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Nonfiction Review: Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry

Title: Friends, Lovers, and The Big Terrible Thing
Author: Matthew Perry
Year published: 2022
Category: Adult nonfiction (memoir) 
Pages: 272 pages
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location: (my 2023 Google Reading map)USA (CA, NY), Canada

Summary“Hi, my name is Matthew, although you may know me by another name. My friends call me Matty. And I should be dead.”

So begins the riveting story of acclaimed actor Matthew Perry, taking us along on his journey from childhood ambition to fame to addiction and recovery in the aftermath of a life-threatening health scare. Before the frequent hospital visits and stints in rehab, there was five-year-old Matthew, who traveled from Montreal to Los Angeles, shuffling between his separated parents; fourteen-year-old Matthew, who was a nationally ranked tennis star in Canada; twenty-four-year-old Matthew, who nabbed a coveted role as a lead cast member on the talked-about pilot then called Friends Like Us. . . and so much more.

In an extraordinary story that only he could tell—and in the heartfelt, hilarious, and warmly familiar way only he could tell it—Matthew Perry lays bare the fractured family that raised him (and also left him to his own devices), the desire for recognition that drove him to fame, and the void inside him that could not be filled even by his greatest dreams coming true. But he also details the peace he’s found in sobriety and how he feels about the ubiquity of Friends, sharing stories about his castmates and other stars he met along the way. Frank, self-aware, and with his trademark humor, Perry vividly depicts his lifelong battle with addiction and what fueled it despite seemingly having it all.

Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing is an unforgettable memoir that is both intimate and eye-opening—as well as a hand extended to anyone struggling with sobriety. Unflinchingly honest, moving, and uproariously funny, this is the audiobook fans have been waiting for.

Review: I am very much of the Friends generation and loved the show when it first aired. And I am doing the Nonfiction Reader Challenge which has a memoir/biography category so it totally made sense that I would read this book, right?

Perry holds nothing back in his descriptions of the money he made, the women he dated, and a life devoted to drugs, cigarettes, and alcohol. You might be tempted to say he's preaching, he wants this to be a cautionary tale, but I don't think that's it. He is honest about what he does well: being funny, loving his friends and family, and abusing substances. He is also good at saying what he doesn't do well: staying off drugs and relationships.

I like that he told the good and the bad without excuses or explanations. This is who he is, the good and the bad. And there is a lot of bad activity so avoid this one if you don't want to read about addiction and it's affect on the body and the psyche. And in between there are funny and sweet stories of those who helped and supported him, his friends and family, his friends, and how he views life and God. Not a lot of God, but enough that you know his spirituality really makes a difference in his life.

I am glad I read this memoir especially since I had no idea just how bad it got for Perry and how close to death he was on numerous occasions.

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • Literary Escapes--California
  • Nonfiction--Memoir/Biography
  • Popsugar--First time author; celebrity memoir; set in Hollywood

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