Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing Review

February 20th, 2023

I finished Matthew Perry’s book this afternoon, and I have a lot of feelings about it.

If I were the kind of person to share my feelings, I would do that here, but I’m just not that guy.

jk. Let’s get to it.

I want to start by saying it is not a well-written book, and I absolutely loved it. Its scruffiness is a big part of its charm (and lack thereof); Matty definitely wrote this book, but if I’m wrong and he did hire a person to write it for him, that person did not do a good job.

Matthew Perry is not a likeable man in his book. I believe this is the point.

Addiction makes addicts do things that are not likeable, and sometimes outright despicable. I don’t care if you like me right now; if I told you everything, you would find parts of me and things I have done to be wholly unlikeable, too. In reality, there’s a decent chance you already don’t like me, and that’s a perpetual and deep fear.

The fact of the matter is: addiction is still largely misunderstood by the majority of people, and this is nobody’s fault. You should not have to relate to an addict (and you should count your many blessings if you don’t); you should only have to relate to being human, and to what humans think and feel and want to be.

Matty is a human being in spades. I don’t know if I’ve ever encountered a memorist who is, simultaneously, both so horny and so haunting.

If you came here looking for a boiling pot of addressed gossip and illicit content, you’ll find it in bubbly abundance. No shortage of Hollywood talk here, and he’s candid about his time on Friends, which he admits was the best job in the world, but couldn’t stop him from being who he is.

He’s also open about his childhood and present life, which sometimes feels like a undeserved gift.

It is both immensely comforting and makes me uncomfortably sad to relate so much to the behavior he inhabits. Often, it’s just a giant-sized edition of my own issues.

He and I differ in many and obvious ways, but there is one thing we hold to be undeniably true: this stuff needs to be talked about. Honestly.

And that’s why I think he shows himself to be so unlikeable here: it’s proof of his ability to be honest.

And honesty is both refreshing and in short supply these days.

I’ve seen people who are really upset with him for a variety of reasons, and those people represent what addicts like he and I go through every day.

Who we are makes no sense, and no amount of intellectualism will fix that. What we do sometimes makes even less sense, and thinking about it too hard makes everybody, including us, upset.

It feels impossible to talk about addiction without getting upset.

“Had my habit killed me,” he writes, “it would have killed the wrong person. I wasn’t fully me yet; I was just parts of me (and not the best parts, either).”

The fact that so many people are upset means we still have a long way to go.

One day at a time, of course.

Published by dennisvogen

I'm me, of course. Or am I?

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