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Moab Is My Washpot

(Memoir #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  19,220 ratings  ·  902 reviews
A number one bestseller in Britain, Stephen Fry's astonishingly frank, funny, wise memoir is the book that his fans everywhere have been waiting for. Since his PBS television debut in the Blackadder series, the American profile of this multitalented writer, actor and comedian has grown steadily, especially in the wake of his title role in the film Wilde, which earned him a ...more
Paperback, 366 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Soho Press (first published 1997)
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3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  19,220 ratings  ·  902 reviews


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Trevor
Sep 27, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature, biography
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
Lindz
Oct 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: EVERYONE
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
...more
Manuel Antão
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.


Dear me at 15: "Moab is My Washpot" by Stephen Fry


Dear me at 15,

1. The girl you've been obsessing over is a trollop - move on;
2. Pull your trousers up;
3. Don't shave your hair to a number 1, it makes you look ill;
4. Trade your PC in for a mac;
5. Read High Fidelity, Norwegian Wood and On the Road;
6. There is music outside of guitars;
7. Your mum's alright really;
8. Don't worry, you are right, the world is crazy;
9. Relax, women are basica
...more
Emily May
Dec 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Tony Johnston
Sep 12, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
...more
Paul E. Morph
As you'd expect from Mr. Fry, this memoir is well-written, witty, charming and brutally honest. Recommended to anyone who is a fan of his work.
Briar Rose
Jan 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir, audiobooks, humour
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
Donna
Jan 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Rory
Dec 01, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Nick Davies
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Really very intelligently and frankly written, and with such delightful playful use of language, this was in most ways a very enjoyable read. As it concerned the first twenty years of Fry's life too, it did focus on the period in autobiographies which I often most appreciate - there is often a pleasure in reading about famous folks' childhoods which lessens when they get on to talking about their professional/adult lives and it gets a bit name-droppy. The chosen chronology of this book prevented ...more
Ruchita
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
...more
Sandi
Sep 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Joey Woolfardis
[Quick and short review before I re-read and re-review at a later date:

Ahh Frymo how I do indeed love you, though I should probably not call you Frymo. In any case, his biographies are some of the best out there. There's a lot to tell, because he was a wee little shit back in the day and it's important to know this because look where he is now. I feel this might have been, like his other one, full of tangents but that's half the fun, yes?]
Lachlan Smith
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Heather
Apr 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2012
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
Kapunkt
Jan 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2015-read
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
...more
Eve Kay
Oct 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: gayness
I seem to forget over and over again that people are sometimes very bad at writing their own memoirs. It's 'cause we are so subjective as people. Fry puts himself down alot throughout the book, which isn't wrong - he was a real arse, but it gets very repetitive, obvious and numbing to read at some point.
I enjoyed reading about his past and he was very open about everything which is a quality I like in people. His memory is amazing, I don't understand how some people can remember such details fr
...more
Hannah (fullybookedreviews)
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
...more
Kevin
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Deanne
May 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biographies
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.
Stef Smulders
Did not come very far. Funny at times but way too digressive. Over 400 pages of autobiography about ten years of your life? Come on! One should read it fast, skipping over the pages, which I can only manage in my native language, Dutch, but there is no translation...
Ulysses Dietz
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Helen (Helena/Nell)
Nov 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Billy
Jan 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Anna
I always liked Stephen Fry. After ”Moab is my washpot” I like him even more.
I like the way he talks about himself. The way he stands for what, and how, he is. The way he talks about his love for words and hate for games. His matter of fact way of talking about being gay, and what I am not likely to forget for a long while - how it was when he fell in love for the first time.

The picture that emerges, is of a boy who realized, that he is smart enough to be able to get out of any situation without
...more
Emily
Jul 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
...more
Jody
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
I'll preface this with, as many other less-than-enthusiastic reviews of this book have done, by saying that I love Stephen Fry. I adored him in Blackadder. He is easily one of my favourite audiobook narrators. I found his book Mythos: A Retelling of the Myths of Ancient Greece to be brilliantly entertaining. This memoir however, was, on the whole, almost excruciatingly dull. Memoirs are obviously by nature self-indulgent, but this seemed almost comically so. He seemed to oscillate between false ...more
Na
Aug 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Trin
Apr 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Chris
Sep 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-on-kobo
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
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5,478 followers
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

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