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Introduction of the ebook: Moab Is My Washpot

Đánh giá : 3.91 /5 (sao)

Stephen Fry is not making this up! Fry started out as a dishonorable schoolboy inclined to lies, pranks, bringing decaying moles to school as a science exhibit, theft, suicide attempts, the illicit pursuit of candy and lads, a genius for mischief, and a neurotic life of crime that sent him straight to Pucklechurch Prison and Cambridge University, where he vaulted to fame a Stephen Fry is not making this up! Fry started out as a dishonorable schoolboy inclined to lies, pranks, bringing decaying moles to school as a science exhibit, theft, suicide attempts, the illicit pursuit of candy and lads, a genius for mischief, and a neurotic life of crime that sent him straight to Pucklechurch Prison and Cambridge University, where he vaulted to fame along with actress Emma Thompson. He wound up starring as Oscar Wilde in the film Wilde, costarring in A Civil Action, and writing funny, distinguished novels.

This irresistible book, the best-written celebrity memoir of 1999, concentrates on Fry’s first two tumultuous decades, but beware! A Fry sentence can lead anywhere, from a ringing defense of beating schoolchildren to a thoughtful comparison of male and female naughty parts. Fry’s deepest regrets seem to be the elusiveness of a particular boy’s love and the fact that, despite his keen ear for music, Fry’s singing voice can make listeners “claw out their inner ears, electrocute their genitals, put on a Jim Reeves record, throw themselves cackling hysterically onto the path of moving buses… anything, anything to take away the pain.” A chance mention of Fry’s time-travel book about thwarting Hitler, Making History (a finalist for the 1998 Sidewise Award for Best Alternative History), leads to the startling real-life revelation that Fry’s own Jewish uncle may have loaned a young, shivering Hitler the coat off his back.

Fry’s life is full of school and jailhouse blues overcome by jaunty wit, à la Wilde. The title, from Psalm 108:9, refers to King David’s triumph over the Philistines. Fry triumphs similarly, and with more style. –Tim Appelo …more

Review ebook Moab Is My Washpot

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 Hit 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.
…more

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