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

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

Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing is the biography 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. In an extraordinary 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 humour, Perry vividly depicts his lifelong battle with addiction and what fueled it despite seemingly having it all.


Chandler has always been my favourite Friends character, so this was a memoir that I was eager to read. I knew Perry had gone through some difficult times, but I looked forward to Perry’s humour and to find out more about his time filming one of the best TV shows of all time. But boy, I was not expecting this to break my heart so catastrophically.

Actually, there’s little humour in Perry’s memoir and even less talk of his Friends cast. Instead, the memoir focuses on Perry’s beginning in life, what led to his fears and struggles, and his determination to overcome his powerful addiction. There are certainly a few “entertaining” parts along the way about his career and friendships with other celebrities, but it’s much more personal than that.

Beautifully written and brutally raw, his storytelling is absolutely captivating as Perry shares decades of pain in this immensely moving confession. My heart absolutely aches after reading this book, so thank you to Perry for sharing his story. He shines an eye-opening light on addiction and I admire his bravery for that.

My only negative is that the timeline bounces around so much that it occasionally feels a little chaotic, but it’s well worth a read if you want to gain insight into what can really be going behind the scenes of a massively popular TV series.


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