Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry

Published November 19, 2022

Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing by Matthew Perry

Book info

  • Title Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing
  • Author Matthew Perry
  • Year 2022
  • Genre Memoir

'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.


Obviously I was going to read this as a massive Friends fan, and it was a very interesting memoir. I listened to the audiobook so Matthew Perry was telling his own story and what a difficult time he’s had. It’s unflinchingly honest, this book, so that Perry doesn’t always come across as the hero, sometimes not even a particularly nice person (what is his beef with Keanu, please?) but it’s an important story to share. Addiction is horrible and hard and can affect anyone, no matter how much money or privilege you have. He talks about his early upbringing, with understanding of the events that shaped some of his later problems, but without making excuses. His time on Friends is discussed, particularly the process of getting the role in the first place, how close the group became, and how they supported him through some of the tougher times. And, as the book title suggests, there’s a lot of women coming and going in Perry’s life… including Julia Roberts! Ultimately it’s a difficult read and I maybe wished for more tales from the set, but well-written, well-read and a fresh take on the struggles of addiction.

Rating: 3 / 5

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