Book Review: “This Will Only Hurt A Little” by Busy Philipps

Since my Topic calendar says that the first Monday of the month is a book review, I decided to review a memoir I read recently. If you read my other blog (Watching Pop Culture With My Parents) you know that I love pop culture. Movies, TV, books, etc. I also loved music, radio and podcasts (used to anyway back when I could hear them- that wasn’t meant to bum you out. It just gives you context). I have a nerdy 🤓 knowledge of movies and TV (ask anyone who has played a trivia game with me). I also have entertained thoughts of being a screenwriter or television writer. The point being, my first book review is not a brainy literature choice but a pop culture one. As the blog title says I’m reviewing the memoir of American (mainly television) actress Busy Philipps. “This Will Only Hurt A Little” by Busy Philipps was published in 2018 by Simon and Schuster.

If you’re a pop culture aficionado like myself I think you’ll enjoy Philipps’ memoir. She doesn’t go into a ton of details on her rise to fame (some may argue with me on the use of the word fame since she doesn’t really have household name recognition, but just give Busy a few years). She’s best known for being on “Freaks and Geeks”, “Dawson’s Creek” and “Cougar Town.” She is now hosting a late night talk show on E! called “Busy Tonight.” In recent years she’s seen the most press coverage by being best friends with actress Michelle Williams and has been Williams’ “plus 1” to a lot of awards shows.

And Philipps has also gained a following on social media (specifically Instagram [and Instagram Stories]) @busyphilipps. She is fascinatingly candid in a world that seems increasingly artificial and Photoshopped. Especially considering she’s an actress who has been in known things and has pretty famous friends (you’d think this would cause her to be guarded). I follow her on Instagram and her candidness is why I read this book. For example, here’s a funny antidote from the very awards show night I inserted a picture from above (The Golden Globes, 2017). A drunk Busy got locked out of her house and documented it on the instant video feature on Instagram called “Instagram Stories.” This seems like an incident that could happen to anyone and yet Busy presents it in such a way as you find instantly relatable and hilarious. That’s why I wanted to read her book.

To get back to reviewing the book, her writing style is very conversational. Her writing sounds like how she talks. And that is an accomplishment right there. As someone who is writing a memoir myself, I know that a writer’s voice can often get lost when they’re trying to convey details, etc. Written Busy Philipps is Busy Philipps. I give five stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ for that amazing accomplishment alone. (Note: I don’t have a rating system right now for reviews, my “5 stars” comment was really more a statement than a rating.)

However, I will say the rush you get from following her Instagram Stories isn’t necessarily captured by the book. I think it’s because you know there’s a months long delay (or years) since she’s sharing stories from throughout the years of her life. This is no fault of Philipps’ writing but just an interesting observation in this age of social media and instant gratification.

I also felt like (some of) the stories were a little sparse on details. She goes into a lot of details on parts (e.g. her co-writing credit on the comedy movie “Blades of Glory” got removed) but doesn’t really on other parts (e.g. her time on “Dawson’s Creek”). She was guarded in the details she provided when she doesn’t seem to be on social media. I guess I was looking for more celebrity dish but I understand why she didn’t give it. She’s unguarded and unfiltered about details about her own life (i.e. marriage woes, her own difficulty in relationships). Not to say she doesn’t reveal. She discusses being raped when she was 14. That’s not a tiny reveal. And she talks about it with a lot of truth and reflection.

I read this book because I wanted more of her voice. I got it. But I’m still going to follow her on Instagram and watch her show (On-Demand, I don’t stay up late anymore) because the book only gave me a taste.

Well, for my first book review on this blog, this was fun and it didn’t hurt at all, Busy! This was definitely a #MondayHappy #WritingNeverStops

I’m usually a reader of fiction so expect fiction reviews in the future!

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