I just watched Stephen Fry's Proud2be gay video on YouTube and I was reminded of how much I adore this man.
And so, I thought I would share with you my book review of his autobiography.
Before reviewing an autobiography, we have to ask ourselves as readers why we seek them in the first place.
It is not only to get a timeline of a person’s life, or the
particular events that occurred and what came out of them. If that’s all
we wanted, we would Google the person in question and read their
No, no, no — dates and events are not why we read autobiographies.
We read them because we want to hear the person’s inner dialogue. We
want to know who they are, how they think, what motivates and moves
them. We want something more intimate than just the story of their life,
we want to know how they feel about themselves and their story.
And this is exactly what Fry delivers. We already knew he was smart,
witty and funny, but he allows us to see a deeper, more vulnerable part
of the public figure that he has become.
I want to write an open letter to Mr Fry and say something like this:
Dear Mr Fry,
I am writing to say I love you the way you love Oscar Wilde. Not
for your image of fame, but for the things you say and how they resonate
inside of me. If I could speak with you openly, I would ask why your
autobiography is plagued with apologies. Your forewarning to this regard
does not satisfy my curiosity. Imagine a world in which Wilde had not
assumed his genius — where would we all be without his daring and
In many ways, you are to me an incarnation of Oscar, minus the Wildeness.
Would you have tea with me and talk about butterflies, planes and
the colour yellow so that from our small talk, I can gather the bigger
I doubt he’ll ever read this, but it gives you an idea of the impression his book gave me. He is generous, and yet, I want more.
The kind of “more” I’m talking about cannot come in the form of a
book: it has to be in genuine contact. So that I may feel for myself the
soul of a man whose mind is so smart, self-critical (if not cruel) and