We probably had an inkling that Matthew Perry had a pretty interesting story in him, but as Friends, Lovers and The Terrible Big Thing (Headline) reveals, reports about his mental health and addiction struggles were only the tip of the iceberg. In his autobiography the Friends star details the range of health troubles his misuse of drugs like Xanax and Oxycontin left him with, including erectile dysfunction and a ruptured colon which left him on life support.
hrough the 40 chapters of Bono’s long awaited memoir Surrender: 40 Songs One Story (Hutchinson Heinemann) the U2 frontman details the love and heartaches that made him, including the death of his mother when he was a teenager and his complicated relationship with his father. His affection for his bandmates shines through the writing but he is honest about them too, including one description of bassist Adam Clayton missing a taping of a television show after being found unconscious in his hotel room, having “overshot” with drink and drugs.
Over the years Geena Davis has been one of those stars whose career has been a bit of a puzzle: she seemed to burn so brightly in the early 1990s before falling away. In Dying of Politeness (William Collins) the actress explains that arc and also details the alleged harassment she suffered at the hands of Bill Murray, with whom she co-starred in the 1990 movie Quick Change. Murray pressured her into letting him give her a massage, she writes, and screamed abusively in front of her onset.
The Extraordinary Life of an Ordinary Man (Century) was possibly the celebrity autobiography of the year, the result of 14,000 pages of transcripts of lost tapes in which Paul Newman (who died in 2008) examines his own life with ruthless honesty. Newman had a fractious relationship with his mother and relied on drink to numb himself even as he became Hollywood royalty. Whether he would have wanted this book to come out is another matter but certainly it was fascinating reading.
If Paul Newman’s memoir had the voyeuristic feeling of reading someone’s therapy notes, Hugh Bonneville’s Playing Under the Piano (Abacus,) with its well-practiced anecdotes, was more like ‘an evening with.’ The Downton Abbey star is relentlessly self-deprecating and details several examples of professional embarrassment — including one memorable trauma in a public urinal before a casting meeting — and is always entertaining.
Out of the Corner by Jennifer Grey (Ballantine Books) — the title is, of course, a reference to the ‘nobody puts baby in the corner’ quote from Dirty Dancing, Grey’s best-known movie but while there are reminiscences about her co-star on that, Patrick Swayze, the most surprising material deals with Grey’s friendship with Madonna. The singer comforted Grey after the latter’s split from Matthew Broderick and even threw her a single girls’ “slut” party to which she invited a “sexy” Alec Baldwin as a gift to Grey.
There is a jaunty tone to Managing Expectations by Minnie Driver (Bonnier), which belies some of the pain contained therein: Driver details the fallout from her parents’ divorce, her struggles to make it as an actress, and the awful moment that she found out Matt Damon was cheating on her by seeing him in a magazine kissing another girl.