Matthew Perry’s memoir – what the critics say

Matthew Perry book cover

When Friends: The Reunion was broadcast last year, “all anybody could talk about was Matthew Perry”, said Eleanor Halls in The Daily Telegraph. It was clear that the man who “spent ten years cracking jokes in our living rooms”, as the “beloved” Friends character Chandler Bing, was in a very poor state: he had a bloated face, slurred speech, and “looked lonely and sad”.

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In his memoir, Perry, 53, explains what caused him to “appear so extinguished”. In his 20s, at the height of his fame, he became addicted to alcohol and opiates. He was soon taking 55 Vicodin pills a day, and “over the next 20 years, he would check into rehab 15 times, attend 6,000 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and undergo 14 stomach surgeries”. He has nearly died on several occasions and says he has spent more than $9m treating his addictions. All this is recounted in Perry’s bleak but “witty” book, which is laced with his “trademark sarcasm and self-deprecation”. 

Perry was born in Canada, the son of a “beauty queen and an American folk singer-turned-actor”, said Allison Stewart in The Washington Post. When he was nine months old, his father, a “functioning alcoholic who starred in Old Spice commercials”, walked out and moved to LA; and from the age of five, Perry would fly to visit him wearing a sign that read “unaccompanied minor”.

Perry emerged into adulthood believing that only one thing could relieve his “feelings of loneliness and inadequacy”: becoming famous. But landing a role on the biggest TV sitcom in history wasn’t the cure-all he expected. “I think you actually have to have all of your dreams come true to realise they are the wrong dreams,” he notes. 

This book begins, as most addiction memoirs do, with Perry at his “lowest ebb”, said Fiona Sturges in The Guardian. In 2019, he suffered an “explosion” of the bowel – a result of chronic constipation caused by opiate abuse – and spent nearly a year with a colostomy bag. “It was kind of poetic,” he writes. “I was so full of shit it nearly killed me.”

The experience prompted Perry to finally get clean, but even so, there is no “happy ending”: describing his life today, Perry writes of himself “sitting in a huge house, overlooking …read more

Source:: The Week – All news


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