Saturday, 19 March 2011

Stephen Fry's The Fry Chronicles

Fry: A MemoirThrough ways and means that I shall not go into too much detail here, I found an electronic copy of Stephen Fry's The Fry Chronicles: An Autobiography. I don't know what took me so long to finally get around to looking for it, but I did. I couldn't find the PDF version, but I found the ePub version which, thankfully, there was a Firefox extension for reading the format without having to actually own a portable reading device. Yay.

I also like the extension I found (EPUBReader) - I get to bookmark my reading progress so that I don't have to guess where I left off. The only main drawback is reading an entire book on the computer screen, which some people might find tiring. The only other thing I liked about the extension is that you can click on embedded links in the text (which in this case was YouTube video links) for better understanding of the narrative.

If you don't know who Stephen Fry is, go look on Wikipedia before you carry on reading. Go on. Then come back.

The Fry Chronicles picks up where the first instalment (Moab is My Washpot) left off - life after his incarceration, his Cambridge years, meeting his best friend Hugh (Laurie - of House fame), his post-university showbiz career, etc until his 30th birthday. Every chapter title starts with the letter "C" for some reason, but it's his autobiography and the man can damn well write however he wants.

I was excited when Mr Fry announced on Twitter that he was finally getting round to writing this book but it meant that he was going to have to leave the social networking awhile to do it. Fine. I loved Moab and I hoped that the sequel would be about as good if not better. And who didn't want to read about Hugh Laurie, am I right?

Found myself plodding through a lot of it as, not being English even in the slightest, I can't put a face to half the names he dropped in this book. While the embedded YouTube links in the ePub version helped some, but not by much as I've already seen some of them in the past. It's also a little longwinded in the Shakespearean sense, for which I recommend the power of text-skimming if you have it.

It was fun reading anecdotes and seeing younger photos of people like Hugh Laurie, Rowan Atkinson, Emma Thompson and Ben Elton.

To summarise: I thought it was alright, but I liked Moab more. I wouldn't recommend reading The Fry Chronicles if you've not read Moab before; if you're a fan of Mr Fry, you have to give this a go. Because this book ended on him celebrating his 30th birthday and he's now in his fifties, it'll be awhile before a third instalment gets published.