Wednesday, 2 November 2011

A Year in Books 2011 - The Fry Chronicles



I'm a bit behind on a year in books as for some reason I'm racing through them at them moment so here is ayet another one and appologies if you are only really interested in the music posts

Stephen Frys 2nd part of his autobiography follows after the strangely titled Moab is My washpot. That first part dealt with his school days and whilst there was a strange fascination reading about his insecurities and self destructive streak that eventually lead to a criminal record for stealing a family friends credit card, it did feel a bit like a prologue .

The Fry Chronicles picks up with Fry starting life in Cambridge and ends with him sitting down to write the first series of a Bit of Fry and Laurie. In between we get the footlights ,  time as a book reviewer, a failed comedy series , Saturday Night Live , Blackadder and a west end/broadway hit musical,. In fact so much happens in such a short few years that while things zip along there are times when you want a more leisurely stroll and think no hang on a sec I want to hear a bit more about that

He handles the Cambridge years really well and manages to capture the sense of history, tradition and priviledge without alienating the reader into resenting the open doors , the silver spoon and the exclusivity.

He balances the fact that he fell in with an amazingly talented bunch of people  by giving just as much space to key people in his life who aren’t in the public eye. For every Emma Thompson there would be someone else that had me rushing to google. The anecdotes are funny and enlightening and the clever structure means they always have a point  instead of the book becoming just a list of stories that some autobiographies end up being.

The insecurities remain and sometimes he does protest too much in a I’m really not confident , I really do care too much on what people think , type way (after 2 books we get the message)

He admits that one of his biggest fears is that people will see him as a wasted talent , someone who flits from one thing to another, a jack of all trades etc. Could he have become  the best at something rather than that clever funny man who is heading for national institution?

To some extent you can see his point but you also feel through the book that it would also have been a bit of a loss and certainly a less interesting read if he had.

If you don’t like him then this book won’t change your mind, but if you are interested in a cultural world that seems like a different lifetime then Stephen Fry’s journey is a good one to follow.



I’ve also read Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan 2nd part of their end of world , vampire trilogy The Fall (part one was the Strain). Like the first book it is good harmless action packed page turning fun and crying out to get a Walking Dead type tv treatment .

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