I like to think I mostly get British humo(u)r. I can quote more than just Monty Python Holy Grail. I’m aware the Hugh Laurie is more than Gregory House, M.D. and one half of the British national treasure that is “A Bit of Fry and Laurie”.
But… I did not get this on. I had two main road blocks preventing me from liking this one. One, the sudden surprise Equus. (Of course, if there ever a time when you can be prepared for sudden surprise Equus? Like, I don’t know how to tell myself, “okay, mind, we are now going to experience art involving man/horse love. Buckle up. Don’t think about the My Little Pony theme song and certainly don’t get it stuck in your head at inopportune moments.”)
The second road black came in the first few pages into the story, where the reader is introduced to a lot of the main character’s philosophies. And I totally get that the main character is an unsympathetic oaf. But don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining. Don’t make blanket statements about women and how they only like sex for the leverage it brings them. Don’t claim this is a biological fact. (Especially since these are some thoughts the writer himself has thrown out on occasion.). Again, I get that the main character is suppose to be unlikeable and an expert on nothing. But at the end of the book, he becomes the speaker of truth, tying up the plot in a nice, neat bow of truthiness. Which kind of makes everything he said before taken on a false air of validation and legitimacy.
Fry himself caused a kerfuffle a few years ago, trotting out this old gender cliche, and was called on the carpet for it. He did later apologize. His apology, much like the rest of his book here, manages to be just charming and endearing enough that I’m slightly placated (although I’m not completely convinced it wasn’t the world’s most eloquently worded fauxpology ever). But, much like every single other member of my gender, I have a biological imperative to forgive, but not forget.
Wait. That’s elephants.