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Moab Is My Washpot (Memoir #1)

4.01 of 5 stars 4.01  ·  rating details  ·  13,664 ratings  ·  714 reviews
Librarian's Note: This is an alternative cover for the - ISBN13 9780099457046

Stephen Fry is not making this up! Fry started out as a dishonorable schoolboy inclined to lies, pranks, bringing decaying moles to school as a science exhibit, theft, suicide attempts, the illicit pursuit of candy and lads, a genius for mischief, and a neurotic life of crime that sent him straigh
Paperback, 436 pages
Published 2011 by Arrow books (first published 1997)
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In Foucault’s The History of Sexuality there is a chapter where (and I’m simplifying and summarising, possibly far too much) he compares Eastern and Western ways of sex. Basically in the East people are ‘initiated’ into sex – they are taught sex as one might be taught to dance. No one is expected to just know – it is something you need to learn. In the West we don’t bother with that sort of thing. What we do is turn sex into a science. We feel the need to talk endlessly about sex – Kinsy and Hit ...more
I am not English
I am not Jewish
I am not Gay
I am not Male
I did not go through an English public school system or prison.

I understood and related to every single beautiful syllable of this beautiful, beautiful memoir.

Stephen Fry's first autobiography was an absolute pleasure from start to finish. He is a true master of words. This 'celebrity tell all' is heavy and pungent with words. Nice sweaty words filled with flavour and colour.

I loved the large rants, tangents, separated by these wonderful
Tony Johnston
I would find it tough to fully explain why I dislike this book because to do so would require a long essay and frankly, it doesn't deserve that.

In summary, I am very disappointed. Like a lot of people, I had got used to Stephen Fry the "national treasure" and I looked forward to understanding and appreciating a little more of this enigma. The man with millions of Twitter followers.

The problem is, I ended up wishing I hadn't bothered.

On the one hand I found myself disliking the author in a way
Emily May
Look, it's no secret to anyone who knows me in the slightest: I love this man. He is my inspiration and my hero, I love his attitude to life, his sense of humour and unflinching ability to stand up and speak out for what he believes in.

He here tells a brutally honest account of his growing up and how he first came to realise that he was gay. He takes the reader through his days in a boarding school where he struggled to fit in and constantly rebelled against, without knowing quite why. He tells
Briar Rose
Reading this book was much like listening to an interesting but self-important guest at a dinner party, who buttonholes you at the hors d'oeuvres and talks to you all night on a wide range of subjects. It's funny and endearing when Fry actually tells stories from his childhood, but he frequently goes off on tangents, which mostly involve long opinionated rants about random subjects, which add nothing to the story. For someone who is such a navel-gazer, he also seems strangely to lack self-awaren ...more
Sometimes I like to daydream about who I would invite to my ideal dinner party, and Stephen Fry is always at the top of my list. He's funny, erudite, active, and kind. Basically he's my idea of a perfect man, and of course, he's gay as a Christmas tree. Ah well, you can't get everything in life, and I would settle for a conversation with him.

After hearing Fry read this book, his own autobiography covering the first 20 years or so of his life, I feel like I've had that conversation. I feel like I
Dec 22, 2008 Rory rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of his
Shelves: memoirs-and-bios
There's no denying that Stephen Fry is absurdly smart, and veddy, veddy funny. I've adored him since he was Jeeves to Hugh Laurie's Wooster. He could annotate a shopping list from 1986 and I'd be enthralled. Of course, his early life was full of much more interesting things--private English schools in the 1970s (a couple of which he was asked to leave), a suicide attempt, early explorations of his homosexuality, earnest struggles to find just where his genius might lie.

I was a tiny bit anguishe
How can you not love a man, that in the middle of why he kept his crooked nose veers off to discourse on how the monarchy is the crooked nose of Great Britain. Brilliant stuff!

Stephen has such a command of language and the written word that I felt his pains and triumphs. He agonizes over his lack of musical ability yet in the next breath he's soaring with his first tale of love. His love of words. His toys as he calls them. Strengthening my own love of language.

Unlike others, I knew a few things
Whatever your expectations for this book, it will outstrip them. No, that's an understatement. It will take those expectations, multiply them with a factor of 10 or so, take you through 60s England, through the land of schoolboy mischief and lies and heartbreak, show you kindness and compassion along the way, go off on tangents about music and madness and philosophy,and leave you with mad props and respect and love for one Mr. Fry.

For that is the heart of it, of this book and of the writing and
Lachlan Smith
Can you imagine being sent to a boarding school 200 miles from where you lived? Well, Stephen Fry doesn’t have to.

Fry’s autobiography, intriguingly entitled Moab is my Washpot, tells of how he managed to live through beatings, expulsion, imprisonment, probation and suicide attempts – all before he was eighteen! He states in the novel that he promised himself he would never write an autobiography unless he was honest throughout and did not try to make himself out as the good guy. Well, he certain
I love Stephen Fry. No matter what one may think of him (and I personally think he's brilliant), the man's command of the English language is wonderful, and he uses it to his full advantage in this memoir of his childhood years. The book is made up of a few large chapters detailing various periods in his early life (his move across schools, the realisation of his sexuality, his first love, his arrest/incarceration) and ends with his acceptance into Cambridge. This book reminded me an awful lot o ...more
In which Stephen Fry gives a frank and funny recounting of the first twenty years of his life. Dude’s got balls, man: I could never be this honest about myself or my life. And I’m saying that as someone who has not emerged semi-intact from the truly insane-sounding English public school system. It really is an entirely different world, and Fry makes for a straightforward, yet sensitive, guide. Everything he says about not fitting in just makes me ache, especially his discussion about his inabili ...more
Lookit, I'll call it quits around page 300. A big disappointment from a man that I hold a passionate and undying love for. It just never caught me as it was a dry and uneventful retelling of what might be called a remarkable youth. I think it is proof that Fry's spirit is best shown by his actual presence and voice rather than words on a page. Really he is to be experienced rather than studied.
Stephen Fry, despite his imperturbable demeanor as Wodehouse's Jeeves and his jovial, I've-got-all-the-answers persona on Q.I., really doesn't have it all sorted out like you'd expect him to. This has had dramatic consequences for his personal life since childhood (read the book and you'll know what I mean) but makes for a fascinating autobiography. Funny thing is (and yes, the book really is quite funny), you can hear Fry's voice, that mellifluous, British lilt, narrating it, but the events tha ...more
This book wasn't quite what I expected, although I'm not sure exactly what I did expect! It meanders a lot, almost like a Ronnie Corbett armchair sketch - one minute he's telling you about what happened on a certain day during his childhood, and then he starts wandering off, telling you all about his opinions on the subject matter of that day's school lesson, or the way certain people behave. I found it an enjoyable read, and I want to know "what happened next" - the book deals with the first 20 ...more
Ulysses Dietz
Moab is my Washpot

By Stephen Fry

Five stars

The basic reaction I had as I finished Stephen Fry’s autobiographical “Moab is my Washpot” was: Would Stephen Fry like me?

I’m not usually quite this narcissistic, but I couldn’t help but feel that Fry was someone I wished I knew, someone quite remarkable, and yet palpably flawed and human in ways that provoked forgiveness.

Against all better judgment, I rather fell in love with him.

This should be honestly described as a partial-autobiography, since it on
To Myself: Not To Be Read Until I Am Twenty-Five
I know what you will think when you read this. You will be embarrassed. You will scoff and sneer. Well I tell you now that everything I feel now, everything I am now is truer and better than anything I shall ever be.Ever. This is me now, the real me. Every day that I grow away from the me that is writing this now is a betrayal and a defeat. I expect that you will screw this up into a ball with sophisticated disgust, or at best with tolerant amuseme
Maybe it's just too British for me, and possibly a bit pleonastic, but most of this book just went right around my head. I wouldn't say over my head because I'm sure I have the capacity to understand what the devil "Cambridge Blue" means and how exactly the British school system is structured, but having very rarely come into contact with it before, I have to say it's just beyond me.
Fry's rambling memoir also devolves into long non-chronological rants upon such things as Authors he has Loved (m
During a recent bout of post-surgical insomnia I whiled away my middle-of-the-night hours watching episode after episode of QI, hosted by Stephen Fry, on Youtube. Its combination of wit and trivia made the sleeplessness bearable. Eventually, however, I ran out of new episodes to watch and at that point downloaded this first volume of Fry's autobiography, which covers his life from first leaving for boarding school to his acceptance to university. He writes about the difficulties inherent in grow ...more
I loved reading every page of it…

I received this book as one of my Christmas present from my husband. He used to mention him to me now and again. I have caught my husband watching his BBC show QI a few times and when I watched one of OI series with him, I have quite became obsessed with the program. It is a show where Stephen Fry and 4 guests have a kind of quiz game. Stephen Fry is the quiz master in this program and they talk about some very interesting topics. This program clearly gives us an
Helen (Helena/Nell)
Fry has so much charisma, even on the page, that one preserves a certain reticence. He oozes charm, and therefore the natural response is to turn put an anti-charm cloak. Even so, he got me.

For a start, he's so intensely readable, so easy to read that there's pleasure just in that. And then for me -- well he's my decade, a couple of years younger than me -- and so many of his references were my references, his life is my life.

I even know a bit about the sort of background he thrived in, the who
Stephen Fry is a once-in-a-generation intellectual talent that, thank god, dedicated his life to show business rather than government, business, or the academy. Perhaps owing to the TV show Bones (which I have not seen), you're maybe a little more likely to have heard of him in America than a few years ago; you probably have heard of his long-time comedic partner Hugh Laurie, now better known as Gregory House, MD. My first encounter with Stephen was unwitting on my part - turns out he had writte ...more
Meandering, witty, defensive, wildly self-indulgent, honest, conceited and very entertaining, reading Moab is my Washpot is an experience which I must imagine is very akin to sitting down with Stephen Fry and having him talk with and/or at you for a couple of hours about any subject which comes into his head. Fry recounts the first twenty years of his life—his periods at various boarding schools; his struggles with his sexuality; his suicide attempt and his conviction for fraud—with a great deal ...more
I adore Stephen Fry, ever since I discovered the joy that is QI, and mainlined like 8 seasons in 2 weeks. Ahem. Unfortunately for me, at least, his trademark verbosity is better suited to the audio/visual medium than the written word - while he is very expressive, it can get a little much to try and digest.

However, the book still gives great insight into his humungous genius mind, and it was fairly entertaining/shocking to read about his various self-destrutive exploits as a youth and the rathe
Susan N
One of the bravest books I've ever encountered - I actually listened to Stephen Fry reading it on a talking book recording. And what a marvellous reader he is. He is unflinching in his self-excoriation, revealing the shameful, selfish, cheating, utterly dishonourable and dislikable episodes of his young life and yet, somehow we feel for this lost and lonely, immensely clever and totally unreliable boy, weep with his shame and roar with laughter at his bizarre antics. The story is punctuated with ...more
I like Stephen Fry, but this was tedious. He uses a lot of words, but he doesn't have much to say. And he knows it. In the introduction of his second book, he writes:

"If a thing can be said in ten words, I may be relied upon to take a hundred to say it. I ought to apologize for that. I ought to go back and prune, pare and extirpate excess growth, but I will not. I like words - strike that, I LOVE words - and while I am fond of the condensed and economical use of them in poetry, in song lyrics, i
Janne Varvára
I've been a fan of Stephen Fry for years, in awe of his enormous brain, his humor and his dedication to helping others. I'm also an absolutely fanatic QI watcher, and in my autism I watch it over and over and over instead of finding anything new. It's my favorite show.

Therefore, I thought I'd try this, the first installment of his autobiography (I also happened to know beforehand that he has a very autobiographable life), which details his childhood and teens.

First of all, it's a very different
An insight into Stephen Fry's childhood, enjoyed his comments on himself as a teenager. Not an easy childhood, but not because of his parents or family but seemingly because of things he did, you'll just have to read it.
Mark Speed
This was a gift, and it took me a few years to get round to reading it.

I've always been a fan of Stephen Fry, having seen him and Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson and Tony Slattery at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1980. What I particularly enjoyed about this biography was his complete frankness and honesty. He's perfectly happy talking about his sexual tendencies, and his kleptomania. I think it's the latter that is the braver admission. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that it was a product of his
I enjoyed this book. Well, most of it. Fry pours out his heart, quite literally in places, giving the impression that most of the book was written in a rush, without much forethought. Of course that might have been the intention. Funny in parts, as you would expect. Illuminating in others - I had not known about his early compulsion to steal. Pretentious too, of course. Intensely egotistical, despite his protestations to the contrary. If you like Stephen Fry, and you enjoy his humour, you will f ...more
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The Backlot Gay B...: Moab is my Washpot by Stephen Fry 1 6 Feb 15, 2015 02:29PM  
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Stephen John Fry is an English comedian, writer, actor, humourist, novelist, poet, columnist, filmmaker, television personality and technophile. As one half of the Fry and Laurie double act with his comedy partner, Hugh Laurie, he has appeared in A Bit of Fry and Laurie and Jeeves and Wooster. He is also famous for his roles in Blackadder and Wilde, and as the host of QI. In addition to writing fo ...more
More about Stephen Fry...

Other Books in the Series

Memoir (3 books)
  • The Fry Chronicles
  • More Fool Me
The Fry Chronicles The Liar Making History The Hippopotamus Stephen Fry in America

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“It's not all bad. Heightened self-consciousness, apartness, an inability to join in, physical shame and self-loathing—they are not all bad. Those devils have been my angels. Without them I would never have disappeared into language, literature, the mind, laughter and all the mad intensities that made and unmade me.” 1186 likes
“Choking with dry tears and raging, raging, raging at the absolute indifference of nature and the world to the death of love, the death of hope and the death of beauty, I remember sitting on the end of my bed, collecting these pills and capsules together and wondering why, why when I felt I had so much to offer, so much love, such outpourings of love and energy to spend on the world, I was incapable of being offered love, giving it or summoning the energy with which I knew I could transform myself and everything around me.” 446 likes
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