This post contains affiliate links. I am a HUGE Friends fan. I used to teach one night a week, and I made sure never to schedule that class on Thursdays because I didn’t want to miss Friends. So, when I learned about Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry, I knew I had to read it. I was on the library waitlist for the book when some of the spoilers from the book came out. Those spoilers soured me on the book, but I hoped it would be otherwise fine. It wasn’t. This is a trainwreck of a book.
About Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry
Matthew Perry began drinking when he was 14. He loved the feel and was soon drinking regularly. He undoubtedly had a chaotic childhood, which he delves into in the book. However, it’s not long before he’s doing drugs at insane amounts. Seriously, numerous times in the book I wondered how he managed to live this long.
In his 20s, Perry was handpicked for the role of Chandler Bing on Friends. He thought being famous would make his life perfect, but he soon discovered that was not the case. Perry shares many stories of how his addiction affected him on various sets, but on Friends the other actors protected him and helped him through when he was hungover.
The book follows Perry to the present day at age 52.
My Thoughts about the Book
My favorite parts were when he talked about being on the Friends set, but that was only a tiny portion of the book. Mainly, he wrote about hitting rock bottom, going to rehab, occasionally staying clean for a while, and then slipping back into drugs and repeating the cycle.
Then, there’s the other cycle–sleeping with women, sometimes having a relationship, and then running away when it looks like the relationship might work out. Oh, and then he writes about how he is lonely and wishes he had children. Argh. This man frustrates me to no end!
Besides those annoyances, I had two issues with this book.
First, he leaps back and forth in time, but he doesn’t clearly designate the time, so I could not follow when events were happening. As a result, I was reading vignettes of his life without understanding how the whole story fits together.
Second, he had an annoying habit of randomly throwing famous people under the bus. For instance, he mentions that he made out with Gwenyth Paltrow in a closet. Okay. So what of it? Nothing! There is no point to the story except to brag about making out with Paltrow. Meanwhile, he rarely gives the names of people he’s actually involved with, which I appreciate. However, I did not like his penchant for naming and shaming other famous people.
I hope that Matthew Perry has found peace and that, this time, he remains sober. However, I did not care for his memoir and found it an exasperating read.
I give Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry 3 out of 5 stars on the Mom’s Plans’ scale.