Ellan Read

sometimes witty book reviews

Moab is My Washpot

There are three things wrong with this 1997 Stephen Fry autobiography: two crude and not very clever jokes and one absent explanation as to why Fry has called this demi-biography ‘Moab is my Washpot.

The untasteful jokes cannot be accounted for. But the title can for those who know Psalm 60 (I don’t). Apparently the wash basin and Moab referred to are the ‘Moab is my washpot and over Edom will I cast my shoe’ ones. (Still clear as mud, but what a wonderful piece of mud.)

The rest of it: a fantastic read.

The first twenty lying, thieving years of Fry’s life are laid out in three parts. Besides these three divisions, the text rambles on out of Fry’s jupiter-sized brain in a wonderfully cohesive manner without pause. There are words and places and names and nouns that will require some wiki-work but all in all I found it best to just let the voice of BBC Jeeves wash over me.

There is much in here that is hard to believe given Fry’s status now (and at the time of publication) as a UK and Comedy icon. I doubt that any institution today could turn out such a smart-mouthed cad as the 18 year old Fry. Frankly, would we want any other smart-mouthed cad ‘spray[ing] the world with words?’

Great for long-haul travel and/or a scrumptious afternoon and early evening on the couch – cup of tea at the ready.

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This entry was posted on June 18, 2015 by in Non-Fiction and tagged , , , .

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