To say that an extra dimension is given by Stephen Fry's voice would be an understatement. He confides, entertains, shocks, confesses, delights, enlightens - rather than merely narrates. It makes the price of this book seem far too low.
In the course of telling the part of his story that stretches from Cambridge to the fame and fortune of his later twenties, he shares with us some of the thoughts and inner fears that he says still haunt him. None of this is solemn or toe-curling though. He always brings himself (and us) back from the brink with a throw-away line of such ludicrous self-mockery that, if most react as I did, the loudness of your own laughter comes as quite a shock.
It's also an insider's look at the way comedy changed and grew in the eighties. Nearly all the radio and television heroes of that era are there. You can hear their voices and each is treated with affectionate glee.
It's rare to find a book where every sentence is satisfying, funny or moving. In an audio book this is a special delight.
He says that it cannot be wondered at that his own rather shy hero, Alan Bennett, is so greatly loved. The self-deprecation that emerges in this book reveals the astonishing fact that Stephen Fry too lacks inner self-assurance - in spite of his cultured, funny, 'Renaissance Man' persona. It's as if he can't quite believe the enormous affection with which the nation regards him but it seems likely that this book will increase that affectionate admiration even more.