Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “I, Fatty” as Want to Read:
I, Fatty
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

I, Fatty

3.85 of 5 stars 3.85  ·  rating details  ·  778 ratings  ·  100 reviews
In this highly acclaimed novel, the author of Permanent Midnight channels fallen early-Hollywood star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. Fatty tells his own story of success, addiction, and a precipitous fall from grace after being framed for a brutal crime-a national media scandal that set the precedent for those so familiar today.
Paperback, 256 pages
Published July 5th 2005 by Bloomsbury USA (first published July 23rd 2004)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about I, Fatty, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about I, Fatty

Lulu in Hollywood by Louise BrooksThe Parade's Gone By... by Kevin BrownlowClara Bow by David StennHollywood by Kevin BrownlowBuster Keaton Remembered by Eleanor Keaton
Books about Silent Movies
30th out of 141 books — 59 voters
Curious George by H.A. ReyThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonHow Not to Murder Your Grumpy by Carol E. WyerOne Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. SeussWatchmen by Alan Moore
Yellowest Books Ever
130th out of 928 books — 434 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,433)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Dawn (& Ron)
An acerbic, harsh, funny and moving novel of silent comedic actor Roscoe Fatty Arbuckle. I have not read author Jerry Stahl before and was unfamiliar with his penchant for the degenerative dark side of humanity and the humour he can pull from that. This unique caustic wit allowed Stahl to raise Arbuckle up from the dusty past and let his voice finally be heard. Stahl did extensive research, as the bibliography shows, and places Arbuckle back up among the great comic pioneers where he belongs. Bu ...more
Antonia Crane
Stahl does self-hate like nobody else. His somber wit is the perfect mouthpiece for silent film comedian Roscoe “fatty” Arbuckle’s heartbreaking tale. There’ve been many books about Arbuckle’s life, but Stahl’s account is unique because it’s a first person narrative as imagined from Arbuckle’s VOP, which is the most fascinating aspect of his story. Born dirt poor to violently abusive parents, Arbuckle had that self-hate that festers at the heart of abused kids who become adults. Young Arbuckle m ...more
Gav Thorpe
This was recommended to me, and I'm glad it was. I was a little dubious at the start, but perhaps that was more to do with the uncomfortable subject than anything else.

When Stahl gets into his stride the prose flows brilliantly, flavoured with period phrasing and sly humour. The story of Arbuckle's rise to fame, and the portrayal of what it might have been like to live that dream, is fascinating.

Of course, the train wreck that comes later is equally compelling and the cringeworthy inevitabilit
Tracy Sherman
Through a syringe darkly.
There's so little written on Roscoe Arbuckle that I'm grateful for anything, and I find that "fictionalized autobiographies" can sometimes reveal much more than the real thing.
The first part of the book dealing with Roscoe Arbuckle's childhood rings very true, a shy, self-conscious, overweight boy who's mother is preoccupied with her own illness, she died when Roscoe was 12 years old. And a father preoccupied with getting drunk and verbally abusing and beating his son.
Oct 29, 2008 Neal rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of Silent Films, Hollywood Scandal Fans
Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle is one of those celebrities who was once a major star, but is largely forgotten today. His rise and fall from celebrity grace is typical of the build-you-up-only-to-tear-you-down phenomenon in the world of gossip. However, unlike the 24/7 media world of today where every star has a chance to tell his/her side of the story, the more limited arena of newspaper reporting in the 20s and 30s never really gave Arbuckle a voice. This novel contrives a way for the silent film com ...more
If you don’t know who Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was, or just know the name here’s the skinny. [From Wikipedia: The book is a fictionalized autobiography of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, the famous silent film comedian, and probes his early life in vaudeville, his rise to fame in the movies, and his crash into infamy following a false murder accusation (and three trials and eventual acquittal).]

This is a novel is remarkable considering the amazing job that Stahl does in climbing inside the mind of Rosc
Samyuktha jayaprakash
Beautiful book. First fictionalised autobiography I've read. Heartbreaking , sad and funny. I didn't know who fatty was before this but now I've fallen in love with him. Scandals and media killed a career for the first time but not the last. This book has taught me to never judge without knowing all the facts. Loved the way the author has written this book! <3
I thank him for writing this ingenious masterpiece.
Corey Murray
This is a great book. It's a fictional autobiography of the silent film star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, whose immense popularity came to a screeching halt when he was accused of raping and murdering an actress named Virginia Rappe. Fatty was acquitted, but his career never fully recovered.

Everything about this book is colorful. The setting of 1920s Hollywood combined with Fatty's narrative voice make for a great read. A lot of silent film luminaries - Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Mabel Normand
I recognize the sensationalism and problems with this book, but if that makes it a guilty pleasure, so be it. I am fascinated by the celebrity of early Hollywood, and Fatty Arbuckle in particular. I can't quite understand his charm, but Stahl re-imagines him successfully enough that I begin to. It's such n interesting story, so filled with grim and wonderful details, and so relevant to America's relationship with celebrity as a rise and fall kind of mythology. In Fatty's case the stakes were so ...more
Silent film star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle was framed for the murder and rape of actress Virginia Rappe. Violently abused as a child, Arbuckle ran away and became a vaudeville star before he was targeted as the scapegoat in Rappe's murder. The voice is funny, authentic and heartbreaking. Arbuckle continues to wound his body with food, drugs and alcohol the way we know now that adult children of abuse will do. Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin's loyalty as portrayed here reinforce my view of them a ...more
Robert Poor
Good evening, ladles and geraniums.

"I, Fatty," a wonderful fictionalized autobiography of vaudeville and silent movie star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle written by Jerry Stahl covers in depth two fascinating subjects, both told in the glib, amusing voice of Fatty himself.

The first subject that Fatty covers charmingly is his early days in Hollywood, in which silent movie stars adlibbed scripts, characters, pratfalls, chase scenes, love scenes, sight gags, and essentially created on the fly a new visu
Alex Decker
To begin, I am not including this as a part of my star rating, but the editing is awful. There was some sort of punctual error about every other page. Random ] and % were just placed that clearly were not meant to be there. So, if you are buying a copy of this book, I do not recommend the Amazon Kindle version.

Jerry Stahl tackles Fatty Arbuckle's story in this faux autobiography. The concept behind the story is that due to multiple legal issues, Fatty recalls his life story to his live in butle
Obviously, if you read a book by Jerry Stahl about the life of Fatty Arbuckle, it's not going to be good times and great laughs all round, but I suppose I wasn't prepared for just how scathing the narrative would be about the woman whose death brought such disaster to Arbuckle's door.
It's not that the book is unsympathetic to women in general, but I found it surprising that everyone else's drinking, or drug-taking, or other general bad behaviour, is excused (they had a bad life, they lost all th
Mike Smith
This book opens with a Samuel Beckett quote,"There is nothing funnier than unhappiness". This pretty much sets the tone for the rest of the story. Finally , it seems, Fatty gets to tell his side and does so with a lot of humor. Fictional or not, it's a great read.
I'm not sure I heard the voice of Roscoe Arbuckle in this fictionalized autobiography so much as the voice of Jerry Stahl, professional heroin addict, wisecracking his way through the role of another professional addict. And that's a shame.
Jul 30, 2015 Jim rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: bizare
This was a decent take on Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. I knew little about his character less the rehashed Hollywood Babylon accounts of his infamous trial or an occasional reference by a movie trivia officianado or an AMC Film Classic mention. This book captured the decadent era and the prudish prohibition times that followed, a lot of information about the characters I was surprised to find out was true, at least by internet accounts, such as roscoe's responsibility for the brainchild of Chaplin's ...more
Jan 26, 2014 RØB rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Silent Film Fans, People Interested In Show Business
Recommended to RØB by: Karen Czmarko
I can't even imagine the amount of research that went into the creation of this novel. It must have been enormous. It really pays off, though--the book is a splendid and hilarious and insightful read. If you are interested in the early days of Hollywood (like, the 1910s, I mean), or vaudeville, or really show business in general--or even if you aren't--I recommend this novel highly.

One of the fascinating things about the novel is that it brings Arbuckle to life in the first-person, a daring move
I found myself thinking about this book again, even though it has been quite a while since I read it, and I have to say that it really is quite a gem. As an "autobiographical" novel, it is very successful in making Fatty Arbuckle a (well-deserved) sympathetic character while also conveying the spirit and ambiance of the earliest days of Hollywood and the movie business.

Though there's no question that Fatty enjoyed a good time, and all that entails, he was completely innocent of the charges brou
I read this book because I read a very positive review about it by James Franco, the actor in "127 Hours". Since I liked his performance in that movie so much, I thought he must also be an insightful movie critic too! Wrong. This book is interesting in an historical context. As the author explains in the beginning, it is told in the first person by Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle to his manservant in exchange for doses of drugs. It is a fictional biography of this early silent film star from his birth t ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I, Fatty by Jerry Stahl brings some much deserved notice and attention to Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, one of the greatest silent film comics to ever grace the screen.

Stahl has written a fictionalized account of Roscoe's reminiscing over his life, the beginning, the ups and downs and the tremendous fall he took for a crime he didn't commit, and Hollywood turning its back on its once Golden Boy.

Stahl's writing is fresh, funny, tragic and full of appropriate terms and slang for the early 20th centur
Jerry Stahl creates a mock autobiography written by the Silent Film star, 'Fatty' Arbuckle, whose rising and shining start dimmed after he was accused of raping and accidentally murdering an actress. Despite being deemed not guilty after multiple trials, the former star had trouble being accepted by the public after the scandal.

I enjoyed and was hooked on this book from the start. Part of the appeal lies on this book providing a slice of what it was like during the early days of film and how vau
Als je iets over Stahl te lezen krijgt, dan wordt Hubert Selby, Jr. doorgaans ook vermeld. Die laatste was zo’n beetje Stahls mentor en de stilistische en filosofische overeenkomsten tussen hun oevre lijken dan ook gelijklopend. Het leven is een hel en voor het bestaan aan de zelfkant van de maatschappij geldt dat dubbel. En toch, toch is I, Fatty een van de plezantste boeken die ik dit jaar las; een vlot geschreven, grappig, meeslepend werk dat je alleman wil aanraden (bij deze). I, Fatty is de ...more
All I know about Jerry Stahl is this: He was some kind of a junkie and he worked in the entertainment industry. I didn't read Permanent Midnight. I watched the movie.

All I know about Fatty Arbuckle is this: He worked in the entertainment industry and his career went down the toilet because of the scandal caused by the death of a starlet at one of his parties.

This book is disguised as an autobiography of Arbuckle, but I don't know enough about the guy to be sure if anything in the book is true or
Sarah Sammis
I majored in film studies and while I was doing my studies, the silent era was one of my favorite subjects. When, I, Fatty, a novelization of Roscoe Arbuckle's life was offered at a recent BookCrossing meeting I had to snatch up this book. I wasn't sure if I'd like the book, feeling that the teens and twenties might not be depicted in a believable fashion or that the story would be too bogged down with facts and dates to be interesting. The book doesn't suffer from either problem.

The facts are c
Margherita Dolcevita
Dopo aver terminato il romanzo sono andata su Wikipedia a leggermi la biografia, non romanzata stavolta, di Roscoe Arbuckle, perchè, per quanto il libro sia accuratamente documentato (come riporta la bibliografia nelle ultime pagine), volevo capire quanto corrispondesse a verità e perchè volevo colmare le mie lacune, non avendo mai sentito nominare -mea culpa- il suddetto protagonista.
Per quanto ho letto le vicende raccontate sono fedeli alla realtà. E questo rende merito all'autore, perchè non
Nick Escobar
Stahl does does such a fantastic job capturing the essence of a broken man, it sometimes proves difficult to remember that this is a work of fiction. The writing makes you feel as if you get to know the real Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle and the pain his life was. Modern readers will never know the real Fatty Arbuckle but if the real version was anything like Stahl's character then we are lucky to have glimpsed the life of the silent star.
In I, Fatty Stahl took on the challenging task of humanizing a long dead silent film actor who is arguably most known for his role in what was ultimately determined the untrue tale of the rape and murder of an even lesser known silent film actress. The problem I ran into in reading it was that Stahl, voicing Arbuckle, chose to tell the story as a sort of deathbed confession wherein he puts on a tragic comic facade in the telling of his early years which gradually fades as his life and career co ...more
Timothy Juhl
Somewhat of a subgenre, the Hollywood fiction (which seems oxymoronic).

'I, Fatty' is a fictional telling of the tragedy that surrounded comedian Fatty Arbuckle who was accused of raping (and thus participating) in the death of a young woman. At the time, this was beyond scandalous and the details of the rape were played out in the newspapers of the time, and although he was acquitted of all charges, the trial's cost and the damage done to his reputation destroyed Arbuckle's career.

As an amateur
Joseph Naus
it's strange to classify this the way i did, but read it, and you'll understand.

this is definitely my fav jerry stahl book. if you live in los angeles (especially on the east side) or are interested in the history of cinema, you'll like it for that in addition to the interesting story of the rail-roading of this black and white movie star.

« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 47 48 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Hollywood Hellraisers: The Wild Lives and Fast Times of Marlon Brando, Dennis Hopper, Warren Beatty, and Jack Nicholson
  • Silent Stars
  • Clint Eastwood: A Biography
  • The Actor's Guide To Murder (A Jarrod Jarvis Mystery #1)
  • The Parade's Gone By...
  • Vamp: The Rise and Fall of Theda Bara
  • An Improvised Life
  • My Wonderful World of Slapstick
  • John Belushi Is Dead
  • Remake
  • Clara Bow: Runnin' Wild
  • Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood
  • Home is Where the Bark Is
  • American Silent Film
  • The Rolling Stone Interviews
  • Let's All Kill Constance
  • My Word is My Bond
  • Chump Change
Jerry Stahl (born September 28, 1953) is an American novelist and screenwriter, He is best known for the darkly comedic tale of addiction, Permanent Midnight, which was revered by critics and an ever-growing cult of devoted readers, as one of the most compelling, contemporary memoirs. A film adaptation soon followed with Ben Stiller in the lead role, which is widely considered to be Mr. Stiller’s ...more
More about Jerry Stahl...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »