I was quite excited about this one. Mainly because I'm a big Friends fan - when I say I watched the TV show 20 times, I really mean 20 times. At least. Although every time I re-watch it I find something else that's problematic which I haven't noticed the first time. Which is totally fine, because the times back then and right now were so, so different. I also felt like reading some non-fiction so this was perfect timing.
So why such low rating?
Because this book really didn't bring anything new to the table. Which is so, so disappointing. I wanted to find things that I've never heard of before, I wanted more insight on episodes, on actors themselves, maybe even some piece of juicy gossip. Instead, literally 80% of everything in this book can be found on Pinterest and Instagram 'fact' posts about Friends.
Things like 'the part of Ross Geller was written specifically for David', 'or Matt Le Blanc was really poor before landing this role', ' or the show was supposed to be named "Insomnia Cafe". Like, yeah I KNOW, what else is new??
The rest of the book wasn't much better - the beginning was so slow and boring I almost gave it up completely. First of all, most of it reads like a page from Wikipea, but maybe with a little bit of soul. Second, there was a lot of useless information about other shows of that time - most of which I've never heard off. Sure, you have to tell the story of how the Crane/Kauffman/Bright production came to be, but did you have to drag it out so long?
That is honestly my biggest complain - the book reads as if it only was written for people who grew up with the show, who watched the episodes as they came out. People like me, who started watching Friends only when Netflix acquired them, weren't really taken into consideration at all. Such a missed opportunity.
The book also went on exploring issues of racism, lgbt+ rights and sexual harassment associated with the show itself, or with the Hollywood, but I don't think it did a very good job on that. The thoughts didn't seem original or organic - they all were things said brother people. I honestly feel like the author didn't do much herself at all, except collect the information and type it all together.
I especially didn't agree with points of view that stated Carol and Susan's wedding was 'too straight' because they both wore dresses and because it all was so traditional. It says that they didn't want to be too cliche with it, which I agree with, but then it contradicts itself and says that they straight washed it all to be safe. Maybe they did, but with openly gay producer I'm pretty sure they knew what they were doing.
The book also seems to focus on the fact that 'Friends' were indeed friends. It repeats that statement at least once in every chapter. They were friends, they really were close, yes they were friends - which made me think 'maybe they really weren't?' Otherwise why repeat it so many damn times? Unless it's just bad, repetitive writing - which, I mean it was.
Big thanks to HARLEQUIN - Trade Publishing (US and Canada), Hanover Square Press and NetGalley for a digital copy of this book. all opinions are my own, honest and come from the heart.
Freelance BETA reader.