Stephen Fry invites readers to take a glimpse at his life story in the unputdownable More Fool Me.
'Oh dear I am an arse. I expect there'll be what I believe is called an "intervention" soon. I keep picturing it. All my friends bearing down on me and me denying everything until my pockets are emptied. Oh the shame'
In his early thirties, Stephen Fry - writer, comedian, star of stage and screen - had, as they say, 'made it'. Much loved in A Bit of Fry and Laurie, Blackadder and Jeeves and Wooster, author of a critically acclaimed and bestselling first novel, The Liar, with a glamorous and glittering cast of friends, he had more work than was perhaps good for him.
What could possibly go wrong?
Then, as the 80s drew to a close, he discovered a most enjoyable way to burn the candle at both ends, and took to excess like a duck to breadcrumbs. Writing and recording by day, and haunting a never ending series of celebrity parties, drinking dens, and poker games by night, in a ludicrous and impressive act of bravado, he fooled all those except the very closest to him, some of whom were most enjoyably engaged in the same dance.
He was - to all intents and purposes - a high functioning addict. Blazing brightly and partying wildly as the 80s turned to the 90s, AIDS became an epidemic and politics turned really nasty, he was so busy, so distracted by the high life, that he could hardly see the inevitable, headlong tumble that must surely follow . . .
Containing raw, electric extracts from his diaries of the time, More Fool Me is a brilliant, eloquent account by a man driven to create and to entertain - revealing a side to him he has long kept hidden.
Review: Having enjoyed previous autobiographical titles by Stephen Fry I was keen to give this new one a go. I enjoyed listening to Fry's last books as an audiobook and so i read this one as an audiobook too. I really enjoy listening to people telling me about their lives in their own words. Thi9s books doesn't necessarily pick up where the last left off but starts somewhere in the 90s and tends to flash backs and forth a little bit. Now whilst this might sound confusing, the structure of it really works, we don't have to be chronological all of the time, and it becomes more a series of anecdotes rather than the, then next year this happened, format-much more fun!
I do sometimes find myself losing track of who's who when it comes to Stephen Fry'[s books, but i just go along with it and eventually i realise who it is that's being talked about. This is possibly because he has a tendency to name drop ad lib, but i was in no confusing during the chapter where he talked about Prince Charles and Diana coming round on New Year's day! There were some moments where people made me laugh and because i knew so many of the people he was talking about I could picture so many of them doing the things he was describing. In a sense, a lot of this book isn't actually about him but stories in which he is involved in some way!
This book has had a lot of hype because of Fry's stories of taking cocaine and the trouble, or lack of trouble that that got him in,. This book is by no means completely about drug fuelled binges, neither does it condone drugs. I actually learnt stuff about cocaine that I didn't know and he talks a little about the dealers and the vicious circle that one gets into when one has a dealer and so on. I actually found this aspect really interesting and yet, still have no desire to have anything whatsoever to do with Cocaine.
I think my favourite part of the book was the chapter about the Groucho Club. It is mentioned on numerous other occasions but there is a whole chapter explaining how he became a member and what soprdid things happened to him there (I could totally picture him not knowing who Blur were in the bar!) The final section of the book is comprised of diary entries from him. I wasn't so keen on this structure because i felt it dragged a little. There were short diary entries that I didn't think necessarily needed to be there and so i felt like i was wasting my time somewhat after the gallant pace that had been upheld for the previous portions of the book. Overall I really enjoyed this read though and the anecdotes, I'm sure, will keep me amused again and again!
The book was also enhanced for me by going to the cinema to see the More Fool Me live from the Royal Festival Hall. There were parts where Fry simply read from the book but others where you got bonus material and little extra anecdotes and his bit about Australian accents was just fabulous. I like when I can have a little bit extra to a book, such an an author signing or an event with them and this, for me, was a really lovely extra and well-worth the trip to the cinema!