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Moab Is My Washpot | [Stephen Fry]

Moab Is My Washpot

a) A fatuous, wasted, degenerate and wholly useless existence captured in delicate, lyrical and exquisitely realised prose. b) Lightly amusing anecdotes and tender reminiscences of the great men and women encountered during a rich, varied and rewarding lifetime, fondly remembered in the tranquil evening of a career of public service. c) The autobiography of a dizzying life fuelled by the lust for power and the search for ever more degrading downward paths of repulsive sexual adventuring.
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Publisher's Summary

a) A fatuous, wasted, degenerate and wholly useless existence captured in delicate, lyrical and exquisitely realised prose.

b) Lightly amusing anecdotes and tender reminiscences of the great men and women encountered during a rich, varied and rewarding lifetime, fondly remembered in the tranquil evening of a career of public service.

c) The autobiography of a dizzying life fuelled by the lust for power and the search for ever more degrading downward paths of repulsive sexual adventuring and self-destructive debaucheries: the unrepentant libertine author seeks revenge on his many enemies and tears the lid off the private life of blameless churchmen and librarians.

Fry`s autobiography is all and none of these. Too old to rock and roll, too young to die, the author looks back with bruising frankness at his life so far.

©1997 Stephen Fry (P)1997 Random House Audio

What the Critics Say

"Stephen Fry is one of the great originals. This autobiography of his first twenty years is a pleasure to read, mixing outrageous acts with sensible opinions in bewildering confusion. That so much outward charm, self-awareness and intellect should exist alongside behaviour that threatened to ruin the lives of innocent victims, noble parents and Fry himself, gives the book a tragic grandeur and lifts it to classic status." (Financial Times)

"He writes superbly about his family, about his homosexuality, about the agonies of childhood - some of his bursts of smile take the breath away - his most satisfying and appealing book so far." (Observer)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (112 )
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4.4 (74 )
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4.8 (74 )
5 star
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3 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Steve Metung, Australia 11-24-10
    Steve Metung, Australia 11-24-10 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    39
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    "Genius"

    This man is a wordsmith of the highest degree and totally enjoyable to listen to. Only Stephen Fry could have read his own book and he did it brilliantly.
    One problem - now I listen to other peoples autobiographies they mostly seem shallow and poorly written and have little detail as Frys writings have in spades.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lucy Sydney, Australia 05-30-11
    Lucy Sydney, Australia 05-30-11 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Listen to the Fry Chronicles First / Instead"

    If you're interested in Stephen Fry, start (and perhaps also finish) with the Fry Chronicles instead (Fry's autobiography of the second twenty years of his life). While Fry narrates both autobiographies exquisitely, Moab is My Washpot (of his first twenty years), is less interesting and calls for a good reining in and editing (even more than the Chronicles). The most interesting part, for me, was his account of how thoroughly he was tormented by his inner-devils as a child and adolescent, and how completely he screwed his life up, and then how he took control of his life and made such a success of himself. Parents and teachers take note that Fry leaves no details out of his early sexual experiences, from his more solo adventures to a rather worrying deflowering by an older boy at school. Probably more for die-hard Fry fans.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Helen Brunswick East, Australia 08-16-12
    Helen Brunswick East, Australia 08-16-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Brutal honesty, mature reflection and lots of fun"
    What did you love best about Moab Is My Washpot?

    A jolly good English romp but with enough humour and twists to prevent it being too toff. Although it mostly talks about Fry's education in the British Public School system, his is no conventional itinerary: there is the foreign family background, the gay consciousness and the never ending maverickness which caused some laugh out loud moments.
    He also writes with brutal honesty about adolescent infatuations and shortcomings. Much cringeworthy humour there comes from the reader/listener finding parallels in their own past - whatever their sex and background.
    If you wanted to nit-pick, you could say that Fry, being so very clever with words and style, can't help himself at times and manipulates the reader, stringing out the moment of a revelation with too many incidental diversions or padding out stories to an extent that can sometimes be a little annoying. And sometimes he sounds a bit too pompous in his delivery. But overall, these are very minor complaints and the book is an enjoyable listen from start to finish, especially as you know you are getting the whole story from the horse's mouth, the way he intends it to be heard.
    I found out about this book through listening to the Fry chronicles which I also loved. The two cover quite different biographical ground and are fun in different ways and I recommend them both.


    Any additional comments?

    You can have fun trying to work out what the title means! He doesn't explain it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lesley 06-23-15
    Lesley 06-23-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
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    "Interesting, but very wordy"
    If you could sum up Moab Is My Washpot in three words, what would they be?

    Too much information!


    Would you be willing to try another book from Stephen Fry? Why or why not?

    Yes, absolutely. I've already listened to The Fry Chronicles, which follows this one, and it's better. I'm planning on getting the third, after I've caught up on some other reading.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I did find it rather long-winded, and it dragged a little at times. Nevertheless, I'm glad to have read it.


    Any additional comments?

    Other reviewers have mentioned some explicit scenes and vulgarities. Certainly I wouldn't recommend it for anyone under the age of consent, and in some places there was rather more detail than I was comfortable with - but I expect non-fiction to take me outside my comfort zone from time to time. If you're a Steven Fry fan, and you want to know about his life, you will want to read this. If you don't, you will always be wondering if you missed something important.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    _MULTIFISH_ Auckland, NZ 12-04-14
    _MULTIFISH_ Auckland, NZ 12-04-14
    ratings
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    13
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    "Aural Pleasure"
    Would you listen to Moab Is My Washpot again? Why?

    Yes, yes and thrice yes. I will probably listen more than twice!


    What did you like best about this story?

    The honesty and his life laid bare.


    Which character – as performed by Stephen Fry – was your favorite?

    Himself???


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The end....very sad....


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brodie Mornington, Australia 06-08-14
    Brodie Mornington, Australia 06-08-14 Member Since 2009

    An unashamed Audiophile who has his own studio and business called iZENEARS which brings Australian travel and history to life for locals and visitor's alike.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    181
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    "My one and only Perfect 10"

    In truth this is not everyone's cuppa because you had to have been there to really, and I mean really, 'get it'. I was, albeit before Fry Minor and at a different school but through his recollections and story telling I was reacquainted with senses, events and people I had long forgotten. It is a magical carpet ride, a parallel universe where everything was the same, only the names different (we even had our own Stephen Fry!). Be warned, expletives are therein aplenty but when used in Fry's context, in his delivery, they are an important part of the adjectival pallet. Thank you Stephen for your intellect and courage and supreme sense of humour and contriteness. Long may you continue to scribe.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Ray
    Sandbach, United Kingdom
    10/18/10
    Overall
    "A great man with great weaknesses"

    Fry has used this first autobiography to exorcise cohorts of personal demons while offering short guided tours into the dark labyrinth of a genius mind.
    I found it both fascinating and disturbing, and like another reviewer could hardly bear to put it down.
    Fry writes brilliantly for most of the time. Some of his descriptive passages take on a beauty of their own.

    But prepare to ride along with Fry the fox, Fry the weasel, and Fry the most honest and open human being imaginable. Look as close as you might but there are few signs of the genial and donnish presenter of QI to come.

    He takes the trend in many recent autobiographies of opening the heart to the world a good deal further. He lays his entrails on the table and dissects in excruciating detail with verbal tweezers, sparing us nothing.
    There is a road map of sorts through his school days but prepare for him sometimes to stray off the track, creating turgid pools of quotes, lists and vile rants.

    Understanding his well publicised battle with bi-polarity helps separate the parts written while in pits of despair from those soaring the peaks of creative ecstasy. On difficult days at his word processor I could feel him seeking inspiration in lists and details from treasured publications to fill his daily quota. I could also sense those ecstatic days where genius and supreme command of language and writing flowed effortlessly.

    In this book expect a journey through guilt and self loathing. Expect too, some analysis of his sexuality, short dissertations on male beauty and begin to understand his yearnings to love and be loved.
    Some passages might reasonably be described as essays in trivia in which he takes a subject and reduces it to its basic constituents, biting into it furiously from every direction and worrying it to death.

    All that said, I loved the book and respect the man even more having got to understand him better, this time from the inside.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  • John
    Harrogate, United Kingdom
    8/19/10
    Overall
    "An Honest Account"

    If you like Stephen Fry (and who doesn't) you'll like this auto-biographical account of Stephen's early years. It's an honest tale of childhood and teenage memories and Stephen talks openly about his upbringing and misconducts in a way that you don't expect to hear from such a public figure. And you can't help but respect him the more for it.
    I looked forward to my commute each day simply to hear the next instalment of this clearly narrated book.

    This book is also a tale of how, with enough determination, it is possible to turn your life around.

    Highly Recommended.

    15 of 17 people found this review helpful
  • Mat
    horsham, west sussex, United Kingdom
    10/17/10
    Overall
    "Wonderful."

    I can think of nothing better than listening to this author narrating a book about the events and perils of his early life. Frank, sometimes toe curling, often laugh out loud funny but never dull. Every fan of audiobooks should own this.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  • Chris
    Aylesbury
    9/19/10
    Overall
    "A gripping account of Fry's Adolescence"

    This is one of those books that just has to be read by the author to do it justice. Fry reads this book passionately and emotionally, naturally using the English language to it's best extent. Fry cuts through each sentence in a beautifully poetic way!

    This is a incredibly honest and frank account of Fry's school days. Most memorable parts are his hatred of games (particularly swimming), his ongoing battles over his love of music, his first crush (which consumed him every second of the day), and his petty crimes which culminated in a Jail sentence.

    A word of warning, Stephen's very fragrant use of words and detailed descriptions of his sexual emotions may offend!

    I couldn't stop listening to this book and wish it wasn't all over!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Stefan
    Canada
    2/2/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A good memoir"

    Interesting insight into Fry's early years, from childhood up to his acceptance into Cambridge. Amusing at times, but also prone to getting bogged down at certain points that don't seem particularly noteworthy or life-altering. Excellent delivery/performance, of course.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Suzanne
    Shepperton, United Kingdom
    12/1/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I want to hug Stephen Fry"
    Would you consider the audio edition of Moab Is My Washpot to be better than the print version?

    I enjoy audio versions, especially those read by the author as you can feel the real emotion behind the words. It's always easier to listen to someone than to read and interpret for yourself how they feel.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Moab Is My Washpot?

    The intensity of feeling for 'Mateo'


    Which character – as performed by Stephen Fry – was your favourite?

    Stephen Fry


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes, though my busy life would not allow this so it became my bedtime and overnight stay in hospital listen.


    Any additional comments?

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book despite it being a little angry and dark in places. I have a new found love of Stephen Fry.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Kevin
    Studley, United Kingdom
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "Essential Reading"

    This has to be one of the best audiobooks ever published. The autobiography details the early life of a confused, and later, delinquent young man. It is painfully honest, and read by the author, is both incredibly powerful and amusing. This should be on everyone's listening list - it's what the audiobook was invented for!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Lesley
    Scotland
    6/25/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Enjoyable insight into Fry's early life."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This first volume of a trilogy of memoirs (I suspect there will be more) is definitely the most enjoyable. It gives an insight to Fry's upbringing. Very interesting story of life at English public schools in the '60s and '70s.


    What other book might you compare Moab Is My Washpot to, and why?

    I'd compare 'The Fry Chronicles' as it's very similar in its narrative and rhythm. Moab and Chronicles could have been one volume. His latest attempt at a memoir, 'More Fool Me' is a rushed and lazy piece of drivel.


    What does Stephen Fry bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

    He's excellent at reading out loud and putting over the story. Fry's a passible impressionist to boot which adds to his storytelling.


    If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Moab was a place in Ancient Israel, wasn't it?


    Any additional comments?

    Loved this book. Having been to a Scottish 'public' school at about the same time (all be it not so fancy dan as Stephen's) it was interesting to note the vast differences between the two experiences.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Fiona
    6/19/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Stephen Fry's murky past."

    Stephen Fry always reads wonderfully! His childhood was interesting, his teens surprisingly bad! He did well eventually and his parents' patience was rewarded.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • lancashiresteve
    6/7/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Loved it"

    The story of Stephen Fry's early life, from childhood through to troubled teen ending just before he goes to University. Fry's reading of his own material is always entertaining, I could listen to him read the phone book. He is brutally honest about his own failings and flaws, but always the humour shines through the sadness. The story of a very naughty schoolboy. Highly recommended

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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