Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing

I love Matthew Perry.  I loved this book.  I almost *really* loved this book (see my thoughts below in the next section.  They don’t contain spoilers).

It takes a lot of guts to open yourself up to a world that knows you, loves, you, and fully sees you as the hilarious Chandler Bing who can make you laugh until you cry simply by changing the emphasis of a random word in an otherwise insignificant rhetorical question.  He shares (and over shares) about his tumultuous upbringing, tumultuous rise to fame, tumultuous love life, tumultuous struggle with alcohol and prescription drugs…are we sensing a pattern here?  He begins telling his life story about the unstable family life into which he was born and continues by describing his childhood where he never quite felt like he belonged in his mom’s life or his dad’s life.  He catalogs his ascension to fame which was riddled with lots of opiates, lots of alcohol, lots of cigarettes, lots of women, lots of famous people, and lots and lots and lots of rehab.  His story is as difficult as a breakup with Janice (if you know, you know), but it’s his story to tell, and he does not hold back.  (READ ON BELOW…I don’t give spoilers here)

Trigger warnings: Language, drug use, sexual content, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts

My thoughts (may contain spoilers)

Here’s the story: Surviving Marcia and Brady and finding my true voice

Marcia!  Marcia!  Marcia!  This iconic phrase is forever etched in our minds as well as in television history.  “The Brady Bunch” ran its course decades before my time, but I was fortunate enough to see every episode via Nick at Night reruns.  Like the rest of America, except 30 years later, I was drawn into the fun show about a blended family who solved all of life’s problems in half an hour with a quirky housekeeper who delivered hilarious one liners on cue.  However, as is the case in Hollywood, the drama on screen was no match to the drama unfolding behind the scenes.

Maureen McCormick’s memoir starts with a detailed description of her upbringing as well as her introduction into the ruthless world of acting.  She then describes what led to her fortune as she lands the role of Marcia Brady.  Her life would never be the same.  As she gives her perspective of what the show was about, what was really going on between the characters off screen, and her struggles with adapting to life and growing up as one of the most recognizable faces in America, she describes a downward mental, emotional, and physical spiral that is all too common among child actors.  She is transparent, open, and honest about her struggles with excessive drug use, serious depression, personal family turmoil, and dangerous eating disorders throughout her teenage and young adult years.  The story of the Brady’s ended just as her story was beginning.  She took a lot of different paths, and she made countless wrong turns, but she finally found her happily ever after with her husband and daughter.  By opening herself up to her readers, she makes herself incredibly vulnerable to and authentic with her audience.

  • Why I read it: Pure curiosity (it was on the feature shelf on the library, and I love a good memoir!)
  • Trigger Warnings: Drugs, alcohol, sex, violence, abuse, eating disorders, depression

My thoughts (may contain spoilers)