Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir by Matthew Perry

 Unflinchingly honest, moving, and uproariously funny...

Synopsis -

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

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 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 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 humor, Perry vividly depicts his lifelong battle with addiction and what fueled 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.

Review - 

I chose to enjoy Matthew Perry's book Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing as an audio book and found it the perfect choice.  Perry is know for his comedic genius and timing, so it is no surprise that this memoir comes alive when you listen to him share. He has the ability to share hard things with a light touch by pointing out the absurdity of the moment - the gift of sarcasm - that makes the hard stories easier to bear. However, it is also a little unnerving to hear his voice as if he was still with us.  

This memoir follows his life from earliest years when, as a fussy baby of only 3 months. he was prescribed phenobarbital to quiet him. Yes, his first exposure to drugs came that early. As you listen (or read) it becomes obvious he has had years of counseling, rehab and AA as he shows great insight into his addiction and why it is a lifelong struggle for him. There is a delineation made between those who are users and those who have the addiction gene. He is the latter. Perry walks us through what having that gene means, offering clear examples of mindset and behavior that are eye opening. 

This is probably the first book I have read by an addict where I walked away feeling I better understood at least some of what they dealt with on a daily basis. I also finally understood how very personal this war with themselves was.  It is a inner battle they wage with themselves. The stakes? Their life. 

Meet the Author - 

Matthew Perry was born in Williamstown, Massachusetts. His ancestry includes English, Irish, German, Swiss-German, and French-Canadian. He was raised in Ottawa, Ontario, where he became a top-ranked junior tennis player in Canada. However, after moving to Los Angeles at the age of 15 to live with his father, he became more interested in acting. Upon graduating from high school, Perry intended to enroll at the University of Southern California. However, when he was offered a leading role on the television series, Boys Will Be Boys, he seized the opportunity to begin his acting career.  Despite a severe lifelong struggle with addiction, he enjoyed a very successful career including his breakout role in the TV show Friends. Movies include The Whole Nine Yards (2000), Fools Rush In (1997), A Night in the Life of Jimmy Reardon (1988), She's Out of Control (1989) Parallel Lives (1994), Almost Heroes (1998) and Three to Tango (1999). Perry died from the acute effects of ketamine in October 2023.