Amy Reads Books

The Fry Chronicles

The Fry Chronicles - Stephen Fry Stephen Fry is probably what many people would describe as a 'national treasure' here in the UK. His status is such, that just his surname and his photo can be featured on the front cover of The Fry Chronicles and people know exactly who he is. If you are unaware of Stephen Fry's work, he is probably presently best known for being one of the most heavily followed users on Twitter in addition to presenting the panel show QI. He has also fronted numerous documentaries, been the audio narrator of the Harry Potter series, appeared in films and shot to fame as a comedian-performing alongside comedy partner Hugh Laurie (now of House fame).So I am not alone in my loving of Fry; and because of this I was really keen to get my hands on The Fry Chronicles, although I only finally picked up a copy a few months ago, some two years after it was published. He has written one other volume of autobiography called Moab is My Washpot, which I wasn't really aware of-so this picks up after he has been released from prison and prepares to enter Cambridge University to study English Literature and goes right up til the genesis of A Bit of Fry & Laurie. I was especially attracted to this book as it covers Fry's time at university and it was really, really interesting. Although I will admit that it didn't quash my regard towards Oxbridge as being places somewhat akin to Hogwarts with their numerous weird rituals & words ('tripos' for exams; 'May Week' being two weeks in June), Fry certainly bought Cambridge alive, especially in terms of the extra-curricular drama activities. It also seemed like Fry was at university with every single other famous person (Emma Thompson, Hugh Laurie, Simon McBurney, Tony Slattery etc.), so it was pretty cool to learn about the early performances of people that can be seen on our television screens. I particularly liked the descriptions of the creation of The Cellar Tapes, the final Footlights showcase that Fry and his cohorts created, which can even be watched on YouTube, and remains funny today. I also really liked reading about the creation of the new version of the musical Me & My Girl, for which Fry updated the book; although that could be due to my total love of musical theatre. The evocation of the 1980s was also really interesting.In terms of writing style, Fry writes in a way that you can imagine him speaking-it feels like you're having a conversation with him. He is incredibly honest about how he views himself, and the mistakes that he feels he made when he was young; it is in somehow quite refreshing to hear someone in the public eye be so painfully honest. There were times when I did literally want to say that it was okay; that I'm pretty sure if many people had lots of money they would buy nice cars and houses. The Telegraph's review quoted on the back of the book said that you would want to give the book a hug when you were done, and I certainly did. The Fry Chronicles is an incredibly honest look at one of our best-known public figures; and I'm eagerly awaiting the next installment.