Book Reviews

Audiobook Review: Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir

By Matthew Perry

Narrated by Matthew Perry

8 Hours 49 Minutes

Released November 2022

I was going to buy this to read, but a good friend insisted that I need to listen to it.  And I really like Matthew Perry, so I waited for it from my library.  Apparently everyone else really likes him too, because I waited, and waited, and waited.  Finally I used my Audible credit to get it.  I happily started listening and my first thought was, “Did Matthew Perry have a stroke?”  Obviously, I don’t keep up with pop culture and I didn’t watch the Friends reunion, so I was shocked when I expected Chandler Bing and didn’t get it.  

I want to note, before I get any comments from people upset with me, my entire review is on the audiobook, not the message in the book and it’s not meant to be commentary on Matthew Perry or his life.  I applaud him for coming out this honestly about his life and struggles with addiction, but given the physical toll it’s taken on him, maybe narrating an audiobook wasn’t the best method of delivery.

So, if you haven’t listened to the book, don’t expect it to be funny.  It’s not.  It starts with his colon exploding and dives headlong into multiple addiction treatments before circling back to his early life and career.  Possibly if I’d read it, I would have chuckled a few times but his delivery was so monotone and slurred that every joke fell flat or came across to me as snarky and bitter.

“Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing” interpreted by Wombo Dream

At some point near the end of the book, I found myself wondering why he’d written it.  I couldn’t find much that was positive or uplifting in there until the last chapter or two and by that point, it was a bit too late for me.  I don’t usually go into my own personal history but I need to comment on it here.  At this point in my life, I have 18 years sober and have spent my fair share of time in AA meetings.  For most of this book, I felt like I was in a meeting listening to a newcomer complain about how everyone else had wronged him.  That or an extremely protracted fifth step, where he’d possibly missed the point of the fourth step.

So, while this could have had a really good message for anyone having difficulty getting sober, overcoming childhood trauma, or just struggling in general, it got lost in the snark.  I’m still unclear why he was so monotone.  It could be the Suboxone, the amount of damage he’s done to himself, or having all of his teeth replaced. Take your pick.  I just wish I’d read it instead of listening to it.  I’m sure I would have rated it higher.

2.5/5 stars ⭐⭐+

Until next time, thank you for visiting.

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