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4.2 out of 5 stars
Moab Is My Washpot
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 25 January 2001
Not for the faint at heart, as in the process of baring his soul, Stephen also bares his bottom (and several other parts). Includes liberal use of the f-word, as well as the a-word, the b-word, the c-word, the other c-word, the d-word, and ALL the rest. Very good, but might prove slightly disappointing if you've already read The Liar as so much of that book is autobiographical. Indeed I'm sure Stephen Fry would admit that in the early part of his life lying was his principal occupation (and skill). If you decide to read/listen to only one of his books then make sure it's this one, if only to reward the author for his honest pouring out of his innermost secrets. And finally, I think you need to go a long way to beat Stephen Fry as a narrator especially when it comes to his own work.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2006
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
on 7 November 2007
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 January 2010
The book is nothing short of genious! Stephen Fry takes the reader on a candid journey of his first 20 years of life, filled with humor, introspection and not skirting the difficulties, horrors or pains of growing up. Having written copiou amounts during that time, he could probably rely on more material from the time than most of us can, thereby making the account much more vivid and realistic, rather than it being a rose tinted recollection of his early days.

We might not all have gone to public school, or been buggered there but I think every adult will be able to recognise the pains of one's own adolescence from the account (not sure I would have appreciated it as much while being an adolescent myself).

On top of the excellent account and the wit that permeates the entire book, Stephen Fry's peerless command and glorification of the English language is truly inspirational - I wish every language had such a well spoken and compelling advocate!

Am now definitely looking forward to reading the The Liar, which seems to be a fictionalised account of the same period.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 29 June 2011
The only real problem with Stephen Fry's writing in this memoir is that he's so prone to hyperbole. Everything is overblown, overstated, overemphasised and generally over the top... the out-of-control swearing, the showy wordplay, the exaggerated humour, the explosive rants. He likes to make mountains out of molehills and while this can often be amusing for its own sake, after 200 or 300 pages it all starts to feel a little bit fake... like he's desperate to entertain and impress you at all costs.

Most of his memories are a series of comedic vignettes... and they're a little too polished... a little too convenient to ring true. You start to suspect if his past really did unfold in this way or if it's all been augmented to give the fans what they want.

But having said all of this, I still enjoyed the ride. It's good light reading for the train journey home, even if you're not entirely convinced by the truth of it all. And whichever way you look at it, the man can definitely write... his style might be OTT (in this case) but his command of the English language is exceptional.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 25 October 2007
I'm a first-timer to Fry's work and I have to say that I'll be reading everything he's written as soon as I can get my hands on all of it. While I'm normally one for a cult classic such as McCrae's Katzenjammer or some self-help inspirational such as Eat, Pray, Love, I found this book through a recommendation of a friend. Glad I did. Fry's take on his life and those around him is rational, funny, and full of insight. My only beef was that I wasn't able to put it down. If you like to laugh and enjoy peeling of extra layers in a book, MOAB is the right move for you.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 27 October 1998
The author himself states that most autobiographies are used as a form of revenge. This book, however, is ultimately a vehicle for Fry to apologise to, and thank, the people who suffered him during the first 20 years of his life.
And suffer they did. Fry, for all his eductaion, wittiness and cleverness (and we DO see plenty of that in this book - he never resists the use of sophisticated cultural reference) appears to have led a devious and criminal adolescence. Thievery at school, credit-card fraud shortly afterwards - Fry's early career path becomes very different from that of his prep and boarding school chums once he hits 19 and a prison cell.
All of which, I should add, is described in immense and pleasurable detail. As well as his well-publicised misdemeanors, we read about the trials and heartache of a 'true' homosexual at public school, teenage rebellion towards his parents and family, and his love of literature, music and art (matched only by his utter hatred of sport) - all dealt with in Fry's inimitable style, a language that will be immediately recognisable to readers of his fiction and viewers of his comedy.
This book is a fascinating read that presents the early, turbulent life of a well-known public figure in a disarming, yet warm style. I can only echo one of the media reviewers on the dust cover who says he 'can't wait for the sequel'. A book describing his next twenty years would probably be no less of a autobiographical masterpiece.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Like many of the other reviewers, I found I couldn't put this book down. True some of the language gets a bit complicated in places but Fry's amazing narrative style is so addictive that the few stumbling parts are easily forgiven. It's brilliantly funny, heart-breakingly sad and refreshingly honest, after reading it I would challenge anyone not to feel even slightly moved. Personally I felt a whole rainbow of emotions and I am so glad I read it. I would recommend this to anyone.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2006
Few writers, especially celebrity authors, could possibly hope to conjour up an autobiography written with such wonderous dexterity. Above all else, Moab' feels like a coming-of-age novel - a book that could almost be interpreted as a work of drama fiction by someone not in the know. Fry never embellishes with uninteresting details that can so frequently make an autobiography tedious. Instead, he uses the nature of his upbringing as a centre point from which he can philosophise, ponder, and examine societies blessings and ills in an intellectual-yet-light read. Well, I say 'light', but being the 'sesquipedalian' Fry is, expect to need a dictionary on occasion. Possibly the greatest thing about this book is his honesty. The more puritanical among us might even find his liberal mind and sexual openness offensive - but then again, why an ideological conservative would even bother reading this man's book is beyond me. He is logical and refreshing in his opinions of sex and love, and likable enough to convert the most ardent homophobe. I'm now off to buy as many Stephen Fry novels as possible - especially those written in the first person.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 21 September 2010
The imminent release of Moab Part 2 prompted me to re-read the original, so I feel justified in submitting this late review.
Second time around, it confirmed itself as one of my top 3 books of all time. I love the rants, the rage, the repetition, the revelation. It's the perfect autobiography - a life story revealed, rather like the author's nose (as he keeps reminding us) in anything but a straight line. The story telling is elliptical, the chronology has enormous loops and detours, and the whole thing is punctuated with set-piece essays on everything from religion to sport to sexuality to music to corporal punishment. Who needs more? I love it, I love him . . . the only trouble is, that's quite a high bench-mark for Part 2 to live up to. I have the book, but I almost daren't read it . . .
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