should probably read it too. A genuine and honest insight into the life and the mind of an always interesting, entertaining, and thoroughly likeable man.
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Juniper Flowers on 21 Nov 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having enjoyed his first autobiography quite a lot, I was looking forward to this continuation. But I really have been disappointed. Firstly, it doesn't cover enough time. The whole thing feels like an exercise in fulfilling a book contract, with passages that seem to ramble about things just for the sake of space. And Fry goes completely overboard this time with all the 'Oh deary me, I'm so successful yet besieged by anxiety and self-hatred. Don't hate me for my success and misery, but I won't blame you if you do' stuff. There will always be this element in any of Fry's autobiographical works - I get that it's part of his charm, but I can't stress enough how OTT it is in this instalment. You do just want him to shut the hell up with all the apologising and get on with it.

What's worse, is that frankly, it's boring. Whereas his first one had moment of real reflection upon his own nature, there really aren't any here. He sidesteps his neurosis entirely. There is no emotional honesty. That's dull - and add the fact that he also doesn't really give us much 'gossip' tidbits about his famous goings-on just adds to the boredom.

Finally, I must also admit to feeling greatly disappointed that he seems to hold Ben Elton in such esteem. He holds enough cache in my mind to make me slightly reconsider my opinion of the man, but not enough to alleviate all of my disappointment.

Summary: All surface, no depth and shockingly dull for such an intrinsically interesting man.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful By K. burke on 7 Dec 2010
Format: Hardcover
When I saw this book in the bookshop I was delighted, looking forward to a treat of 400-pages of entertaining anecdotes. I was disappointed. It was so verbose I ended up skim-reading most of it. And still feeling a bit short changed. Perhaps his fear of offending anyone is what keeps the text frothy and inconsequential.

It's a shame because with a strong copy editor I think the book could have come out well. He needed someone to help him find a stronger narrative arc - which must be hard to do when writing about your own life. It must be hard to find the emotional distance to see it as a stranger would. And he seriously needs someone to cut-cut-cut and tell him "you're going on a a bit here". Lobbing 100 pages off the book would help the book communicate so much better.

Stephen does like his long lists of inconsequential detail. At first I indulged him wittering about all the types of breakfast cereal there were when he was a boy. He is the loveable Stephen Fry after all.

But a lot of the detail didn't either a) move the story along or b) bring the characters to life. So I was turned off when he was detailing his Cambridge education including exactly what his room contained and what a gyp (scout) is. The long loving details about computers also bored me and felt self-indulgent. Also the use of very long sentences and obscure words. Egregrious is one he relishes rolling around his mouth.

He kept saying that he had to explain things to US readers. Which got me thinking that the book was not written for me as a Brit. Surely there was a way to organise the book so you have background texts at the back, in little codas. Or publish a UK and a US version?
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