More Fool Me: Stephen Fry

I read this book several months ago, then lent it to a friend and recently came back into possession of it. As you can see, it’s a little worse for wear. I have not read any of Stephen Fry’s other memoirs, but have always been a fan of the man and so decided to read this latest addition to the collection.

More Fool Me covers the beginnings of Fry’s fame in the 1980’s and 90’s, as he chronicles his transition to a star-studded world and the life that came with it. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t read his previous books, the first 60 pages act as a recap of the story so far. Fry particularly highlights his chronic usage of drugs to maintain a demanding lifestyle, whilst also addressing other sensitive issues, such as how the AIDS epidemic of the time impacted him and his friends. I found his writing on such topics sensitive and emotionally revealing. It must have been difficult to re-visit this period of his life, especially as so many must be so nosy as to learn the details of his breakdown.

Fry’s witty character translates well on to paper, with asides in the footnotes creating the sensation of being in conversation with the man. He does not glorify drugs or the lifestyle that he led, but nor does he condemn it. This viewpoint is refreshing, as instead he’s frank and merely deals with the fact of cocaine, trying to help the reader understand the sensations that he went through.

The only negative I found, apart from the slight pomposity to be expected from Fry and the ease in which he got into Cambridge with a previous conviction, is the second half of the book, which is taken from his diaries at the time. I understand why they were included, so as to help the reader understand his frame of mind in the weeks before his breakdown. But, to me it felt a lot like lazy writing. There could have been more explanation. Also it has the effect of making the second half of the book read completely differently.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I took it travelling with me. I just feel that the second half leaves a sour note, as it is more of a chore to read. Maybe a change of order would have remedied this.


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