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143 of 143 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pot Washing Therapy
A wonderfully endearing book by a very likeable man. I was hooked from the beginning and although it does get a little mawkish on occasion, Fry's honesty is therapeutic and his admissions fascinating.
Be warned however, that this is not a whimsical account of his comedy career. It is an emotional confession of the struggle Fry had in the first twenty years of his...
Published on 6 Jun 2003 by stinky_books

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It changed the way I view Fry
I am at odds with this book! Fry has laid bare his early life and holds nothing back. One gets the feeling that he is, in some way, looking for absolution in doing so. I am left with a picture of a self obsessed, solipsist who is full of self loathing and hell bent on destruction at that point in his life.

I found some of the text wince inducing and...
Published on 8 Feb 2011 by Apollo


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143 of 143 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pot Washing Therapy, 6 Jun 2003
This review is from: Moab is My Washpot (Paperback)
A wonderfully endearing book by a very likeable man. I was hooked from the beginning and although it does get a little mawkish on occasion, Fry's honesty is therapeutic and his admissions fascinating.
Be warned however, that this is not a whimsical account of his comedy career. It is an emotional confession of the struggle Fry had in the first twenty years of his life. Although the man's intelligence and charm are evident throughout, he vents spleen aplenty and his language is rather colourful at times. His love of music, film and words are my loves and so I devoured his writing. His digressions (he calls then diversions) often lead to even greater digressions and this is wonderful. The style is not stilted or excessively crafted but heartfelt and accessible. Fry does not set out to portray himself as misunderstood but to tell things as they are. I found the book inspirational and somehow felt better about myself afterwards. It will make you think about your family and your honesty. Yes, you will laugh but do not read this expecting a saccharine happy childhood story.
Treat yourself and indulge in some pot-washing yourself.
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55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly great autobiography, 1 Jun 2004
This review is from: Moab is My Washpot (Paperback)
I read The Liar and The Hippopotamus and found them a little too flowery for my liking, but then I'm not a great novel reader anyway. The pages of this book, on the other hand, turned so quickly, I thought they might catch fire.
As another reviewer stated, his frequent ramblings off the main thread of the story are sheer joy and make you feel he is in the room talking to you. And he can't resist teaching us a new word by including it then demonstrating its meaning e.g. rhotacism, or explicitly correcting a widely used grammatical or spelling error! All very familiar Fry stuff.
Stephen says himself that his life is at once as unremarkable as they come and stranger than fiction, when you put it down at the end, you feel he is spot on. Only once towards the very end did I see a quality in him that you could be unashamedly proud of.
Don't worry if you don't like his novels, this is one of the most absorbing and satisfying autobiographies ever written.
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130 of 134 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars stephen fry is great!, 3 Jan 2001
This review is from: Moab Is My Washpot (Paperback)
This autobiography is of the first twenty years of Stephen's life. I started to read it vaguely knowing that this was the bloke off 'Blackadder' but once I'd finished, I rushed out and bought 'The Liar' and 'The Hippopotamus'. This book is brilliant. It is completely candid about Stephen's depression, homosexuality and school life, among others. It is, however, hilarious all the way through. The reader never feels inferior to Stephen's undoubted intelligence because of the way he mocks himself so easily. By the end of the book, all I wanted to do was go and find him and give him a big hug and tell him everything will be fine! I would definitely recommend this book to anyone and everyone, and also his other books which are all excellent as well.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fall in love, 18 April 2006
By 
Kate Perez (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Moab Is My Washpot (Paperback)
Stephen Fry is one of the most fascinating public figures in British life. This first autobiography is relentlously honest and entirely compelling.

Stephen Fry is an adorable human being and the journey of his early years is profoundly thrilling, enlightening and more often than not, hilarious.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thou shalt not question Stephen Fry, 28 Jan 2009
By 
Patrick Neylan "Patrick Neylan" (Orpington, Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Moab Is My Washpot (Paperback)
As the song says, Thou Shalt Not Question Stephen Fry - but I'm going to do it anyway. I love Stephen Fry. If I too were (to use his phrase from this book) "not like other boys" then I wouldn't be writing reviews of his books. I'd be out there stalking him. Fortunately for both of us, I'm not.

Fry at 51 is a beautiful man, and deserves credit for being so honest as to show what a smug, selfish, preening, dishonest and downright callous little b-----d he was at 10, 14 and 18. If that sounds harsh, it's nothing compared with how harshly Fry judges himself.

Even as he wrote this book (aged 40) he couldn't help showing off at times, which shows us that part of that insufferable little fellow is still there. Not that we need to be told that one of the best-loved men in Britain is insecure; it's part of his charm.

And although he is harrowingly honest, he occasionally stops short. He half-heartedly tries to put some of the blame for his stealing on his love for "Matthew", even though he has been a shameless thief since before he can remember. And he never seriously tackles what made him so amoral from such an early age.

Nonetheless, it is a beautifully written tale of redemption. One is left feeling that it was a minor miracle that he could save himself after throwing away every opportunity given to him.

It's not perfect. There are errors of English that should never appear in any book, let alone one by Stephen Fry (the worst examples are "baited breath" and "Rolls Royce's"). Regrettably, the present edition comes in a cover seemingly designed by the same people who do Jeremy Clarkson's covers. It's ugly, and nothing by Stephen Fry should be associated with ugliness.

But even with those criticisms, it's highly recommended. Some of the philosophical diversions are enlightening (if rather too adult for the younger reader), and Fry's characteristic humour shines through on every page. There are some glorious metaphors and, even if it is not as flawless as some reviewers suggest, it is still highly recommended.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It changed the way I view Fry, 8 Feb 2011
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This review is from: Moab Is My Washpot (Kindle Edition)
I am at odds with this book! Fry has laid bare his early life and holds nothing back. One gets the feeling that he is, in some way, looking for absolution in doing so. I am left with a picture of a self obsessed, solipsist who is full of self loathing and hell bent on destruction at that point in his life.

I found some of the text wince inducing and uncomfortable to read but that is a personal thing, I'm sure. This outing (literally - forgive the pun) urges me to buy his more recent offering simply because we all know that the, "lad turned out alright".

I do view him differently now though. It's like when a friend says or does something that is out of character and there is just that small shift in your relationship. Read it, you might see what I mean.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LORDY!, 1 Nov 2006
This review is from: Moab Is My Washpot (Paperback)
I've loved everything Mr Fry has done since he started out on the comedy circuit with that adonis, Hugh Laurie. This book is a masterclass in humility. A fine read and very touching - the part where Stephen describes his mother carefully cutting out and keeping the crosswords and his description of how he felt made me weep for days! Lovely, lovely, lovely. And lots of swearing. Just as it should be.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witty but brutally honest, 7 Nov 2007
This review is from: Moab Is My Washpot (Paperback)
This autobiography may come as something of a surprise for those who see Stephen Fry on the television and imagine that he's always been a sort of friendly uncle/Oscar Wilde hybrid. His early life was certainly troubled - for example, not everyone steals their girlfriend's (sic) father's credit card in order to be able to run away from school - but he writes about his first twenty years with a complete lack of whining or self-pity, and is unafraid to show the reader his own very grave failings.

Fry's wit and candour make this book very difficult to put down - indeed, I ended up reading it one session and, when coming to the end, investigating whether he had written further volumes. Sadly, he hasn't yet, so we'll just have to make do with this little gem for the moment.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars getting over it?, 26 April 2009
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This review is from: Moab Is My Washpot (Paperback)
Adolescence - how does anyone get through it? (Supposing that is that we ever do.) Fry proves that it is worth revisiting. He gives a hilarious account of his period as an impossible over-privileged but - luckily for him - well-educated young smartie-pants. He recalls adolescence and its pains with a surreal clarity and immediacy: first love, first fumbles, sexual identity, favourite sweets, outwitting authority at any stupid cost, dealing with the frightening and barely controllable turmoils of mind and emotions. All this stuff we've read before but this is a true work of genius.

The author is a brilliant comic stylist and his stories had me rolling around laughing. As reported by other reviewers, life went on hold until the book was finished, leaving me wanting more. The humanity, culture and deep sense of the man means the writing never trades in self-indulgence, apart from the verbal sort which are tours de force of scabrous high comedy. Fry shares his story with the reader as though he or she were present and laughing along as an equal. The book shows what it's like to be human, deeply fallible, outrageous and original, both proud about all this and embarrassed at how it can hurt others and confuse ourselves.

The book is great on the mysteries of English middle-class socialisation and school life and full of love for his remarkably forbearing family. Fry's account of his education is sociological treasure, and leaves one wondering where the young get such lavish exposure to culture and opportunity today. What I took from it is: our first twenty years of mental and hormonal tumult are sure to inflict us with some sort of wooden leg to carry, but also the resources to dance triumphantly through later life while wearing it.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious and thought provoking, 3 Jun 2008
This review is from: Moab Is My Washpot (Paperback)
What makes Stephen Fry tick?
Well, if you've ever wondered then this is the book for you. Some hilarious moments - I'll never forget the bit with the organ prank which I was reading at 1am. My girlfriend rolled over and asked my why I was crying as I had tears of laughter pouring down my face.

But it's not all laughs, it's a great insight into how the word meister ticks and why he seems to have life all wrapped up. He wonders why people think this when he's so open in telling us how he has messed everything up. My theory being that he seems confident BECAUSE he's so willing to tell us how messed up he is. This book's content is a self analysis that goes beyond most people's own personal experience or practice. Thus he seems to have sorted life out. A lesson to us all here, maybe?

It's also provided an interesting insight to reading his fictional novels and you can't help exclaiming "oh...I know why this bit is here" as he uses his own life experience in the fictional realm.

A jolly good read - buy it!
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Moab Is My Washpot
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