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Title : Moab Is My Washpot
Author :
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ISBN : 9780099727316
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 436 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Moab Is My Washpot Reviews

  • Trevor
    2019-03-11 22:29

    In Foucault’s The History of Sexuality there is a chapter where (and I’m simplifying and summarising, possibly far too much) he compares Eastern and Western ways of sex. Basically in the East people are ‘initiated’ into sex – they are taught sex as one might be taught to dance. No one is expected to just know – it is something you need to learn. In the West we don’t bother with that sort of thing. What we do is turn sex into a science. We feel the need to talk endlessly about sex – Kinsy and Hite as much as Freud. And most of all, we do love to confess. There is a sense in which a good autobiography is really little more than a good confession. How we ever stopped all being Catholic is quite beyond me – but I never have understood religion. In short then, in the East they like to dance, in the West we like to get the sex over as quick as we can so we can all head down to the pub to tell our mates.In a review of another of Fry’s books I wrote at the start of the week and before I had started reading this one I said, “The thing I like most about Fry’s writing is that it is disarmingly honest.” Now, you would have thought I would have been primed for a good dose of honesty here – this being his autobiography. But no, this book was infinitely more honest than I had a right to expect. I enjoyed this book so much – so much that it may become a Christmas present for mum, hard to say. This takes his life up until he was about 20. He is the last person I could imagine ever being in gaol. The idea of him being a thief is even harder to reconcile. There is a constant air of foreboding about this book. There are dark, dark thunder clouds – virtually always near enough to be heard, but for the most part still on the horizon. The storms never prove to be quite as horrible as they are in anticipation, but the anticipation is beautifully crafted. I’ve long believed that we are only the vague acquaintances of our former selves – sometimes not even that. Fry brings this point out forcefully in a poem he wrote at 15 to his 25 year old self – the sell out he knew his 25 year old self would have to become. We are obsessed with the myth of the continuity of our ‘self’ – Fry plays with this idea in a fascinating way in the latter parts of this book.There is remarkably little sex. I would have expected more, to be honest, but prefer that there is not more. If you believe all homosexuals are rampant sex manics you might be a bit disappointed with this book. Fry is perhaps the best known and best loved homosexual in Britain – or maybe that is Alan Bennett? – anyway, I’d have thought that this book would do as much as any to help dispel the eternal evil that is homophobia. I loved his ‘explanation’ of how he knew he was gay – that he never fantasised about having sex with women, only ever with men. This is about the only way anyone can tell their sexuality, I’d have thought. People might find the swearing more challenging than the sex, though. There are four letter words that begin with F and even with C and both used repeatedly. Because of the frequent use of the C word I’m in the curious position of being able to buy this book for my mother, but not for Lorena. What a funny world we live in.I’m particularly fond of people holding forth – and Fry does this throughout the book, and then undercuts it all nicely with typically British self-deprecation. This was a good autobiography, at times quite amusing and at other times quite painful – a bit like life itself really.

  • Lindz
    2019-03-02 02:26

    I am not EnglishI am not JewishI am not GayI am not MaleI did not go through an English public school system or prison.I understood and related to every single beautiful syllable of this beautiful, beautiful memoir. Stephen Fry's first autobiography was an absolute pleasure from start to finish. He is a true master of words. This 'celebrity tell all' is heavy and pungent with words. Nice sweaty words filled with flavour and colour. I loved the large rants, tangents, separated by these wonderful skits, anecdotes from his life. It is everything a good/great memoir should be, open, indulgent, philosophical, passionate, truthful, extravagant, confessional, with a hint of inaccuracy that only personal memory can provide. This is a treasure of a book.

  • Emily May
    2019-03-24 20:07

    Look, it's no secret to anyone who knows me in the slightest: I love this man. He is my inspiration and my hero, I love his attitude to life, his sense of humour and unflinching ability to stand up and speak out for what he believes in.He here tells a brutally honest account of his growing up and how he first came to realise that he was gay. He takes the reader through his days in a boarding school where he struggled to fit in and constantly rebelled against, without knowing quite why. He tells of his troubled mind and how it led him to spend time in prison prior to completing his education at Cambridge, he also speaks of his first love and questions his own thoughts and feelings. Fry attempts to analyse his own behaviour, struggling himself to understand why he grew up the way he did when he was treated no differently to his brother.It is honest, it is funny, poignant and sometimes sad. It is nearly always curious and often confused. But it is never apologetic. Good for you, Stephen.

  • Tony Johnston
    2019-03-01 19:03

    I would find it tough to fully explain why I dislike this book because to do so would require a long essay and frankly, it doesn't deserve that.In summary, I am very disappointed. Like a lot of people, I had got used to Stephen Fry the "national treasure" and I looked forward to understanding and appreciating a little more of this enigma. The man with millions of Twitter followers. The problem is, I ended up wishing I hadn't bothered. On the one hand I found myself disliking the author in a way I hadn't anticipated. This in itself is not a reason to dislike a book although in the case of an autobiography it doesn't help.Clearly you should judge his character for yourself; his use (and abuse) of privilege, his dishonesty (not just in terms of thieving), his problems with bipolar disorder and his own achievements in TV and other areas are all things that are matters of personal opinion. All I will say is that this book has somewhat spoiled my enjoyment of his fantastic portrayal of the Jeeves character and that is a crime the author himself might understand. I do feel obliged to appreciate anyone who manages to make a half-decent mark in the world and so I'll get over it.For the book itself, I found the writing variable. Sometimes there are glimpses of good prose and you kid yourself that this man is actually living up to the hype. However, the sum of the parts left me feeling that this is a hollow book written by a hollow man. It seems to me that he justifies everything by clouding your mind with words. In between the descriptions of his amazingly well appointed schools are passionate apologies, heartfelt splurges of polemic and hints of mental eccentricity. I think most of this is an act. He dismisses his own intelligence but then spends a lot of effort creating the impression that he is a victim of his own superlative brain and character. This is privileged man who uses words and quotations to create an aura of erudition around himself when on close inspection there is little to justify this view. "Oh I am not so very bright and even if I were, I wouldn't care" said the dull boy to the judge. Sure.Clearing away this cloud, I realised that I found his thoughts overblown and poorly presented. About a third of the way in I remembered that I had read "The Liar" and that it was, frankly, trash. Here, underneath the excessive verbiage and constant reference to his extensive literary knowledge, his own thoughts come through as a mishmash of gimcrack (his word) ideas, self-aggrandising and egotistical nonsense covered at appropriate times by the aforementioned passionate apologies. Finally, it occurred to me that this book tells us a lot about our society. Surface over substance. We see Stephen Fry the genius say a few smart things on TV and ergo he is amazingly talented in the eyes of the people. We don't look underneath; we tag, we label, I assume.

  • Paul
    2019-03-17 19:26

    As you'd expect from Mr. Fry, this memoir is well-written, witty, charming and brutally honest. Recommended to anyone who is a fan of his work.

  • Briar Rose
    2019-03-24 22:03

    Reading this book was much like listening to an interesting but self-important guest at a dinner party, who buttonholes you at the hors d'oeuvres and talks to you all night on a wide range of subjects. It's funny and endearing when Fry actually tells stories from his childhood, but he frequently goes off on tangents, which mostly involve long opinionated rants about random subjects, which add nothing to the story. For someone who is such a navel-gazer, he also seems strangely to lack self-awareness -- this might be a deliberate literary ploy, but I was left feeling that he didn't really understand himself or the effect his own experiences have had on him. Still, I listened to the audiobook version read by Fry himself, and most of the weaknesses of this book are glossed over or forgotten under his skilled performance. (view spoiler)[(Although at times it was strangely disturbing to listen to. Fry's voice is most familiar as the reader of the Harry Potter books, and these stories of his public school days, written the same year as the first Harry Potter novel, resonate strangely with those novels. The innocence in the Harry Potter series has its flipside here. It is strange to hear recounted in the same voice used for Harry and Ron and Dumbledore, the stories of the darkside of boarding school - beatings, bullying, stealing, rape by older boys in the bathrooms, all given in a light and witty tone.) (hide spoiler)]

  • nettebuecherkiste
    2019-03-16 20:59

    Wir kennen Stephen Fry als lustigen, gut gelaunten Allrounder – er ist zugleich Komiker, Schauspieler, Moderator, Autor und Intellektueller. In der ersten seiner Autobiographien erzählt er von seiner Kindheit und Jugend in Englands Internaten. Seine Bipolarität, die sich auch in jungen Jahren schon andeutete, spielt natürlich eine gewisse Rolle. Im Zentrum seiner Erinnerungen an seine 20 ersten Lebensjahre steht jedoch die Identitätsfindung – er erzählt, wie er sich zum ersten Mal verliebte – dass er schwul ist, hatte er zu diesem Zeitpunkt bereits realisiert. Seine erste große Liebe mutet nahezu idealistisch an, es ist eine platonische, zärtliche Liebe zu einem Mitschüler. Stephen Fry gelingt es dabei sehr gut, dem Leser diese Liebe nahezubringen, er stellt auch einige mit Homosexualität verbundene Vorurteile richtig. Ich muss zugeben, dass auch ich hier Wissenslücken aufwies. Stephen Fry ist in diesem Buch vor allem eines: gnadenlos ehrlich und offen (ohne irgendwelche Personen bloßzustellen). Solange Fry von seinen Schulen und seinen Freunden erzählt, liest sich das Buch sehr gut, gelegentlich driftet er allerdings ins Philosophische ab und diese Passagen sind weitaus weniger leicht zu lesen. Er ist eben ein echter Intellektueller – ich habe bei der Lektüre überdurchschnittlich viele Personen, Begriffe und Konzepte bei Wikipedia recherchieren müssen. Die Komplexität des Textes zeigt sich bereits im Titel des Buches: „Moab is My Washpot“, zu Deutsch „Moab ist mein Waschbecken. (Eine Erläuterung der Bedeutung findet sich bei Wikipedia (englische Version.) Wer Stephen Fry kennt, wird sich außerdem vorstellen können: Der Junge hatte es faustdick hinter den Ohren und sorgte für einigen Aufruhr an seinen Schulen. Gleichzeitig zeigt sich jedoch die verletzliche und die depressive Seite seines Gemüts.Stephen Fry berichtet außerdem völlig offen von seiner Delinquentenzeit – nachdem er von zwei Internaten geflogen war, wurde er, bereits geprägt durch seine Bipolarität, straffällig und verbrachte eine Zeit in einem Gefängnis, bevor er sein Abitur mit fulminantem Ergebnis wiederholte und in Cambridge erfolgreich Englisch studierte.Manche Referenzen sind für deutsche Leser nicht einfach zu verstehen, da sie sich auf britische Persönlichkeiten beziehen, die dem deutschen Publikum nicht unbedingt bekannt sind.Frys Buch ist eine lohnende, sympathische Lektüre, wenn man sich nicht vor den schwierigen Passagen und philosophischen Konzepten fürchtet.

  • Donna
    2019-03-03 18:10

    Sometimes I like to daydream about who I would invite to my ideal dinner party, and Stephen Fry is always at the top of my list. He's funny, erudite, active, and kind. Basically he's my idea of a perfect man, and of course, he's gay as a Christmas tree. Ah well, you can't get everything in life, and I would settle for a conversation with him.After hearing Fry read this book, his own autobiography covering the first 20 years or so of his life, I feel like I've had that conversation. I feel like I know him, like he's a favorite uncle whose stories I love to hear over and over again.And what stories! To hear Fry tell it, he was a hellion of the highest order when he was a boy; stealing, lying, and falling in love with beautiful boys. You get the sense that he was always aware of his extremely high intellect and was able to use it on other people from an early age. I couldn't help but smile at his telling of his antics, and gasping incredulously at how daring he could be.Fry has always been so willing to communicate with the world. He puts out a revealing and entertaining twitter feed, makes excellent documentaries on his own struggles with manic-depressive disorder among many other topics, and is a prolific writer. I'm a great admirer of his, and greatly look forward to reading the next installment in his life story, The Fry Chronicles.

  • Rory
    2019-03-12 18:06

    There's no denying that Stephen Fry is absurdly smart, and veddy, veddy funny. I've adored him since he was Jeeves to Hugh Laurie's Wooster. He could annotate a shopping list from 1986 and I'd be enthralled. Of course, his early life was full of much more interesting things--private English schools in the 1970s (a couple of which he was asked to leave), a suicide attempt, early explorations of his homosexuality, earnest struggles to find just where his genius might lie. I was a tiny bit anguished, though, to realize that this memoir only went through his unlikely acceptance to Cambridge, and then stops. Cambridge is where he did two things I've always been fascinated by: kicked ass on University Challenge, and was best pals with Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson. I really, really hope he writes another memoir.

  • Ruchita
    2019-03-04 19:03

    Whatever your expectations for this book, it will outstrip them. No, that's an understatement. It will take those expectations, multiply them with a factor of 10 or so, take you through 60s England, through the land of schoolboy mischief and lies and heartbreak, show you kindness and compassion along the way, go off on tangents about music and madness and philosophy,and leave you with mad props and respect and love for one Mr. Fry.For that is the heart of it, of this book and of the writing and all that contained therein: Stephen Fry. Incredibly funny, witty, kind, compassionate, brutally honest and very, very clever. This is deceptively titled as an autobiography, for it is much, much more than that. Yes, it is a book chronicling the first 20 years of Stephen's life, no doubt - but it is also a book that goes much beyond the life of one schoolboy and into the wild territory of intellectual passions and real world cruelties. Stephen is prone to going off on tangents now and then on anything that tickles his fancy, in the best way possible.He has more than a way with words, one of the chief reasons why reading this book is such an enjoyable experience. It is a delight to watch Stephen go about anecdotes and essays, conversations and explanations as he weaves his web of verbal dexterity, balances on a trapeze of mental kickbacks and does tricks with words.Hail Stephen Fry.

  • Sandi
    2019-03-16 20:59

    How can you not love a man, that in the middle of why he kept his crooked nose veers off to discourse on how the monarchy is the crooked nose of Great Britain. Brilliant stuff!Stephen has such a command of language and the written word that I felt his pains and triumphs. He agonizes over his lack of musical ability yet in the next breath he's soaring with his first tale of love. His love of words. His toys as he calls them. Strengthening my own love of language.Unlike others, I knew a few things going in so I didn't find a lot of what he relayed quite so shocking. What I did find surprising is just how sincere he is over the pain some of his misadventures had caused others. A lot of biographies of celebrities either celebrate their crimes or try and sweep them under a rug. Stephen faces his head on and I found that profoundly heartening. I am absurdly glad that I already have The Fry Chronicles so that I don't have to wait to continue Stephen's memoirs.

  • Joey Woolfardis
    2019-03-03 19:18

    [Quick and short review before I re-read and re-review at a later date:Ahh Frymo how I do indeed love you, though I should probably not call you Frymo. In any case, his biographies are some of the best out there. There's a lot to tell, because he was a wee little shit back in the day and it's important to know this because look where he is now. I feel this might have been, like his other one, full of tangents but that's half the fun, yes?]

  • Lachlan Smith
    2019-03-08 19:17

    Can you imagine being sent to a boarding school 200 miles from where you lived? Well, Stephen Fry doesn’t have to.Fry’s autobiography, intriguingly entitled Moab is my Washpot, tells of how he managed to live through beatings, expulsion, imprisonment, probation and suicide attempts – all before he was eighteen! He states in the novel that he promised himself he would never write an autobiography unless he was honest throughout and did not try to make himself out as the good guy. Well, he certainly didn’t paint himself as the good guy in Moab is my Washpot. He is brutally honest about his school and post-school life, but sometimes to almost an intolerable extent. Some passages leave you wishing you had skipped a few paragraphs, because of the thoughts that were once passing through Fry’s head at the time and the actions of older students at his boarding school – namely “Derwent”.The tone changes in the middle if the book as he goes deeper into his problems (of which there were many) and shows the very, very dark and troublesome childhood of this otherwise seemingly funny and cheery comedian. He often uses false names for people in his book, to save them much embarrassment.The last third of the book returns to relative sanity, or at least becomes so interesting that it is hard to put the book down. It explains how and why he turned eighteen (came of age) in a rotten diner, many thousands of miles away from his family.But despite his criminal activities, Fry emerged a year or so later to be accepted into Cambridge University.Before you read this you have to know that you will never read another autobiography the same way, if ever. Once you have read his brutally frank book, you will realise that a lot of autobiographies (but by no means all) really do paint the author as the “good guy”. Either that or Stephen Fry was very odd, which you have to ask when you read this excerpt. This was from a letter he wrote to himself at the age of fifteen, not be opened until he was twenty-five:“Well I tell you now that everything I feel now, everything I am now is truer and better than anything I shall ever be. Ever. This is me now, the real me. Every day that I grow away from the me that is writing this now is a betrayal and a defeat”

  • Heather
    2019-03-09 21:08

    I love Stephen Fry. No matter what one may think of him (and I personally think he's brilliant), the man's command of the English language is wonderful, and he uses it to his full advantage in this memoir of his childhood years. The book is made up of a few large chapters detailing various periods in his early life (his move across schools, the realisation of his sexuality, his first love, his arrest/incarceration) and ends with his acceptance into Cambridge. This book reminded me an awful lot of Roald Dahl's Boy: Tales of Childhood, in both its eloquence and its quintessential Englishness, with both men writing in such a way that you feel like you're truly there, experiencing the depicted events as they occur. The ability to do such a thing is truly rare, and I think the world is therefore lucky that Fry continues to write for us. Overall, a great book about the youth of an extraordinary man, and an excellent precursor to The Fry Chronicles. Note: Fry is unapologetic for his sexuality (as he rightly should be) and goes into quite graphic detail of his homosexual experimentation as a child/teen, so a few sections of this book might be discomforting to some. That said, they're written quite matter-of-factly (and are not over-sexualised at all), so it shouldn't be a problem for anyone.

  • Kevin
    2019-03-14 21:29

    Lookit, I'll call it quits around page 300. A big disappointment from a man that I hold a passionate and undying love for. It just never caught me as it was a dry and uneventful retelling of what might be called a remarkable youth. I think it is proof that Fry's spirit is best shown by his actual presence and voice rather than words on a page. Really he is to be experienced rather than studied.

  • Deanne
    2019-02-21 18:17

    An insight into Stephen Fry's childhood, enjoyed his comments on himself as a teenager. Not an easy childhood, but not because of his parents or family but seemingly because of things he did, you'll just have to read it.

  • Ulysses Dietz
    2019-03-09 22:00

    Moab is my WashpotBy Stephen FryFive starsThe basic reaction I had as I finished Stephen Fry’s autobiographical “Moab is my Washpot” was: Would Stephen Fry like me?I’m not usually quite this narcissistic, but I couldn’t help but feel that Fry was someone I wished I knew, someone quite remarkable, and yet palpably flawed and human in ways that provoked forgiveness. Against all better judgment, I rather fell in love with him.This should be honestly described as a partial-autobiography, since it only takes the famous British comic actor from birth to about the age of twenty. Given that he’s just two years younger than I am, there’s a lot of his life left undiscovered at the end of this book. But the part he writes is in equal parts hilarious and hair-raising. Apologetic and unrepentant, Fry’s helter-skelter narrative describes to us exactly how he managed to bugger up his life without any help from his parents (who, if eccentric and quirky, were adoring and as patient as saints). Much better, from my point of view, than the fictionalized version of his early life offered in “The Liar,” “Moab is my Washpot” is a wry confessional in which the author admits freely what a twat he is while at the same time making the reader (at least this one) want to hold him tightly and promise that everything will turn out all right. As an American, I barely knew who Stephen Fry was, since the larger part of his most celebrated comedy never appeared on American television (unlike his best friend and comic partner Hugh Laurie, who became a household word through the television drama series “House”). As a gay man, I know rather more about him, both for his outspoken support of LGBT rights and more recently for his pending nuptials to a far younger man. There is a certain perverse David Copperfield quality to this book, Oliver Twist with a twist. It is an epic saga of a life lived in desperation; desperation probably caused by an awareness of his homosexuality and inability to deal with it in healthy ways. This in itself points to the difficulty of growing up gay in the world of the 1950s, 60s and 70s (whether British or American) with very little support of any kind. Adorably, Fry does not point the finger of blame—he insists, amusingly and convincingly, that getting caned at boarding school did nothing to damage his psyche. All the stereotypical nightmarishness of the British public school system is carefully shunted aside as possible cause for Fry’s ill-behavior. He blames only himself, but in doing so embraces the general darkness of the world in his youth as the root cause of his excesses and his disastrous spiral into thievery and prison. He even makes prison sound sort of amusing. Writing honestly is difficult. Being funny about writing honestly is near miraculous. I loved this book and admire Fry deeply for unleashing it on the world.

  • Helen (Helena/Nell)
    2019-03-22 21:03

    Fry has so much charisma, even on the page, that one preserves a certain reticence. He oozes charm, and therefore the natural response is to turn put an anti-charm cloak. Even so, he got me. For a start, he's so intensely readable, so easy to read that there's pleasure just in that. And then for me -- well he's my decade, a couple of years younger than me -- and so many of his references were my references, his life is my life.I even know a bit about the sort of background he thrived in, the whole public school thing, because although I didn't go to one, I did grow up in a private primary school that prepared wee boys for the Common Entrance exam. Later I even tutored one or two myself.I like the way he stops and examines things minutely -- like the whole corporal punishment thing, for example. His argument is really interesting, the idea that when a thing is 'normal' -- i.e. everybody is doing it, it can be less damaging somehow. And he's good on sex, really. And he's enormously clever at creating the sense that he's actually conducting a conversation with you, and with himself, and that he's worrying away at stuff until he works it through. Sometimes you even get the sense that you just SAID something to which he's obviously replying.I wouldn't want to be Stephen Fry. Not ever. He couldn't help being a scene stealer throughout his childhood, and he's still doing it. His public persona is who he is. The honesty about his own impulse to steal -- that thing which must have been a product of acute unhappiness -- even that becomes a disclosure which is part of the personal drama. It must be so difficult to take off your clothes in public. And then so difficult, if you're Stephen Fry, not to.He talks about how much he still hates not being able to sing, because it means not being able to join in. That took me back to a lovely little film -- Peter's Friends -- in which Fry plays the central role. My favourite scene, which moves me to tears even to think about it, is the bit where the entire cast assembles round the piano and sings. And Imelda Staunton turns out to have such a beautiful voice -- and the whole point of the scene, as I remember it, is the way the singing lifts him, the way Peter's friends are a kind of glory of which he is a part, though he isn't partnered. It's almost a rejoinder to the bits in this book about not being able to join in. I must send for that film on DVD and watch it again.

  • Billy
    2019-03-13 21:02

    Stephen Fry is a once-in-a-generation intellectual talent that, thank god, dedicated his life to show business rather than government, business, or the academy. Perhaps owing to the TV show Bones (which I have not seen), you're maybe a little more likely to have heard of him in America than a few years ago; you probably have heard of his long-time comedic partner Hugh Laurie, now better known as Gregory House, MD. My first encounter with Stephen was unwitting on my part - turns out he had written the book for the updated 'Me and My Girl' that my high school put on as a musical my sophomore year, the jokes of which I found genuinely funny unlike the hee-haw corniness of the Rodgers and Hammerstein shows that were otherwise on the menu. My next encounter was sometime in the early aughts, when one of the Manhattan public television networks (or was it NJN?) for some reason replayed the British series Absolute Power, which I thought was wicked and wonderful, and then later came the genius of 'A Bit of Fry and Laurie' and of course Blackadder, followed more recently by his wholly-excusable-for-how-amusing-it-is turn as a game show host for the British panel quiz QI (short for "quite interesting", as you probably guessed). He and Hugh Laurie also played, respectively, Jeeves and Wooster, and Stephen was the titular Oscar in "Wilde." Oh yes, this is supposed to be a book review - Well, turns out Stephen had a semi-rebellious childhood and adolescence, with a penchant for stealing that ultimately earned him prison time; he is known for saying (not frivolously) that boarding school was the best preparation for prison as one could expect. This is a childhood memoir that covers that ground, as well as his recognition of his sexuality, educational development and career aspirations. It's quite an intimate, vulnerable undertaking at times (how many close friends even have you told the story of your very first, um, 'little death'?). Fry is a master and lover of the English language, and knows just when to be serious and when to suddenly interrupt his own flow with a playfully pointless tangent. I don't know if you'd enjoy it that much without some context of appreciating him as an actor/performer, so I'd say check him out in that arena first and if you find yourself charmed then come back here.

  • Anna
    2019-03-07 00:20

    I always liked Stephen Fry. After ”Moab is my washpot” I like him even more.I like the way he talks about himself. The way he stands for what, and how, he is. The way he talks about his love for words and hate for games. His matter of fact way of talking about being gay, and what I am not likely to forget for a long while - how it was when he fell in love for the first time. The picture that emerges, is of a boy who realized, that he is smart enough to be able to get out of any situation without getting caught. And that theory, as any scientist very well understands, needed to be tested and challenged, so test and challenge he did. Both on himself and his surrounding: how much more of Stephen Fry can Stephen Fry and his surrounding possibly take?There were school pranks, small adrenaline-rising cheats, larger - not that harmless incidents slowly accelerating through his school years. To an outsider, a smart and confident young individual, but when you look a little deeper - the most utterly lost and attention craving little boy, that you have ever seen. And at that, willing to gain that attention at any cost. This seeking of challenge and craving for attention has finally led him to a situation that could have costed him everything. Fortunately it didn't, and apparently even taught the unruly youth a lesson, or perhaps simply gave him that portion of attention that was needed to be able to turn everything around.It is a very personal account of growing up, but it is written by Stephen Fry, so as I felt my heart go out to him, I couldn't ignore the possibility that maybe I am being manipulated. And that, of course I will never know, but it is a very good book, regardless, if the account is honest, or if to exhibit himself to the widest possible audience was just another challenge.

  • Na
    2019-03-21 18:27

    I loved reading every page of it…I received this book as one of my Christmas present from my husband. He used to mention him to me now and again. I have caught my husband watching his BBC show QI a few times and when I watched one of OI series with him, I have quite became obsessed with the program. It is a show where Stephen Fry and 4 guests have a kind of quiz game. Stephen Fry is the quiz master in this program and they talk about some very interesting topics. This program clearly gives us an idea how clever and witty the guy is…The more I watched the show the more I became interested in him as person….When my husband gave this autobiography to me as a present, it was spot on!Stephen Fry’s writing style is magical. His talent with words is unbelievable. This autobiography consists of the first 20 years of his life and I felt I was one of his classmates through the book. His words were bringing everything into life rather than giving you a feeling that you are reading a very pleasant story…I found myself many times laughing out loud at some of the anecdotes he was telling through school years…I can classify myself as a good reader and can also honestly say that this has not been happened to me for a long time…Autobiographies are my favourite category. However, I can truly say that I have never come across anything like it, very expressive, honest, truthful, witty, entertaining, touching and literary skilled.

  • Emily
    2019-03-24 20:10

    Maybe it's just too British for me, and possibly a bit pleonastic, but most of this book just went right around my head. I wouldn't say over my head because I'm sure I have the capacity to understand what the devil "Cambridge Blue" means and how exactly the British school system is structured, but having very rarely come into contact with it before, I have to say it's just beyond me. Fry's rambling memoir also devolves into long non-chronological rants upon such things as Authors he has Loved (most of which I'd never heard of) and How Music Feels, which, as even he acknowledges, is impossible to put to paper. His anecdotal tales were much more amusing and diverting than much of what else he's filled his memoir with. It's almost an exercise in recollection therapy, in which he attempts to understand the psychological motivations for much of his youthful behavior. I suppose it is important to suss out your reasons why when you've been given every opportunity, proceed to make a muck of things, and emerge to be wildly successful, but he doesn't even get to the success and fame part. He ends things just after having "sat his Cambridge exams" (whatever that means) and going to apply to be a schoolmaster. I am aware that further memoirs have been written, and I am interested to know what happens next, but I am somewhat apprehensive that additional writing by this comedic performer will also not be as jocular as I had hoped when picking up this volume.

  • Eve Kay
    2019-03-13 22:27

    I seem to forget over and over again that people are sometimes very bad at writing their own memoirs. It's 'cause we are so subjective as people. Fry puts himself down alot throughout the book, which isn't wrong - he was a real arse, but it gets very repetitive, obvious and numbing to read at some point. I enjoyed reading about his past and he was very open about everything which is a quality I like in people. His memory is amazing, I don't understand how some people can remember such details from such a young age. Although, I guess if I'd really sit down and start to reminiscense I could conjure up a memory or two I've repressed.That's about it though. I didn't like how his train of thought got caught off constantly and he went into lengthy sidetracks about things that in themselves were interesting but not in a memoir. Like when a house was built or what kind of sideburns someone had. The amount of detail in this book is way too much for a story that doesn't even cover his whole lifetime up until writing. This doesn't take away from the fact that I still like the man, I think he's done some excellent acting roles, I like how he speaks and I've seen a documentary by him on gays and found it very informative and interesting. I just think someone else should have written this for him in order for him to get some distance.

  • Trin
    2019-03-14 23:59

    In which Stephen Fry gives a frank and funny recounting of the first twenty years of his life. Dude’s got balls, man: I could never be this honest about myself or my life. And I’m saying that as someone who has not emerged semi-intact from the truly insane-sounding English public school system. It really is an entirely different world, and Fry makes for a straightforward, yet sensitive, guide. Everything he says about not fitting in just makes me ache, especially his discussion about his inability to sing—and if this were fiction instead of biography, wouldn’t music make the most perfect metaphor? Real life is sometimes so generous with its symbolism.Fry takes full advantage of this fact when appropriate, and he’s a very good storyteller, wonderfully tangential and honest and reflective. A book like this could be considered navel-gazing, and in a very real way it is the story of the author trying to figure himself out, but the narrative voice is so open, the reader can’t help but want to join in the analysis. If you’ve ever thought, even in passing, that you’d enjoy having a nice meal and then getting quite drunk with someone like Stephen Fry, then you’ll enjoy this very much, I should think.

  • Siria
    2019-03-06 20:24

    Meandering, witty, defensive, wildly self-indulgent, honest, conceited and very entertaining, reading Moab is my Washpot is an experience which I must imagine is very akin to sitting down with Stephen Fry and having him talk with and/or at you for a couple of hours about any subject which comes into his head. Fry recounts the first twenty years of his life—his periods at various boarding schools; his struggles with his sexuality; his suicide attempt and his conviction for fraud—with a great deal of candour. There are elements which he is frank about editing, and other aspects which are perhaps unconsciously elided, but Fry is definitely not out to save his blushes in this work. There were times when I found that a little tedious, because he was being so aggressively honest that it would almost make you think that he was trying to hide something, or at the least to convince himself of his own point. That said, still a very enjoyable book, which gives a very amusing insight into the weird and wonderful effects which the English boarding school system can have.

  • Chris
    2019-02-23 23:17

    During a recent bout of post-surgical insomnia I whiled away my middle-of-the-night hours watching episode after episode of QI, hosted by Stephen Fry, on Youtube. Its combination of wit and trivia made the sleeplessness bearable. Eventually, however, I ran out of new episodes to watch and at that point downloaded this first volume of Fry's autobiography, which covers his life from first leaving for boarding school to his acceptance to university. He writes about the difficulties inherent in growing up and his own difficultness, sometimes extreme, during that time period with both candour and discretion, changing the names of some people to save them from potential embarrassment or pain at their inclusion in his reminisces. He is often funny, often moving, and definitely worth reading, although I do suspect he would be even more interesting in conversation. You know that question, "If you could have dinner with any three people, alive or dead, who would they be?" Stephen Fry would be one of the three at my table, and I'd be tempted to tell the other two to be quiet, the better to let him ramble on.

  • Hannah (fullybookedreviews)
    2019-03-19 21:23

    I adore Stephen Fry, ever since I discovered the joy that is QI, and mainlined like 8 seasons in 2 weeks. Ahem. Unfortunately for me, at least, his trademark verbosity is better suited to the audio/visual medium than the written word - while he is very expressive, it can get a little much to try and digest. However, the book still gives great insight into his humungous genius mind, and it was fairly entertaining/shocking to read about his various self-destrutive exploits as a youth and the rather unique nature of his experiences at boarding school.

  • Ruth
    2019-03-12 23:00

    This book wasn't quite what I expected, although I'm not sure exactly what I did expect! It meanders a lot, almost like a Ronnie Corbett armchair sketch - one minute he's telling you about what happened on a certain day during his childhood, and then he starts wandering off, telling you all about his opinions on the subject matter of that day's school lesson, or the way certain people behave. I found it an enjoyable read, and I want to know "what happened next" - the book deals with the first 20 years of his life, and Fry is now 50, so I'm hoping a book of the next 20 will be written soon.

  • Karl Nordenstorm
    2019-03-16 22:08

    Highly entertaining, witty biography. Mostly about childhood and life at boarding school, a charming insight into the England of the 1970s. I would not be surprised if I reread this book in two years.

  • Johan Persson
    2019-02-27 01:13

    Å gud jag älskar Stephen Fry. Älskar hans språk, hans röst, älskar honom som person.