BOOK REVIEW #50: FRIENDS, LOVERS AND THE BIG TERRIBLE THING Book Review

Just a year after this somewhat controversial biography was published, 54 year old Matthew Perry died as a result of acute effects of the anaesthetic ketamine in the jacuzzi at his Pacific Palisades home. Kind of foreshadowing when he mentioned he should be dead in the prologue.

In “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing”, the sitcom star who wrote the book without the help of a ghostwriter is extremely forthcoming in his dealings with drugs. By his mid-20s, Perry’s alcoholism and OxyContin, Vicodin, Dilaudid etc addiction has caused him to check into rehab and treatment centres countless times.

He even revealed he nearly died back in 2018 because of an exploded colon which has him briefly on life support and living nine months with a colostomy bag following that, more than a dozen stomach surgeries.

Consider he earned $1 million per Friends episode at his peak, Perry’s honesty is hard to swallow, taxing and even painful to those who have no idea what’s addiction actually means. Come on, he is a millionaire after all as what many would say.

With the book at a digestible pace of 250 pages, more than half of it covers the struggles with his inner demons and abandonment starting from a very young age since his rather famous parents separated. His mom was press secretary to Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau and his dad had a long-running stint as the face of Old Spice.

Despite his involvement in movies liked Fools Rush In, The Whole Nine Yards and a brief appearance in The West Wing, he will forever be remembered as Chandler Bing, the insecure and sarcastic member of Friends. Like it or not, Perry didn’t devote a lot of chapters on his time in the hit sitcom although he did lauded David Schwimmer’s generosity in making him rich.

It’s mostly a book of painful revelations including his breakup with Julia Roberts and multiple women who had the potential to be Mrs Perry. However, his addiction always seems to get the better of him as he laments about his lonely existence in his big house with a view.

As everyone knows, Perry fails to battle the devil in the end. The actual cause of his death remains a mystery and investigation is still ongoing as we speak. In all honesty, you won’t find “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing” particularly funny or entertaining. It’s mainly a candid portrait of a very tortured man.

Review by Linus Tee

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