Wednesday 9 November 2022

Book ~ "Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing" (2022) Matthew Perry

From Goodreads ~ The 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 story of 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 a story that only he could tell, 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.

I like bios/autobios and I was a fan of Friends, liked the Chandler Bing character and like some of Matthew Perry's movies so was l interested in reading his memoir.

The book starts with Perry's parents splitting up when he was a baby and his father dropping him and his young mom off in Niagara Falls to be picked up by her father to live in Canada while he headed off to California to be a singer and actor. Perry was raised in Ottawa by his mother and stepfather, who had careers so couldn't be with him every second of the day. In his teens, he moved to California to live with his father and his father's new family. Perry's goal was to be an actor and famous ... and he had it all but it still wasn't enough.

While I appreciated his honesty in telling his story of his addictions and relapses over the years, I was surprised at how unlikeable I found him.  He feels he was never "enough" and blamed this on feeling abandoned during his childhood ... most people have a worse childhood than he did and we carry on.

I thought it was odd that he would dish dirt on his brief liaisons with stars like Valerie Bertinelli, Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Roberts but not name names on his more serious relationships like the six year one he had with Lizzy Caplan (who he'd wanted to marry but didn't have the guts to ask). When he wasn't in a relationship, his goal was to get laid with as many women as he could. He was a braggart, constantly saying how much he made, how much money he has and how expensive his homes and cars were.

I was interesting to get the scoop on the shows and movies he was in.  I found the writing repetitive and jumped around without indicating what the timeline was at times and not funny. As a head's up, there is a lot of swearing and F-bombs.

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