After enjoying the first two instalments of Mr Fry’s biographies, and the dashed naughty cliff hanger he left at the end of the second one, I was eagerly waiting with anticipation and some degree of expectation the next thrilling missive. When it first came out I rushed to Amazon and then headed away again, some stupidly picked price was asked, I’ll leave it on my wish list until it is well into single pounds thank you very much.
Thus Kindle told me it was what I deemed affordable and I downloaded it, fully aware of some of the non-favourable reviews I had read. Many complained that the first 100 pages were a repeated what had been told in the first two, well that is the thing with a continuing series, if your first read is book three then you need telling the snapshot of books 1 and 2, this also helps if it has been some considerable time between reading the volumes, but if you have read them back to back or have an exceedingly good memory, the yes, the stories of expulsion, imprisonment and the anecdote of PoW and Princess Di popping round for tea, are repetitive. And Stephen addresses this rather amusingly himself as he writes, telling the reader to move it to the —> for the new stuff.
So to the ‘new’ stuff. This can be split into three areas. The lecture on the history of, access to and effects of cocaine. This was more tedious than the re-review of past books. Okay so I did learn the origins of the word coca-cola [bet you didn’t know that the leaves of the coca plant contain cocaine, an original ingredient of said drink]. But in truth there was nothing in this section that gave insight into why this drug became a popular habit.
This was followed by an ‘extract’ from Stephen’s diary, it covered a considerable chunk of the book and seemed to be an endless stream of going to voice over recordings, writing scripts/sketches/books, bouts of filming or book signings, with smatterings of premiers and first nights attendances, before cabbing with a group of ‘names’ to some swanky eatery or heading to the Groucho Club to score some charlie, play snooker or perudo [dice game] and generally drink, drink and drink before falling into beddybies at something o clock of the wee hours.
The final section, not more than a reasonable chapter in length, seemed to be more of a musing of how he feels about himself, self loathing and undeserving, how life makes a fool of him.
The read was disappointing, but will not put me off reading the next one [if/when there is one] because it occurred to me as I was waiting for morpheus to take over, that we all have periods in our lives where we just ‘are’. Previous to this Stephen was telling of his childhood and how his life lessons were learnt, his adolescence and forays into adulthood, his educational/talented achievements that produced a target. This book was more about having reached the target, the maintenance and the absolute change in life style. The diary entries were/are how it was, when your skills are in demand and your social circle are at the same level. For many people this is the period of their lives where partners and found and ceremonies cemented before the patter of tiny feet and responsibilities change, Stephen experienced this vicariously because it was his brother and sister and friends who were having those changes.
In all the book was not bad, it was not as expected, but it seemed to have fallen short of its potential. Of course there is also the possibility that the subject means I expected more than there was to give.