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


It’s “The One Where Chandler Tells His Story”. Matthew Perry’s memoir, Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing, dictates the ups and downs of the actor’s life as he gained huge popularity in the 90s.

Matthew Perry begins his book by giving us a glimpse of his unhappy childhood: from his parent’s divorce to how he came to drink alcohol for the first time, his addiction to which was “the big terrible thing” that made him suffer and almost killed him. Here, Perry finally talks things out and reveals the real problem behind all the agony he was going through.

Recently in interviews, Perry has stated that he wrote this book to help all addicts who are struggling and facing death, so they can learn from his own experience. In his memoir, Perry emphasizes that addicts like himself are “not bad people. We’re just people who are trying to feel better, but we have this disease.”

Matthew Perry’s treatment for his addiction was happening during the filming of the hit US TV sitcom Friends (1994-2004), with his portrayal of joker Chandler Bing making him a household name alongside the other main protagonists. He wrote about it extensively in his memoir, and you can’t help but feel for him knowing that while he was making millions of viewers around the world smile, he himself was living so precariously close to the edge. Thankfully Matthew Perry is managing his addiction, and his candidness has ensured his story has joined the ranks of those that showcase the unflinching reality of life for many people – regardless of how hard they may try to hide it.

Moving on to his romantic relationships, the actor admits that he had “terrible luck with women”, just like his Friends character Chandler. Perry talks plainly about his short relationship with Julia Roberts and about his crush on Jennifer Aniston, who was never anything more than a good friend.

Fame has been an integral part of Matthew Perry’s life. He went looking for it, and his stint as Chandler Bing forms much of his acting legacy. He came to be one of Hollywood’s most loveable celebrities, featuring in many of America’s most iconic magazines and guest-starring on some of its most-watched late night talk shows.

Friends was Matthew Perry’s “safe place”, and he expresses his love and admiration for his co-stars frequently throughout his memoir for always being there for him. However, after the comedy series ended in 2004, Perry felt the loneliness begin to creep in. It was now up to him to move forward and continue building on his acting success to progress his career, though his immediate post-Friends period is marked by several disappointing movies that flopped in the box office and saw the spotlight move swiftly away from him and on to the next big thing.

Despite this, Matthew Perry is still one of the greatest comic actors ever. He has undoubtedly merited and worked hard for this accolade, particularly in light of all the problems he faced along the way.

Perry’s story is a journey through life and death, love and heartbreak, success and failure. His memoir represents a message to all the sufferers of addiction around the world to live, and to grasp every opportunity that might come their way. This book is a heartfelt reminder that everyone faces pain in their lives, but that they will, sooner or later, come through the other side and rebuild their dreams once again.

Words by Joyce Bou Charaa

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  1. I bought the book and enjoyed it but when put into context of what ordernany people deal with in everyday life it’s oh dear what a hard life! I say no more because less is more!


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