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Charlotte

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Ha Ha Ouch

Overall
4 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 14-08-13

If you could sum up The Fry Chronicles in three words, what would they be?

Bittersweet, Self-Deprecating and Indulgent

What did you like best about this story?

The honesty with which Fry writes, the style of writing which spares no indulgence in building prose, and the performance - like almost every other person of a certain age, I grew up listening to Stephen Fry reading Harry Potter. It got me to sleep most nights, and got me through revision for exams throughout my teens and twenties. I'm probably a bit biased, therefore - a glimpse into the clownishly tragic world of one of my childhood heros seems like a real blessing. I wasn't disappointed in either the way the story was written, delivered, or in the way Fry came across as his own protagonist.

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

For an autobiography I think it really adds something to hear the story read by its writer and subject. There can be no blurring of interpretation or intent - you know you're getting a pure retelling.

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

Yes - it was a bit of a wrench when my train journey came to an end.

Any additional comments?

Even if you're not into Fry as an individual, it's worth a listen for the way it describes university life and getting going in the theatre industry. Anyone who has recently graduated, is entering a similar field, or who can look back on similar experiences of their own will find is fascinating.

Couldn't get on with the reader - a great shame

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
1 out of 5 stars
Story
4 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 14-08-13

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

I'm sure there are better readings and adaptations of this book for audio - the novel is huge, sprawling and endlessly detailed, and requires a storyteller of real talent to bring it to life. The performer reading this version veers between sounding bored or like a grotesque pastiche. Utterly ruins the narrative and made me lose any sympathy or empathy with the characters featured.

What did you like best about this story?

I've read this book and hoped that hearing a reading would add to my understanding. I don't think that it did. What I like about the story is the way that it immerses you completely in what France was like at the time - this reading, however, jolts you out of any such escapism with a lacklustre approach and bizarre delivery.

What didn’t you like about Frederick Davidson’s performance?

The story was just badly told. It sounded bored at points, at others like he was giving a very self serving performance that bordered on pastiche. It was distracting and made me cringe.

Could you see Les Miserables being made into a movie or a TV series? Who would the stars be?

Oh sweetie, there's already been quite a few adaptations of this story. It's been a musical for years.

Any additional comments?

Find another performer to do this story justice. Tempted to ask for my money back.

4 people found this helpful