April 09, 2014

"The Fry Chronicles": A Review

The Fry Chronicles: an Autobiography
by Stephen Fry

Great Britain is a very small island, and the number of great British actors is therefore a rather smaller club than the personnel involved in the bloated machinery of Hollywood. The result, in my opinion, is that autobiographies of British performers are easier and more satisfying to read, because the cast of characters is much more manageable. A lot of American actors' biographies that I've tried simply read like a "Who's Who" of people of whom I've never heard and names that I can't possibly keep straight. I didn't really have that problem with this one.

However, the real joys here are Stephen Fry's self-deprecating humor and honesty, the quirky way in which he marshals his thoughts, and his highly readable, thoroughly enjoyable writing style. He is the first to admit in these pages that he often comes off as smug, and actually is pompous at times. Moreover, his vocabulary is a truly formidable thing; I certainly encountered new words. Taken all together, these factors make Stephen Fry an acquired taste for some, and frankly unpalatable to others, but I'm a die-hard lover of Fry, and therefore of this book.


The Fry Chronicles is the actor/author's second installment in what I hope will eventually be a multi-volume autobiographical series. The first, Moab is My Washpot, covered his childhood up to the age of 17, and this one picks up from the first, extending to the year 1987. I anxiously await the publication of the continuing story.


Photo courtesy of Stephen Fry
Signature courtesy of IIVeaa

2 comments:

  1. Moab was remarkable for celebrity biography, while I enjoyed reading Fry Chronicles and it did not have the same impact as that first volume of auto-biog but like you I look forward to future volumes.

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  2. I'm a big fan of Stephen Fry, and while I haven't read Moab, I did read this one. I was slightly disappointed in the narrative elements, but I think there's no denying how smart this guy is. THe funniest ones usually are. ;)

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