Just Read: “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing” by Matthew Perry

Read November

Dammit, Matty, could you be any more honest? I debated reading a copy vs listening to the audio because Matthew Perry narrates it himself and I enjoy his voice. I’m a longtime fan of Friends and was one of the many people watching the series finale the night it aired – I still watch the series on repeat. Perry’s character, Chandler Bing, has always reminded me of my step dad, a funny man who struggled with addiction in the shadowy parts of life up until he died a few years ago; I just knew when this book was announced that it would be an immediate purchase.

What is it about? 

Perry takes a deep dive into his life, a sort of “Where did he come from? Where did he go?” adventure into all the things we probably never knew. He talks about his childhood and his journey pleading with God to make him famous, only to find out fame doesn’t heal the damage he thought it might. We get to see, for Friends fans, almost a season to season play of what was happening in the show and how he successfully, well.. kind of, hid the demons he was fighting when he wasn’t filming. 

Throughout the years I feel like we rarely, if ever, heard about who Perry was spending his time with, who he was obsessing over, and who was saving him from drowning in his addiction and in this memoir he fills in all the blanks. The real focus of the personal narrative is what he calls the “Big Terrible Thing” (addiction) and how he wishes to help others who are suffering – sharing his story might help save a life. He is brutally honest describing the disease and masterfully paints a picture for those who might love someone who is suffering.

What does it have?

  • Friends
  • Addiction
  • Broken Families
  • Names – Tell-All Style

A shrink told Perry, “Reality is an acquired taste.” He repeats this a few times throughout the memoir, it’s a mantra after all, and the words are so powerful. Most things that are good for us – I don’t know, kale – broccoli – ok, I’m clearly just naming cruciferous veggies – are an acquired taste. He gives the reader a taste of what it’s like to suffer from addiction, a cautionary tale to those who need it, and some Chandler Charm (it’s Perry, the comedy is inspired) to be the spoon full of sugar to help the reality go down.

Is it worth reading?

I couldn’t imagine not having read this – for reasons outlined in the beginning – and I think you’d like it, too! If you’re one of the lucky ones to have never seen the disease take over someone you care about or one of the unlucky ones who doesn’t like Friends, well maybe this wouldn’t resonate with you as much as it did with me but… I say, in a Pass/Fail test.. it’s a Pass – worth the read!

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