THIS WILL ONLY HURT A LITTLE by Busy Philipps

THIS WILL ONLY HURT A LITTLE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A highly candid, tell-all memoir from the cult-favorite actress.

In a book that often reads like a Real World confessional or an open diary, the Cougar Town star bares all in recounting her rise to fame: from childhood passion to become an actress to fraught teen years getting in with the wrong crowd and terminating a pregnancy to facing sexism in Hollywood to dating Colin Hanks to landing a role on Dawson’s Creek to countless failed auditions to falling in love with and then considering divorcing her husband. While the honesty is refreshing, much like her Instagram persona, the narrative occasionally comes across as narcissistic. Philipps is open about her overwhelming need to be liked and included, a sentiment that provides the throughline of the book. For example, she chronicles the time she dislocated her knee at a middle school dance because she wanted to see why boys where moshing to “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” “That is what I get for wanting to know what was going on,” she writes, “for wanting to be a part of things, for wanting more….It’s too bad I didn’t realize the life lesson I was being handed. Because maybe, possibly, it would have saved me from even more pain in the years to come.” At the same time, Philipps is happy to dole out some literary retribution, calling out some of those who have wronged her—e.g., she calls Freaks & Geeks co-star James Franco “a fucking bully” and Modern Family director Steven Levitan “a fucking asshole” who enjoys “the joy of being an oblivious super successful white man” in showbiz. But while the author is quick to point the finger, she's also her own harshest critic. In explaining her Instagram use, she writes, “the reason I started the stories…was because I was lonely.”

Ultimately, the book is a page-turner, albeit one in which the need for the readers’ approval is felt on nearly every page.

Pub Date: Oct. 23rd, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-5011-8471-0
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 2018




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