Book Review: “More Fool Me” – A Memoir by Stephen Fry
I am writing this review with somewhat mixed feelings. I did not enjoy reading this book. Not because it’s badly written, more in a sense that I found most of its contents disappointing.
“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?
Well, 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…
He was, to all intents and purposes, a high-functioning addict. More Fool Me reveals a side to him he has long kept hidden.
What I liked:
Anyone that personally knows the following people: Hugh H Laurie, Rowan Atkinson & John Cleese – and can call them his friends, must be well loved. He even mentioning meeting famous people such as the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the late Princess Di and even an encounter with the late Frank Sinatra… THAT scores a lot of brownie points in my book.
What I disliked:
But one can take only so much. There are pages and pages of names of people that he has met and known throughout his career. The first few pages is cute – after that it just becomes noise!
I am simply appalled, disgusted, shocked about his addiction and the sense that he is bragging about the addiction in these pages even more so!
On p.376 Fry defines a “memoir” as such: an act of literary remembering … to take a form as a dialogue with your former self.” That’s fine, but to subject your readers to such drivel? Is it necessary? No, I think not. The only part I enjoyed of the “Dear Diary” entries, was his wonderfully, creative anagrams that he made of his friends’ names.
He continues:”I flatter myself, vainly perhaps, that I have been having a dialogue with you. You might think this madness. I am delivering a monologue and you are either paying attention or wearily zipping through the paragraphs…”
To this I answer: Monologue – yes. Wearily zipping – yes.
At least he acknowledges that he is still a fool.
Truth be told, we have one thing in common:
Stephen mentions in his book that he is jealous of Hugh Laurie.
Dear Mr Stephen Fry: I am jealous of you. Yes, Mr. Fry, you better believe it – someone is actually jealous of you! Not the sordid stuff off course no, but your success.