Actor and bestselling author Fry’s (Stephen Fry in America, 2009, etc.) at times meandering but always charming memoir of “a late adolescence and early manhood crowded with incident.”
In this second installment of the author’s ongoing autobiographical project, the British comedian tells the story of his student years at Cambridge and early professional life at BBC radio and television. After a youth filled with “suicide attempts, tantrums and madness” and a stint in prison for petty theft and fraud, Fry buckled down and demonstrated his ample intellect by winning a scholarship to read English at Queens’ College. He immersed himself in the Cambridge arts scene and joined the prestigious Footlights Club, which had also nurtured the comic talents of Eric Idle and John Cleese. Fry also developed close and enduring friendships with such future luminaries of the stage and screen as Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson. His voice and unrepentantly Wildean wit became signature trademarks, and although he “loved every single thing about acting,” he found even greater success as a writer. While he was still an undergraduate, his comic play Latin! played to sold-out audiences at the 1980 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Five years later, his revised version of the musical Me and My Gal became an award-winning smash hit on Broadway and London’s West End and the vehicle that propelled him from BBC respectability and into stardom. Punctuating the detailed accounts of Fry’s professional triumphs are the funny, at times heartbreaking revelations that truly define him. With humility, he describes his tooth-destroying sugar addiction, financial excesses and the “vulnerability, fear, insecurity, doubt, inadequacy, puzzlement and inability to cope” he hid from others and that would eventually lead him down even more destructive paths than those he had already traveled as a youth.
Confessional humor at its warm and wicked best.