This particular volume of Stephen Fry’s autobiography deals with his school years, from pre-school, public school [which is actually private], sixth form and the sitting of the Cambridge Entrance Exam taking a mild deviation into his criminal experiences and time served at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.
For any child these are formative years but for Stephen we read of his anomalous beginning into thievery and deception, the dalliances of penile pleasure and puberty, his deflowering by an elder boy, his thoughts and experience of the female fucking.
Known as he is now for his bi-polar the reader can perhaps see the early signs leading up to his first suicide attempt. Was his school behaviour a sign for help or that of a very intelligent learner who was unchallenged by his teachers, or was he experiencing the early sides of being the mis-fit.
The book is quite wordy, but not with words one has to dive into a dictionary for, the gist and context help the reader get the best of what he is saying. As in person he has a mild tendency to veer off topic but does always skilfully bring it back. I easily heard his voice reading to me as I turned the pages.
Even though it took me a while to go through this meaty paperback, it was a good read. Informative of the school system and all its hang ups, traditions, language and faults, as well as informative of the man we know and respect.