As far as an autobiography of Stephen Fry is concerned Moab is My Washpot (which is about his life before he became famous) had really quite surprised me, I don’t pretend to know a lot about Stephen Fry. Just that I love watching him on television and think he is generally pretty awesome. Having read the first autobiography I had less expectations of this one in a way, I didn’t expect it to be at all predictable because in the first book his life seemed to differ so much from what was suggested by his television persona.
In terms of what I would expect from Fry this was a little more what I had expected than the first book. You could certainly see parts of who he seems to be now coming out. In some ways it seemed a little self-obsessed (but can one really write an autobiography without it being a little self-obsessed?). I never really got the idea that he was elevating himself, if anything he was quite humble and even at times would tell himself off for being a little self-obsessed (which never seemed like he was pretending, more like he couldn’t understand why people would be interested). All the way through there was a certain level of disbelief that he had become famous. It was obvious he didn’t feel he deserved it, and from what he said in his more present voice he seemed still not to quite believe how lucky he has been. In a way this was the element of the book which most surprised me.
On adding this book to goodreads I had a quick flick through the (spoiler free) reviews (it’s something I often do, just reading the first few lines of each review to get a general picture of how people found the book). I happened to catch sight of a review which suggested that the book was a bit to name-droppy (and no that isn’t a real word, I don’t care). This did cause me a bit of worry. I’m not one of those people who is really into celebrity culture (I think I am right in saying that this is the one celebrity biography I have read). However I don’t think I needed to be worried. There were maybe a few name-drops that were unnecessary but most of the time he mentioned people who were friends or who he had worked with, I don’t think you can really write a whole autobiography without mentioning any friends or colleges.
The descriptions of Fry’s time at Cambridge were more interesting than I had expected too although not as interesting as wen the ‘fame thing’ started.
At time it had me laughing out loud but in general I wouldn’t describe it as a comic book- still it was almost worth reading just for Hugh Laurie’s reaction to Fry buying his first Apple Mac.
Only real problem I had with it is that the way it ended made it very obvious that Fry intended to write another autobiography. Which almost forces you to read it. I mean his life isn’t over so I suppose another biography would be expected but I would like to feel I have more choice.
Oh and one more thing, there were a few points where I thought the Kindle edition might be different to the paperback. Just things which seemed to suggest you were on an e-reader. Does anyone know if there are any differences?