Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing - Matthew Perry

Reading Challenge Category: Just wanted to read

Official Blurb:

The beloved star of Friends takes us behind the scenes of the hit sitcom and his struggles with addiction in this candid, funny, and revelatory memoir that delivers a powerful message of hope and persistence
'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 travelled 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 humour, Perry vividly depicts his lifelong battle with addiction and what fuelled 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 book fans have been waiting for.

My Thoughts:

I’m currently rewatching Friends (for the millionth time), and it has just been season 3, where Chandler is looking very skinny and not very well at all. I’ve noticed this every time I’ve watched it, but this time I knew he’d written a book and maybe now was the time to see what he was going through when this was filmed.
To say this book was an eye-opener into Matthew Perry’s life would be an understatement. You tend to forget there are real people behind the characters, especially when you have watched the show as much as I have and when they have been a part of your life since 1996 (I didn’t start watching it when it was first released). They are just the characters on my screen, so to get this insight into how one of the actors was struggling was very humbling! It has made me continue watching the programme in a different light. I’m on season 4 now, and ‘Chandler’ is looking healthier than ever; I now know this is because Matthew was sober.
Nothing major happened in his life to cause him to have the demons he has suffered with. The things that did shape his mindset a lot of people would just cope with, such as parents splitting up and travelling alone to visit one of the parents. However, for Matthew, these were tremendously life-changing events, and his make-up and psyche couldn’t handle them and from these occurrences was bread a darkness within him.
Reading this made me so very terribly sad for him. He had the most amazing and probably most coveted job in the world. He had notoriety and was at the height of fame, but he couldn’t revel in it. He couldn’t live in the moment and enjoy it as his addiction was getting the better of him.
Not being an addict myself (other than for chocolate), I thought it would be hard to relate to what he was going through; however, he described it so well that I felt like I was alongside him throughout his journey.
The book really gave me an insight into everything that happened and when. The timeline does get a little confusing, though, as he can be telling you about one thing that will spurn a memory of something else, meaning he does jump through time a little. He references seasons on friends, and you go back and forth in the book rather than it being a linear line of time.
It was fun finding out snippets of what went on behind the scenes too. The book isn’t all doom and gloom. For instance, Bruce Willis was on Friends as he had lost a bet with Matthew over a film they were starring in together. And I had no idea he had dated Julia Roberts!!!
The book certainly had its ups and downs; unfortunately, Matthew’s life has more downs. I wanted to cry at the end for all he had been through. Like I said, he couldn’t just enjoy the fruits and this extraordinary existence; looking back on it all must be awful and beyond brutal for him to do.
I really hope he does find happiness and can stay on the straight and narrow. I hope the scares he has had to bring him to the end point of the book stay with him and he remains healthy. He deserves some happiness and peace for the rest of his life!

Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing
by Matthew Perry
Date Started
2nd March 2023
Date Finished
6th March 2023