Moab Is My Washpot Paperback – 5 Aug 2004
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"One of the most poignant, funny, intelligent, frank and horribly addictive books you're likely to read all year" (Sunday Telegraph)
"Stephen Fry is one of the great originals... This autobiography of his first twenty years is a pleasure to read, mixing outrageous acts with sensible opinions in bewildering confusion... That so much outward charm, self-awareness and intellect should exist alongside behaviour that threatened to ruin the lives of innocent victims, noble parents and Fry himself, gives the book a tragic grandeur and lifts it to classic status." (Financial Times)
"A remarkable, perhaps even unique, exercise in autobiography... that aroma of authenticity that is the point of all great autobiographies; of which this, I rather think, is one." (Evening Standard)
"He writes superbly about his family, about his homosexuality, about the agonies of childhood... some of his bursts of simile take the breath away... his most satisfying and appealing book so far." (Observer)
"This is one of the most extraordinary and affecting biographies I have read... Stephen is... painfully honest when trying to grapple with his ever-present demons, and often, as you might expect, very funny... I hope to goodness there'll be a sequel. I can't wait for more." (Daily Mail)
The original bestselling autobiography by the comedian, novelist and national treasure, Stephen Fry.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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").Read more ›
For, make no mistake, this is a redemption story; redemption not in the religious sense but in the sense of a soul coming to terms with itself. Stephen Fry's love for Oscar Wilde is well publicised, so maybe it's no coincidence that this account of his first twenty years reminded me of Wilde's fairy tales, these delicate, heartbreaking, deeply moralistic stories about love, betrayal, redemption and futility. Sometimes he finds himself cast as the Selfish Giant, sometimes as the Nightingale, sometimes as the ugly dwarf from The Birthday of the Infanta, and - might as well make full use of the Wilde connection here - the story about "Matteo" has taught me more about the true meaning of The Love that Dare not Speak its Name than over twenty years of worship at Oscar's throne.
Redemption is ultimately the result of learning to love yourself, and only once you learn to love yourself you can love others (if you don't believe me, look it up in the Bible).Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A bit wandering but I enjoyed most of it. The adolescent doubts and situations certainly resonated with me.Published 25 days ago by blends1985
my first read by this author a eye opener on how the other half livedPublished 3 months ago by mr j w hardy
Entertaining reading, need to know the UK personalities, otherwise have to search google all the timePublished 4 months ago by graaf
I really struggle to write reviews on books as I don't want to give the plot line or any twists and turns away to anyone thinking of buying it themselves - that would be a bit like... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Gabzb
What can I say about Fry that's not actionable? Not much so I won't say anything.Published 7 months ago by SJ Coombs
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