Book Review: "The Fry Chronicles"
Fry, a notorious wordsmith (in addition to being better-known as a comedic actor and writer), welcomes the reader into his life as an old friend. Reading the book is akin to sitting down in a cozy chair and asking a stranger to tell you all about their life. And what a life! Fry, who is perpetually honest and apologetic, spends most of the tome describing his time at Cambridge and the years following, when he and his friends started to makes names for themselves in the English performing arts world.
The book seems to have been written as much for Fry's sake as for the reader's, but that does not negate its enjoyability. As is expected from an autobiography, there is a sense of "telling all," and few, if any, details, seem to have been left by the wayside. This may be to a fault, as Fry mentions so many names that it seems only the most prolific expert on British culture (or Fry himself, though they may well be the same person) would catch all the references in the book. Fry also has a tendency to find himself diverted from what he had been saying, and often jumps from topic to topic with little warning and only the briefest of segues.
All of this could easily make the book an incredible bore, but there is something special about Fry's way with language. Somehow, he is able to convey a considerable amount of affability through his writing. He talks about his self-loathing, and it seems he expects the reader to dislike him as much as he does himself, but his passion and warm spirit shine through.
To reference another work of British literature, Fry's autobiography is like a friendlier version of Tom Riddle's journal (minus the piece of Voldemort's soul, of course). It transports the reader into Fry's life, and creates a sense of intimate friendship between the writer and reader.
If the purpose of books is to bring readers into another world with another set of people, then Stephen Fry's autobiography is a fantastic portkey, to borrow another "Harry Potter" reference (and indeed, is there a better reference to borrow, as Fry is perhaps best known in America for narrating the books on tape of Rowling's series?).
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