I do feel that the first person narrative gave an illusion of veracity that was totally unjustified.
Suec I agree, but the first person narrative was the one device that kept the book interesting, as long as I could tell myself it was fiction. I found all of Stahl's other devices a little too transparent. Most of the women were versions of Roscoe’s mother and most of men, versions of his father. And, of course Roscoe strives his whole career to for the love approval of the one person incapable of giving it… a bit simplistic for my taste.
I don’t know if anyone has talked about Stahl’s own memoir, Permanent Midnight, but in it he recounts being a successful television writer while in the throws of heroin addiction. He portrays everyone that was a part of the Hollywood machine as horribly callous—even after they discovered his secret they didn’t help because they didn’t want to get in the way of a runaway hit. No surprise, the train eventually wrecked at great personal cost. I think he tried to weave some of these personal experiences in I Fatty, but the fit wasn’t quite as accommodating.
The tales of early Hollywood were quite fun to read.