Reviews for Friends, Lovers, And The Big Terrible Thing

by Matthew Perry

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

The TV star details his career and his major addiction issues. "I don't think it's an exaggeration to suggest that Chandler Bing transformed the way America spoke," writes Perry of his character on the megahit sitcom Friends, who habitually emphasized a different word in a sentence than one might expect. Could this be any bigger of a deal? Apparently not. "Aaron [Sorkin] and Tommy [Schlamme] had changed the way America looked at serialized TV with The West Wing, and I had changed how America spoke English,” writes the author. Certainly, plenty of readers will be interested in Perry's fabulous wealth and extraordinary fame—at one point in his life, he was one of the "most famous people in the world—in fact, I was being burned by the white-hot flame of fame”—his unsuccessful relationships with women, his 15 trips to rehab (“I have spent upward of $7 million to get sober”), numerous surgeries for the ravages of opioid-induced constipation, and his inability to add anything significant to his resume after Friends. However, Perry is a blurter, not a storyteller, and no ghostwriter or collaborator was involved in this project. Though he asserts that he does not blame his parents for his difficulties, the author sticks a major pin in the day they sent him on an airplane as an unaccompanied minor when he was 5 years old. Some will find it hard to sympathize with this story, and further mean-spirited outbursts don’t help—e.g., "Why is it that original thinkers like River Phoenix and Heath Ledger died, but Keanu Reeves still walks among us?" The concluding chapters trail off into what could be notes for some future acceptance speech. "I am me," he writes. "And that should be enough, it always has been enough." It’s not enough to carry this memoir. Strictly for Perry’s fans. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.