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143 of 155 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book by a wonderful man
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...
Published on 23 Sept. 2010 by LadyD

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rather upsetting
Like many other readers, I loved Moab when I first read it about 10 years ago, and I still do re-read it now. Given SF's ability as a writer, both in memoir, articles ('Paperweight') and novels, I was really looking forward to more of the same oblique wit in The Fry Chronicles. Alas! I was disappointed. To put it simply, there are far too many words, and not enough...
Published on 16 April 2013 by Stravaganza


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121 of 143 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sugar Puff addiction? Stephen will help!!!, 14 Sept. 2010
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This review is from: The Fry Chronicles (Hardcover)
Having been a huge fan of "control" for years i look forward with keen anticipation to any literature penned by Stephen Fry.
'Moab is My Washpot' is perhaps the funniest book I've ever read and i was a constant irritation to my Wife whilst reading it as i kept laughing out loud. So 'THE FRY CHRONICLES' had a lot to live up to and i have to say it was worth the wait!!! Whatever background you come from, whatever class you are, Stephen has a great knack of drawing you into his world and basking in the tropical heat that is his wit and wisdom. From the start i was literally coughing up my "Scott's" porridge oats as i read about his cereal addiction through to his pompous pipe-smoking school-teacher anecdotes.
I am sorely tempted to hint at more but i don't want to spoil it for the reader.
If you love Stephen Fry you will "adore" this just as a cat bends itself around catnip. As with Colin Dexter you will need a dictionary to hand as Stephen's grasp of the English language is second to none and leaves us mortals in shame.
If Stephen reads this review i want him to know that a fellow bi-polar sufferer loves him very much and is very much emboldened by his ability to exist and give people soo much joy!
I would do "rudies" with Stephen anytime.
10/10 Didn't expect anything less really.
God bless Stephen Fry . . .
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars "If I had time I'd make this a short review", sorry, memoir, 7 Dec. 2010
By 
K. burke "bluepianissimo" (Brighton, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fry Chronicles (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?

I ended up skipping the refrains about how Stephen lapses into addiction and self-loathing and hates his body.I would rather he told a story to show us this, rather than tell us. Also how awkward he feels even though other people assume he's very privileged and establishment and smug and at ease. This seemed to contradict the loving details about the sumptuousness of his college accommodation and college traditions.

When he was on form, the stories were entertaining and I warmed to him again. I do remember enjoying a story about Stephen Sondheim faxing him in the 1980 as part of a treasure hunt clue. The section about him writing the book for Me and My Girl was genuinely interesting. I didn't know that the "book" - or non-sung dialogue in a musical is the story it all hangs on.

The bits about him meeting and working with Hugh Lawrie were interesting and I would have liked more on this partnership. And the anecdote about him taking leftie alternative comedian Ben Elton to a Tory genetleman's club where they were overheard by Lord Hailsham I think - who was not amused. The photo captions too were amusing.

Worth a read for the highlights if you can borrow it off a friend or wait for it to come out in paperback.
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43 of 51 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not enough, 21 Nov. 2010
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This review is from: The Fry Chronicles (Hardcover)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Delightfully written, 27 Jan. 2013
By 
M. V. Clarke (Durham, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fry Chronicles (Paperback)
Perhaps the best feature here is Stephen Fry's love of the English language, which shines through in his indulgently rich prose. He tells the story of his university years and early professional career with a light-hearted touch and much self deprecation. His warmth, respect and affection for friends and colleagues like Hugh Laurie, Rowan Atkinson and Alan Bennett are among the best passages here; he describes their talents and personalities beautifully. The self deprecation is rather curious at times, and seems to be part of a larger narrative, which isn't fully shown here. Nonetheless, a very enjoyable read, though maybe not as memorable as his earlier memoir, Moab Is My Washpot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great stories from a great story-teller, 20 Feb. 2011
This review is from: The Fry Chronicles (Hardcover)
There are not many people who could give more than 400 pages over to a short period in their life and make it this interesting. It's not that Stephen was doing that much different to a lot of students for most of his time at Uni but he has the sort of voice (in person and in writing) that could make the telephone directory interesting. He acknowledges that he has been blessed and alot fell into his lap but surely it's easy to say that when you have the kind of talent that attracts good fortune. I found this a real page turn - charming, entertaining and an honeset insight into a man crippled by shyness and paranoia. Can't wait to read the next installment.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat of a let down I felt., 3 Oct. 2011
By 
Dale A. Haines "master_ice" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fry Chronicles (Paperback)
Firstly I must say that my review is of the hardback which I have had for several months despite Amazon saying it's not yet available. Go figure that one out.
Simply I have to say I felt this book was lacking in something; depth? constancy? reason for writing?
I'm truly not sure why but the book never held my attention for more than a few pages at a time after which I had to go off and read or do something else.
I am probably doing Stephen Fry a great dis-service here as I find his television work most enjoyable and perhaps I just expected a lot more than was fair but for me it turned out not to be my type of book for a long and continuous read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great to listen to, 2 Dec. 2010
This review is from: The Fry Chronicles (Hardcover)
I started reading this book, then switched to the audio book which I enjoyed even more (not least because it reminded me of happy days listening to Harry Potter!!) I love the way Fry uses 10 words where one would suffice! The only reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 is that I found myself feeling irritated by the number of times he puts himself down. I know that being self-deprecating is supposed to be part of his charm but there was quite simply too much of it in this book. He is a wonderful writer, a brilliant entertainer, a talented comedian and more, I wish he would stop apologising for being who he is!
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2.0 out of 5 stars The rarified world of Stephen Fry, 24 May 2015
By 
Brian R. Martin (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Fry Chronicles (Paperback)
Stephen Fry, an excellent performer and anointed `National Treasure', is in love with words. This can often produce memorable phrases, and sentences of astonishing fluidity, but sometimes one has the feeling that the choice of words is more to show the reader how clever the writer is, rather than to impart knowledge, or tell a story. Some of the words casually dropped into a sentence are extraordinary, and are not even known to the online Oxford Dictionary of English (I've checked). Do they even exist? After a while, their appearance is very irritating, as are the occasional crude `sniggering schoolboy' sexual asides.

Stephen Fry is equally obsessed by himself, and much of this autobiography (calling it a `Chronicle' says much about the author) is devoted to a public analysis of his personal problems - self doubt, insecurity etc. - hardly unique to him. For someone who makes a very substantial living doing exactly what he wants to do, and enjoys the fame and luxury this brings (Aston Martin in the drive etc.) this is pure self-indulgence. The book is mainly a list of plays he has been in, stuff he has written, and remarks about his fellow actors and collaborators, from his school day onwards. Fine, what more would one expect in an autobiography? The problem here is that Fry frankly says he is not going to say anything critical about anyone, so what we get is a very bland account of his life at University, in the theatre, and in the media, full of `luvvie' comments, where no-one stabs you in the back, or even has a bad word to say about anyone else. The result is over-long and rather boring.

Stephen Fry is capable of writing much better books than this (`Moab is my Washpot' was excellent). Read those and don't waste your time with this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A touching, honest, and revealing memoir, 11 July 2013
This review is from: The Fry Chronicles (Paperback)
Stephen Fry is invariably heralded as a 'national treasure' here in Britain, and has a loyal and growing following around the world. The verbal dexterity, enthusiasm for language and wit, encyclopedic knowledge and some personification of the quintessential English gentleman (living a life replete with 'Cricket, crosswords, classic cars, clubland', in Fry's own description) make up the recognisable public image of Stephen Fry. We seem to know where we stand, and perhaps find ourselves, without too much difficulty, imagining a linear path to stardom, encompassing privilege, public school, oxbridge, and then luxurious stardom.

This rush to judgement would be premature and simplistic however. Anyone who is familiar with Fry's earlier memoir 'Moab Is My Washpot' will be acquainted with his difficult childhood, and indeed some of those struggles make a reappearance here. The first chapter, entitled 'C is for C12H22O11' describes a youthful Fry's addiction to all things sugary and sweet, resulting not only in poor teeth and exasperated parents, but suffering from being 'never settled in or secure, I left prep school a sugar addict, thief, fantasist and a liar.' So much for the effortless path to fame and fortune. Addiction, in various guises, fitting in, personal crises of confidence and self-doubt, issues regarding money and status; these are some of the more surprising players in this play.

Not to say that this memoir is a solitary, melancholy affair. Enter Fry the undergraduate at Cambridge, full of effusive praise for the history and beauty of the courts and classical streets, joyful at discovering purpose in acting and, later, writing, excited to just be a part of the group of bright, young things trying their hand in shows from London to Edinburgh. There is a certain fun to be had just noting the names of contemporaries, Emma Thompson, Derek Pringle and, of course, Hugh Laurie. Anecdotes and witty episodes abound: Fry suggesting to Laurie that his experience losing to Oxford in the boat race by a whisker was analogous to Fry's in University Challenge the previous year, 'The look he gave me could have stripped the flesh from a rhinoceros' and the technical high-jinks shared with Douglas Adams in London in the mid eighties. The narrative sometimes flits forward and backwards in time, but that is no matter particularly, and we are treated, as dear readers, to a smorgasbord of insights into the world of theatre, comedy, television and radio, told deftly and without meanness (Fry tries to make a point of that).

This is a light romp through the turnaround, perhaps formative, years in fry's life, but always maintains a rich awareness for the sensibilities of the reader (perhaps too much so, other reviewers have commented on his unapologetic apologeticness), and of the author. We do learn more about what kind of person Fry is, was, and at least aspires to be, this is a celebrity autobiography that delivers, and wonderfully so.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Fry Chronicles, 1 April 2012
By 
Lucybird (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
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As far as an autobiography of Stephen Fry is concerned Moab is My Washpot (which is about his life before he became famous) had really quite surprised me, I don't pretend to know a lot about Stephen Fry. Just that I love watching him on television and think he is generally pretty awesome. Having read the first autobiography I had less expectations of this one in a way, I didn't expect it to be at all predictable because in the first book his life seemed to differ so much from what was suggested by his television persona.

In terms of what I would expect from Fry this was a little more what I had expected than the first book. You could certainly see parts of who he seems to be now coming out. In some ways it seemed a little self-obsessed (but can one really write an autobiography without it being a little self-obsessed?). I never really got the idea that he was elevating himself, if anything he was quite humble and even at times would tell himself off for being a little self-obsessed (which never seemed like he was pretending, more like he couldn't understand why people would be interested). All the way through there was a certain level of disbelief that he had become famous. It was obvious he didn't feel he deserved it, and from what he said in his more present voice he seemed still not to quite believe how lucky he has been. In a way this was the element of the book which most surprised me.

On adding this book to goodreads I had a quick flick through the (spoiler free) reviews (it's something I often do, just reading the first few lines of each review to get a general picture of how people found the book). I happened to catch sight of a review which suggested that the book was a bit to name-droppy (and no that isn't a real word, I don't care). This did cause me a bit of worry. I'm not one of those people who is really into celebrity culture (I think I am right in saying that this is the one celebrity biography I have read). However I don't think I needed to be worried. There were maybe a few name-drops that were unnecessary but most of the time he mentioned people who were friends or who he had worked with, I don't think you can really write a whole autobiography without mentioning any friends or colleges.

The descriptions of Fry's time at Cambridge were more interesting than I had expected too although not as interesting as wen the `fame thing' started.

At time it had me laughing out loud but in general I wouldn't describe it as a comic book- still it was almost worth reading just for Hugh Laurie's reaction to Fry buying his first Apple Mac.

Only real problem I had with it is that the way it ended made it very obvious that Fry intended to write another autobiography. Which almost forces you to read it. I mean his life isn't over so I suppose another biography would be expected but I would like to feel I have more choice.

Oh and one more thing, there were a few points where I thought the Kindle edition might be different to the paperback. Just things which seemed to suggest you were on an e-reader. Does anyone know if there are any differences?
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