I, Fatty [NOOK Book]

Overview

In this highly acclaimed novel, the author of Permanent Midnight channels fallen early-Hollywood star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. Fatty tells his own story of success, addiction, and a precipitous fall from grace after being framed for a brutal crime-a national media scandal that set the precedent for those so familiar today.
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I, Fatty

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Overview

In this highly acclaimed novel, the author of Permanent Midnight channels fallen early-Hollywood star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. Fatty tells his own story of success, addiction, and a precipitous fall from grace after being framed for a brutal crime-a national media scandal that set the precedent for those so familiar today.
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Editorial Reviews

Carolyn See
What or who brings out the Yuck factor present in all of us? Jerry Stahl, a novelist and memoirist whose entire work is a study in self-hatred and garden-variety hatred, explores these themes with intelligence and compassion.
The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Dedicated as ever to exploring life's dark and deviant sides, Stahl shows his heart in this sad, wild, uproarious faux memoir of silent film star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. Presented as if told to Fatty's butler-who wouldn't dispense his employer's heroin unless he coughed up the dirt-the book hews closely to the undisputed facts of Arbuckle's life. The forerunner of fat man comic actors ranging from Jackie Gleason to Horatio Sands, Arbuckle was most famous for being the center of one of the first celebrity trials: at the height of his film career, he was accused of raping an aspiring actress. The prosecution claimed that he crushed her with his weight during the act and she later died of the resulting internal injuries, while the papers suggested that when his "manly equipment" failed to function he reached for a Coca-Cola bottle. Arbuckle was acquitted at trial-but even the apology issued by the jury did him no good. Stahl's deep dedication to the whacked-out and marginalized helps him inhabit Arbuckle's character sharply and convincingly. Poor, huge, articulate Fatty realizes at one point, "Success and adulation turned out to be just a vacation from the jeers and ire I'd known before." Agent, Chris Calhoun. (July) Forecast: Stahl's near-ventriloquism and immersion in the mystique of Hollywood will remind readers of Joyce Carol Oates's Blonde; silent film fans will relish the period flavor. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Stahl (Permanent Midnight) brings us into the fascinating, nearly forgotten era of silent film through the persona of Fatty Arbuckle, who escaped an impoverished and abusive childhood by joining the vaudeville circuit and eventually became one of the major film stars of that period. Working with Mack Sennett and his Keystone Cops, as well as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, Arbuckle perfected the kind of broad physical comedy appreciated by early movie audiences. Arbuckle was a millionaire in the 1920s, when the budding film industry was awash in drugs and scandal. With the onset of Prohibition and changing morals, he found himself a scapegoat for Hollywood and his career ruined when he was framed for the rape and murder of a starlet. Unfortunately, Stahl's fictionalized memoir technique distances the reader from the immediacy of Arbuckle's life story. Readers have to get past his wise-guy, self-hating tone and cliched period slang, while the narrative's repetition and heavy-handed prefiguring remove any suspense. Still, it's worth the read.-Reba Leiding, James Madison Univ. Libs., Harrisonburg, VA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Poignant story based on the life of silent screen star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. That some readers may feel like donning surgical gloves before picking up a book about Fatty Arbuckle makes one of the author's main points: a miasma of perversion still befouls the great comic's reputation, and Details columnist Stahl (Plainclothes Naked, 2001, etc.) uses fiction to show how it felt to wear Fatty's clothes. Through Arbuckle's bemused, raunchy voice, he draws a sympathetic portrait of a keen, wounded actor in a tale replete with insightful portraits of American vaudeville and silent film. Arbuckle's drunken father heaped physical and verbal abuse on the boy, blaming him for being so large at birth (in 1887, in Kansas) that he destroyed his mother's reproductive organs. At age 8 (weight: 150), Arbuckle quit school and gained success playing the abused fat boy in traveling theatrical stock companies. As a young man desperate for work, he appeared in silent comedies directed by Mack Sennett and eventually became one of the first stars to earn millions, his screen antics making him the artistic peer of Chaplin and Keaton. His personal life was not as successful as his career. To numb physical and psychological traumas, he turned to alcohol and heroin. Then, in 1921, he faced trumped up charges of murdering and raping a starlet with an iced champagne bottle. Fed sensational stories by the Hearst press, the public recoiled from their once-beloved Fatty, striking fear in the hearts [sic] of studio heads, who now deemed him a pariah. Acquitted after three complex trials, neither the man nor the actor ever fully recovered. No doubt the progeny of the Puritans, philistines, and fundamentalists Stahlskewers herein still believe Fatty was guilty. As show business "reporting" grows more sensational and less reliable, Stahl again turns to fiction, creating an illuminating story about actors, studios, and audiences. Agency: Sterling Lord Literistic
Johnny Depp
Finally, the true skinny on Fatty... Jerry Stahl brilliantly gives life, voice, truth and respect to Roscoe Arbuckle. I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!
Nick Tosches
Jerry Stahl has woven a morality tale from which there is no escape.
Chicago Sun-Times
"Fascinating...As channeled through Stahl, Arbuckle's memory is remarkably lucid, and his sense of pre- and post-gallows humor remains wonderfully intact."
New Yorker
"Jerry Stahl...is a better-than-Burroughs virtuoso when it comes to depicting every paranoid high and cold-kicking torment obtainable from the street and the medicine chest...Stahl has earned the blurbs he's picked up along the way from James Ellroy, Hubert Selby, Jr., and Jim Carroll, and has the right to be counted in their skanky, stylish company...A bona-fide novelist."

— Thomas Mallon

Washington Post
"Jerry Stahl gives us a crash course in what the movies were, and are…Stahl explores [I, Fatty's] themes with intelligence and compassion."
Boston Globe
"Astonishing…ingenious. Stahl's a fabulous writer, tunneling deeply into Fatty's mind, creating a richly sympathetic voice that veers from wisecracks to woe, all brilliantly illuminating the humanity behind the clown mask and revealing a man starved for love."
Newsday
"I, Fatty is all voice, and that voice-wisecracking, shrewd, bawdy, self-deprecating, and rueful-is a tour de force."
New Yorker - Thomas Mallon
"Jerry Stahl...is a better-than-Burroughs virtuoso when it comes to depicting every paranoid high and cold-kicking torment obtainable from the street and the medicine chest...Stahl has earned the blurbs he's picked up along the way from James Ellroy, Hubert Selby, Jr., and Jim Carroll, and has the right to be counted in their skanky, stylish company...A bona-fide novelist."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596919129
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 12/5/2008
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 586,629
  • File size: 843 KB

Meet the Author


Jerry Stahl has written for GQ, Village Voice, and Esquire, among others, as well as film and television. He is the author of the acclaimed memoir Permanent Midnight, which was made into a film starring Ben Stiller, and the novels Perv and Plainclothes Naked. He has one daughter and lives in Los Angeles.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

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(4)

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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 9, 2011

    Different fm Stahl's usual - but GREAT

    I could not put this one down!! I really enjoyed Stahl's sake on biography. I, honestly, didn't know who Fatty Arbuckle was. But i was so enthrawled in this i did major research! Really cool

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2004

    I've read everything; and I love this book!

    If you have an appreciation for a by-gone era of when Hollywood was just forming, you will love this book. It tells the tale of Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, but it also depicts what it took to make that town what it is today. You see how Hollywood really attracted only the lowliest of creatures (who were looking for acceptance either on stage or in a bottle) and turned them into stars, only to be used as newspaper fodder. What surprised me the most was the way the author really embodied Fatty and talked exactly the way I would imagine a chuckle-gut like Arbuckle would talk. I really laughed at some of the one-liners he and Keaton used to say to each other. While reading this book you realize that the guys in the silent films had a voice...and this is it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 22, 2011

    Highly Recommend

    I can't really find the words to express how incredible this book is. For anyone who has ever enjoyed Arbuckle's work, or the golden age of cinema in general, read this. Jerry Stahl has written a masterpiece. I was confused on several occasions wondering if I was actually reading Arbuckle's autobiography. Truly great.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 22, 2012

    Funny, sad, insightful, compassionate Roscoe-eye view of the ear

    Funny, sad, insightful, compassionate Roscoe-eye view of the early years of an entertainment industry populated by damaged people. Some annoying anachronisms, but very enjoyable.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2011

    Readable

    I've read most of the books out about Roscoe Arbuckle, and I'm not sure if I agree with the author's take on what happened that fateful day at the St. Francis Hotel. The author writes as if Roscoe is "telling" his personal story and one does feel like one is listening to Arbuckle relate his own tale. It is readable, and those who have an interest in the Arbuckle story will want to check this one out.

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    Posted September 28, 2009

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    Posted January 4, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2011

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