This Will Only Hurt a Little

This Will Only Hurt a Little

A memoir by the beloved comedic actress known for her roles on Freaks and Geeks, Dawson’s Creek, and Cougar Town who has become “the breakout star on Instagram stories...imagine I Love Lucy mixed with a modern lifestyle guru" (The New Yorker).Busy Philipps’s autobiographical book offers the same unfiltered and candid storytelling that her Instagram followers have come to k...

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Title:This Will Only Hurt a Little
Author:Busy Philipps
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This Will Only Hurt a Little Reviews

  • ALPHAreader

    ‘This Will Only Hurt a Little’ is Busy Philipps’ memoir, available in Australia by Hachette and available from October 16.

    Confession – I instantly flipped to the “Is This It” (The Strokes) chapter of Busy’s memoir when it arrived. The ‘Dawson’s Creek’ chapter – because how could I not? This was the show that defined my teenage years of yearning, and a couple of weeks previously myself and a bunch of rad people on Twitter had concluded an epic live-Tweeting re-watch of all six seasons (#PaceysCr

    ‘This Will Only Hurt a Little’ is Busy Philipps’ memoir, available in Australia by Hachette and available from October 16.

    Confession – I instantly flipped to the “Is This It” (The Strokes) chapter of Busy’s memoir when it arrived. The ‘Dawson’s Creek’ chapter – because how could I not? This was the show that defined my teenage years of yearning, and a couple of weeks previously myself and a bunch of rad people on Twitter had concluded an epic live-Tweeting re-watch of all six seasons (#PaceysCreek). We had all been in agreement that Busy’s character of Audrey Liddell had been a low-point in an already terrible final two seasons of a once-great show … but we were also all in agreement that upon re-examination as strong, feminist adults – Jen Lindley and Michelle Williams had been the true breakout star of that show, and we were all smitten with her and Busy Philipp’s best-friendship that had its start in Capeside.

    So I flipped to the gosh-darn ‘Dawson’s Creek’ chapter because I wanted goss – particularly on Busy’s sure-to-be-truthful observations as a late-comer to the show and how the dynamics played out by then. And she did not disappoint … or – maybe she did – but not in her gossip content delivery, just in shattering some of my teen idols;

    Oh. Josh.

    There’s also a lot of hints given about the tensions on set between the cast by this point, as Busy points out;

    Gossip delivered. But the chapter offers a lot more than just the Dawson’s Creek revelations I had hoped for… Busy highlights the many ways she was made to feel inadequate about her weight and appearance on the show, particularly in being constantly compared to the “breakout star” of Katie Holmes. The chapter also takes a sharp turn when September 11 happens in the middle of a break from filming, and Busy needing to take a flight back to Wilmington from LA despite being terrified – as everyone was in those days – of getting back on a plane and then having to carry on with life and work. In the wake of it all.

    And she delves into how she started drinking as a coping mechanism for all the ways the world sucked, and she was made to feel shitty in her little corner of it. The chapter ends on a doozy of a scathing and on-point one-liner and it pulled me up short. Hang on. I was mostly looking forward to this memoir for the celebrity gossip, but … could it be that Busy is actually a good writer?

    Yes. She is. A damn fine one, in fact.

    I went back to the beginning and then I didn’t stop – I ended up reading the whole book through to 1AM when I finished, teary-eyed and a little weak from the punches she packed.

    This memoir is GOOD. Not just good … bloody brilliant! It’s up there with ‘Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?’ by Mindy Kaling and Tina Fey’s ‘Bossypants’ for comedic memoirs … but it’s also more than that. It’s a memoir by an actress in the wake of #MeToo and Harvey Weinstein (who – yes – she knew, but not the extent of his depravity). An actress who is pulling no punches about the toxic masculinity and patriarchy upon which Hollywood is built and Busy acquiesced to for a long time.

    Case in point: Busy had the idea for the 2007 film ‘Blades of Glory’ and shared it with her boyfriend at the time who agreed they should write a script together … until he and his brother took the idea and ran away with it, even having the audacity to shop it around without Busy’s name on it, though she’d also contributed to the writing. Luckily she’d registered the idea with the Writers Guild of America screenwriting credit system and they ended up having to credit her, since there was a sufficient paper-trail proving her ownership (so it was fear of potential litigation rather than letting a woman own her damn work as the right thing to do!)

    Busy dissects these moments, and many more (including – yes – the one the media has chosen to pick apart in James Franco’s treatment of her on the set of ‘Freaks and Geeks’). But she doesn’t just talk about them in the context of Hollywood. Busy’s memoir – starting from when she’s a child and then a teenager in Scottsdale, Arizona through to her college years acting and early established career – is a searing personal critique of all the ways she tried to contain herself to please men in her life. Tried to be less than, quieter, prettier, thinner, agreeable, laid-back, loving … even at the expense of her own happiness and mental-health. It even results in her convincing herself that being raped at the age of 14 was something that she wanted from the boy, because she convinced herself to love him to make the event “okay” in her own mind.

    ‘This Will Only Hurt a Little’ isn’t just a memoir. It’s a searing, honest and fantastic examination of a young woman taking control of her life, career and identity. I also got this idea that it’s a little bit ‘La La Land’ meets ‘Lady Bird’ (a film I hated by the way, for its feeling directionless and pointless – but after reading Busy’s memoir I now wish more than ever that Greta Gerwig’s film had some of her beats and honesty to coral it).

    The most impacting chapter to me was ‘Tear in Your Hand’ (Tori Amos) which delves into Busy’s first true teenage love affair that ends with an abortion and then winds up somewhere miraculous. It’s a chapter that you feel down to your bones, and is so incredibly literary perfect – I want to see it reproduced in The New Yorker or made into an indie movie (again – better than ‘Lady Bird’ in all ways) or maybe even fictionalised into a contemporary YA novel. This is the chapter that sealed the deal for me – and not just because it shits all over James Franco’s ‘Palo Alto’ wankery. But because it’s genius, perfectly crafted. That I read Sally Rooney’s ‘Normal People’ right before delving into Busy’s memoir further highlighted this for me – the beauty in writing about the pain of teenagers and teenage girls in particular, the finesse and fierceness was all in this chapter. It makes me hope that Busy has another film-script up her sleeve, or another book – collection of essays, further memoir or fiction – I don’t care, I just want more of her words, thoughts and ideas.

  • Elizabeth

    I love this book so much 😭😭😭

    Honestly, this isn’t your average memoir. She takes you through the highs and lows of her life, no holding back.

  • Aimee

    Probably the best memoir I’ve ever read. Incredible.

  • Danielle H

    It so pains me to not give this book 5 stars, but I'm going to be honest about it because I think Busy would appreciate that. Mostly, I feel this book made me not relate to her in a way that's so different from watching her on Instagram. Like, the number of videos I have screengrabbbed because, I am this person crying in her hotel room about how nothing really works to make her feel fully healthy, or my God, it is so hard to meet someone today, thank you for acknowledging it, Busy. But then this

    It so pains me to not give this book 5 stars, but I'm going to be honest about it because I think Busy would appreciate that. Mostly, I feel this book made me not relate to her in a way that's so different from watching her on Instagram. Like, the number of videos I have screengrabbbed because, I am this person crying in her hotel room about how nothing really works to make her feel fully healthy, or my God, it is so hard to meet someone today, thank you for acknowledging it, Busy. But then this book made me realize that as Busy describes herself, she's one of those people who sparkle. She has had so much happen to her in life, enough to write a book about, clearly, and I...haven't. I don't consider myself someone with sparkle. I do a lot of wondering how those people got so lucky and trying not to think ugly thoughts about it. I appreciate her honesty about the hardships she's endured. The sexual assault, the choice of a teenaged abortion, the failed relationships, not finding success where she thought it would be, having to face death so many times with people she was close to. It was harder for me to read about her honesty about people she didn't vibe with, that she absolutely is entitled to not like. I don't think I could ever be that honest in such a public way. The boldness to not care that they would read it, that they would know, I'd like to say I could one day give so little fucks, but it seems unlikely. Her confidence overall in the book made me uncomfortable, which, is my problem entirely, but still took away from my enjoyment of it. Because I had to wonder why I was uncomfortable. I clearly adore her and think she's wonderful, why shouldn't I want her to feel that for herself? And I did cry a bit while reading the book, the first time on the EL only 5 pages in, where she listed all the things she has shared over the past few years. And I remembered all of them. I think I'll remember reading this book too, and being bummed that even though she came to Chicago, she actually came to Naperville, and was too far out in the burbs for me to get too feasibly, and how I kind of wanted to skip class to do it anyway, but worried that my professor wouldn't think she was the kind of literary person I should be skipping Critical Reading and Writing for. Having read the book now I know for sure, Busy would have skipped the class. She'd have made a playlist for the drive and probably cried on her way home from it. I went to class. I love her anyway.

  • Jessica Woodbury

    You know how sometimes you read a celebrity memoir and think, "Wow, who knew this person was such a good writer?" and then a minute later you think, "I hope their ghostwriter got a fat check." That is not something you'll think while reading Busy Philipps' book, which is going to either make it a book you love even more or a book that is even less your thing. You'll know best which kind of reader you are.

    Busy doesn't have a memoir because she's an actress who's had some high-profile tv work. Sh

    You know how sometimes you read a celebrity memoir and think, "Wow, who knew this person was such a good writer?" and then a minute later you think, "I hope their ghostwriter got a fat check." That is not something you'll think while reading Busy Philipps' book, which is going to either make it a book you love even more or a book that is even less your thing. You'll know best which kind of reader you are.

    Busy doesn't have a memoir because she's an actress who's had some high-profile tv work. She has a memoir because she's become one of the breakout stars of Instagram Stories. And clearly the people behind the scenes decided not to clean up this book into a perfect and polished gem, but to let Busy be Busy the way she does on Instagram. Reading this book feels like you're sitting down with her at a party where she tells you a story about her life. It feels conversational and honest. It doesn't feel like a pre-packaged memoir in the slightest.

    The down side of this is that it can get rambly and lack focus, and for readers of celebrity memoir who just want some dirt and famous people stories, the first half of the book which dwells mostly on her teenage life before stardom will disappoint. The writing is unfiltered, and while real emotion shines through, there are times when I realized how rarely I read something that hasn't been edited within an inch of its life because this book feels so different from most of my other reading.

    The up side of this is that there is no holding back here. For the most part, Busy names names. Yes, James Franco really is a douche and he walked around the Freaks and Geeks set carrying a copy of Dante's Inferno. Josh Jackson is a mansplainer. She isn't presenting a cleaned up version of her opinions, she's telling you how she really feels. I honestly don't feel like I've seen any other celeb talk about their peers this way, usually they leave names out when they're telling a mean story and only name names when they're loving on someone.

    I read this book at breakneck speed, I suspect her fans will really enjoy it.

  • Claire Reads Books

    This book was just okay. For anyone who follows Busy Philipps's Instagram stories and is already invested in her Lekfit workouts and love of cinnamon gummy bears, This Will Only Hurt A Little will offer some interesting insights into Philipps's career as a working actress, her family life, and all the Hollywood chestnuts you expect from a celebrity memoir (while not exactly a tell-all, there is plenty of gossip and dirty laundry to be found here, although much of it concerns other working actors

    This book was just okay. For anyone who follows Busy Philipps's Instagram stories and is already invested in her Lekfit workouts and love of cinnamon gummy bears, This Will Only Hurt A Little will offer some interesting insights into Philipps's career as a working actress, her family life, and all the Hollywood chestnuts you expect from a celebrity memoir (while not exactly a tell-all, there is plenty of gossip and dirty laundry to be found here, although much of it concerns other working actors from the '90s and early aughts). Excepting some sobering reflections on being raped by her boyfriend at age 14 (an encounter that has already been widely chronicled in the media), early chapters about Philipps's childhood in Scottsdale are immensely skippable (Philipps had a pretty normal upbringing, which doesn't make for great copy). Later chapters about her life in Los Angeles, trying to get a foothold in Hollywood, and the ups-and-downs of her acting career are more compelling but reaffirm what most of us already know—entertainment is a brutal industry, especially if you're an actor, and especially if you're a woman.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, Philipps's storytelling style is far better suited to Instagram stories—the personality, ~authenticity~, and casual but confessional intimacy that Philipps has perfected on that platform doesn't come across the same way in print (largely because Philipps isn't a particularly gifted writer, although her audiobook narration left something to be desired, too). On Instagram, Philipps is a master of turning everyday L.A. life into bite-sized pieces of pop entertainment, but on the page, her stories often feel like non-sequiturs that rarely lead to deeper introspection or a cohesive narrative beyond "Busy Philipps's life story." What's worse, where Philipps comes across as relatively down-to-earth and self-aware on Instagram's vertical screen, here she often comes across as petty and self-involved—something about the tone of this book missed the mark, and although I was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, other readers might not be so generous. At the end of the day, Philipps is a performer and an entertainer, not a writer or a comedian, and this book is no Bossypants—Philipps's already established fanbase will likely find things to enjoy here, but everyone else would do well to skip it.

  • Scarlett

    Well, this was uncomfortable. Busy Philipps is one angry woman! She is not very famous for her great acting, but lately her Instagram stories have become more popular. She gives a glimpse of her everyday struggles and it usually is very relatable and funny. Unfortunately, getting to know her through this memoir makes me wonder if women should really look for advice from such a spiteful person.

    She tells it all, from her losing virginity at 14 in the back of the van,

    Well, this was uncomfortable. Busy Philipps is one angry woman! She is not very famous for her great acting, but lately her Instagram stories have become more popular. She gives a glimpse of her everyday struggles and it usually is very relatable and funny. Unfortunately, getting to know her through this memoir makes me wonder if women should really look for advice from such a spiteful person.

    She tells it all, from her losing virginity at 14 in the back of the van, having an abortion, taking drugs and getting drunk on a regular basis. I think this is very brave and I don't think I would ever tell anyone events like these, so I applaud her for this. Her writing is also good, it's very well paced and pleasant to read. Aside from this, the rest was a torture for me.

    I didn't enjoy the overall tone of the book. She resents her mother and sister, she hates her former co-stars who didn't pay a lot of attention to her, she is angry with the wardrobe team that once told her that she was fat, she hates all her ex boyfriends and she didn't hesitate to expose all the details of their sex life and emotional struggles. She comes of as insecure, but I don't think she knows this. She kept repeating that she absolutely never thought that she was overweight, but then she cried because she couldn't find leading roles and everyone was mean. Seems to me that wanting to be an actress comes with the knowledge that your physical appearance and delivery are the main thing. Why cry about it when you're not able to play the part?

    I didn't expect myself to feel protective of James Franco, but that happened as well. Her stories about him are really colored with negative personal experiences and that's okay. I believe her that she felt humiliated, BUT when she made fun of his gloominess and the way 'he walked around with Dante's

    ! Come on, what's wrong with an actor who is trying to read classics? This really colored my impression of Busy as an uneducated actress, on top of everything.

    Her conclusion is also unbelievable. She complained throughout the whole book that everyone in her life was somehow mean to her, but nevertheless, she finally made it! All by herself! She is unstoppable! I am all for women being confident and happy about themselves, but if you need to bring everyone else down in order to justify what happened to you, than you're just delusional.

    I am just waiting to see if this book will be nominated for Goodreads Choice Awards. I would really be shocked.

  • Jenny Slorach

    This book is just a long list of reasons why it is hard to be a wealthy white actress. Highlights include:

    - Busy listing all of the times she’s been mansplained to, then without a drop of irony explains that Hollywood actresses don’t get maternity leave. For someone who bragged about being a campaign surrogate for Hillary Clinton, you would think she’d have learned a thing or two about the state of parental leave in the US.

    - Busy finding it hilarious that she recently spent $3000 on Disney cru

    This book is just a long list of reasons why it is hard to be a wealthy white actress. Highlights include:

    - Busy listing all of the times she’s been mansplained to, then without a drop of irony explains that Hollywood actresses don’t get maternity leave. For someone who bragged about being a campaign surrogate for Hillary Clinton, you would think she’d have learned a thing or two about the state of parental leave in the US.

    - Busy finding it hilarious that she recently spent $3000 on Disney cruise internet charges, and shrugging it off because her presumably retired parents paid for her trip.

    - Busy’s complaints about having no money for a nanny for her first born child, but paid for and fired a wet nurse for falling asleep at 3am, and used her cleaning lady for childcare.

    Nothing about this memoir was grounded in the real world, and the stories weren’t at all as whimsical and interesting as her persona suggests.

    Don’t bother reading this.

  • Victoria Schwab

    A really surprisingly delightful one.

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