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I, Fatty

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  921 Ratings  ·  116 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)
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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
Aug 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Carloesse
Sep 21, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle era un attore di comiche del cinema muto che negli anni tra il 1913 e il 1921 era più popolare perfino di Charlie Chaplin (fu infatti il primo attore cinematografico a strappare un contratto da più di un milione di dollari l'anno). La sua carriera fu stroncata improvvisamente da uno scandalo hollywoodiano (il primo della storia) che gli rovinò la restante vita.
Letto diversi anni fa, lo recensisco solo ora perché mi è tornato improvvisamente alla mente dopo la lettura dei
...more
Harold
Dec 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio-autobio
Entertaning fictionalized biography of Arbuckle, supposedly tole in his own words (wink). It kept my interest all the way through.
Neal
Oct 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Tracy Sherman
Jan 08, 2015 rated it liked it
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.
...more
Scott
Aug 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
tim
Sep 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Corey Murray
Apr 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Gav Thorpe
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
S.
May 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Samyuktha jayaprakash
Aug 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Scott
Nov 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I recommend this for everyone, the tragic story of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle as it may have been told from his perspective. It's a sympathetic picture of a tortured entertainer that struggled with a lifetime of ridicule, success, and addiction. Jerry Stahl's writing is phenomenal and believable.
Joseph Naus
Nov 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.

Mike Smith
Feb 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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.
Rebecca
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.
GloriaGloom
Nov 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: americani
"la vita è una battaglia di torte in faccia, dopodiché si muore"
Sadie
Sep 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Picked this book out because of my love for all things having to do with silent film, including the inevitable and tragic scandals that peppered the unfettered early cinema era, such as the Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle murder trial. What I got was an exceptionally amazing literary experience from an author I didn't know existed. Found out Stahl is a former addict which may explain his ability to write the sort of dancing and vibrating sentences that string a reader out and leave him/her gasping for m ...more
Angela
Oct 25, 2017 rated it liked it
one of the greatest comedians of all time. and yet he was crucified by the press of the time. wow what a great read
Harry Collier IV
Jul 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant
Matthew
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great writing. Engaging story. I'd like to sort out the fact and fiction of it, but I guess that's what "historical fiction" should make you want to do.
Guy
Oct 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Robert Poor
Aug 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Alex Decker
Jan 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
...more
Lori
Jun 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Marty
Jul 04, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: ctmh-challenge
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Peter
Stahl, one of a crop of 90s addiction-lit writers (his memoirs were adapted by Ben Stiller, apparently), tried his hand at writing in the voice of Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, one of the greatest stars of the silent film era before he got hounded out of Hollywood over trumped-up rape and murder charges. There are flashes of insight here, but for the most part it's a slog- the sort of thing that Arbuckle (he didn't like being called "Fatty," naturally enough), if he found himself starring in it, woul ...more
Marsha
Jul 07, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Sarah Sammis
Mar 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2006
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
...more
Jim
Jun 02, 2015 rated it liked it
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
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54909
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
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