13 October 2014

More Fool Me

More Fool Me
More Fool Me: A Memoir is the third volume of Stephen Fry's autobiography, after Moab Is My Washpot and The Fry Chronicles. Moab remains one of my favourite books, and Fry is always an engaging, candid, and witty writer, though More Fool Me is surprisingly disappointing.

The Fry Chronicles explored "the C-words that have dominated my life", from college to comedy, though More Fool Me is largely concerned with a single c-word: cocaine. Thus, there are recollections of nights at the Groucho club with Damien Hirst et al., and revelations of snorting coke at the Houses of Parliament. (Unlike Will Self, who took heroin while covering John Major's 1997 election campaign, Fry's drug habit wasn't exposed at the time.) There are moments of banality ("unexpected item in the bagging area again") and condescension ("The chances are that you have not been as lucky with the material things in life as I have"). The anecdotes are juicy, of course, though there is more gossip and less introspection than in previous volumes.

Moab Is My Washpot covered Fry's childhood and adolescence, and The Fry Chronicles dealt with his early adulthood, though More Fool Me spans only six years. It also contains substantially less new material than the previous books, as it begins with a completely un-necessary recap of the events covered in the earlier volumes, "to fill in the newcomers on the subject of La Vie Fryesque", and it ends with a long, verbatim extract from Fry's 1993 diary. The recap and diary seem too much like padding, and they take up half of the book's contents.

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