07 May, 2015

More fool me by Stephen Fry

More fool me is the third volume of Stephen Fry’s autobiography, following on from the successful and acclaimed Moab is my washpot and The Fry chronicles. More fool me finds Fry in his early thirties, burning through the late 1980s and into the early 1990s as a high-functioning writer, playwright, comedian and star of stage and screen with an ever-growing cocaine dependency. An incident-packed recounting ensues, veering from amusing to painfully honest but always engaging.

Wry, witty, in places rambling, Fry meanders from amusing anecdote to hilarious tale with self-deprecating dexterity. Never mean to others, he is unfailingly candid about his own shortcomings and weaknesses. He makes no apologies for the choices he has made but acknowledges the bullets he has dodged more by luck than judgement. Throughout his adventures and misadventures, Fry’s values, particularly the importance of friendship, shine through in a refreshingly simple fashion.

Fry’s name-dropping is off the scale, but remember that this is the person accredited by the Oxford English Dictionary for first using the term ‘luvvie’ (or ‘lovie’ as Fry spells it) as a humorous synonym for ‘actor’. He has also kept the company of some incredibly fascinating and talented actors, writers, philosophers and artists over the last three decades, and has a story to tell about them all.

Fry’s understanding of the human psyche is acute and his observations invariably insightful. He has the sharpest of eyes for the follies of human nature and how ridiculous the world can be. His writing is surprisingly optimistic given that he lives with bipolar disorder and has attempted suicide several times. As addicted to writing as he once was to illegal narcotics, there will doubtless be more to come from Fry’s pen, and I, for one, cannot wait.

More fool me by Stephen Fry

Reviewed by Nick K, Ranui Library

Nick K enjoys reading autobiographies, crime fiction, demonological adult and young adult fiction, classic children’s fiction like Arthur Ransome and picture books, especially those illustrated by Quentin Blake. He hates reality TV.

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