There are a couple of spoilers in this review. I have been trying to get through this book since November. I got it as a present for my birthday and I simply could not wait to read it, but alas my expectations were shattered. As often happens in celebrity memoirs, they do not focus on the one thing that you really want to know about, obviously, anyone who picks this book up will want to know all about “Friends” the hit tv sitcom from the 90s, if you are in your 30s or 40s then you will likely be a huge fan of this iconic show, just like I was and still am. So of course I was hoping to read all about the show, what happens behind the scenes, whether they all got on, how the shows are taped, the money etc. Unfortunately, there is very very little about Friends in this book, about 1 chapter. So if that is your reason, do not pick up this book.
If however, you are interested in Matthew’s upbringing and his life before and after Friends, then you will gain something from this book. If you want to know what it is like to be a drug addict, then this is the book for you my friend, how to be an addict or how not to be an addict in every lascivious detail. He went to rehab over 50 times, how is that even possible? Sorry, I do not want to be judgemental, I have never taken drugs so I do not understand how addictive they can be, obviously I have seen on TV/movies/media but have never experienced it first-hand, and so I feel so sad that it took over his whole life. It really was extreme – his colon exploded from the drugs and he almost died, many times actually. It really is hard to read, every shocking detail appears to be in here. I do commend him for his honesty, because wow!
He had a hard upbringing, it seems. Parents who were missing and did not show much love and therefore early alcoholism ensued. His love-life never amounted to anything and his career had one main highlight, but what a highlight it was…Friends. When I was in my late teens (particular vivid memories) Thursday night was an EVENT thanks to Friends.
I felt very sad to read that he had no life before Friends, and no life after and he never held onto the love of his life and never had children (though he wanted to). It did not feel like a happy ending because he still has no-one to love and no children and, it appears, no career, however, he did manage to kick his addiction to drugs, alcohol and cigarettes, which if he maintains this will be a major feat, considering the level of his addictions, but I still left the book feeling like he is a sad and lonely man, and that is not how I want to think about Chandler Bing.
Now onto lighter things, some of my favourite Chandler Bing quotes:
The one that most appears to sum up Matthew Perry as well as Chandler: “I’m hopeless and awkward and desperate for love.”
“I say more dumb things before 9am, than most people do all day.”
“You have to stop the q-tip when there’s resistance”
“Hi, I’m chandler, I make jokes when I’m uncomfortable.”
One of my favourite Chandler moments, is a less well-known one, but always makes me laugh. In the last series (I think, and this is all from memory), Chandler is sitting in Central Perk with David (the scientist guy) who wants to propose to Phoebe:
David: “Why did Phoebe and Mike break-up?”
Chandler (deadpan): “Because his p3nis was too big!”
Davids’s face was a picture, it makes me laugh out loud every time!
My final summary is that I still like Matthew Perry, Chandler Bing I love, the book, I am afraid not so much, though it was truly honest.
One thought on “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry”
I received this book for Christmas from one of my sons. We all loved Friends and, same as you, I couldn’t wait to read it.
However, I didn’t have the same expectations, I had read that it was more about his problem with addiction than about the series, so I wasn’t as disappointed as you were. I loved the book and probably love Matthew Perry even more than I did before. He was so open, so vulnerable.
If you would like my thoughts, check here.
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