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Generation Friends: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Television Era
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Generation Friends: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Television Era

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3.74  ·  Rating details ·  1,514 ratings  ·  250 reviews
A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Friends, published for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the show’s premiere, including brand-new interviews with the series creators

In September 1994, six friends sat down in their favorite coffee shop and began bantering. A quarter of a century later, new fans are still finding their way into the lives of Rachel, Ross, Joey, Chandler
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Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 17th 2019 by Penguin Random House
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Erin Yes and no. I'm about 1/3 through Generation Friends, and so far it's a lot more about the actual production and mechanics of the show, where I'll Be …moreYes and no. I'm about 1/3 through Generation Friends, and so far it's a lot more about the actual production and mechanics of the show, where I'll Be There for You talked more about the social impact and some of the cultural implications (i.e., Fat Monica and why Chandler couldn't just be gay), as well as the author's personal experiences as a fan of the show. Both books are excellent, though, especially if you're a Friends fan who enjoys lots of inside knowledge and trivia!(less)
Sarah - All The Book Blog Names Are Taken He definitely got a lot of facts wrong in this book, the threesome never happened except in the 'what-if' episode, so no, as others also said. There w…moreHe definitely got a lot of facts wrong in this book, the threesome never happened except in the 'what-if' episode, so no, as others also said. There were so, so many mistakes in this book. I am as die-hard a fan as they come and I deeply regret wasting time reading this one. (less)

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Kate Vocke (bookapotamus)
Sep 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My first thought when I saw this book was coming out? ‘Oh. My. Gawd.’ And then, “How You Doin’?” Could I BE any more excited? Nope. I don’t think I could. It’s a 'Moo' point. This book, Would Be Perfection. This book, will be my Lobster. We will go together like a Chick and a Duck because it’s not that common, it doesn’t happen to every guy and it IS a big deal!!

You’re going to want to be ‘On a Break’ and summon all your UNAGI when you dive into this one because you will gobble it up like teenag
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Ellie
If you're a Friends fanatic--as I am--then this book is a must read. I was already familiar with some of the information here of course having read everything else I could find on the subject but Austerlitz offers interesting analysis of the Friends' phenomena here in the U.S. and across the world. This sit com from the 90s continues to be popular with new generations. Why?

Austerlitz finds the answer in the world presented in Friends. It's one of belonging, of finding one's way into adulthood wi
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Laura • lauralovestoread
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
I grew up watching FRIENDS, and still find myself drawn in to watch the show if it’s on. I knew I needed to read this book, to get all of the behind the scenes details.

I loved that some of the influences of the show creators were represented in Phoebe, Chandler and Monica. I can’t imagine the characters being represented by any other actor, so that was interesting to learn that som of the actresses auditioned for other characters for the show!

*Thank you to the publisher for the gifted copy for
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Lauren
Sep 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
Its hard to take a “Friends” book seriously when there are a few glaring mistakes regarding plotlines and episodes!
Beth
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
While parts of this book are a lot of fun for a friends superfan like me, I feel this author just doesn’t get it. I was expecting some behind the scenes gossip and show facts and that would have been really good to me. What it actually was turned into a TON of stupid opinions by this obviously liberal idiot author and at least four stupidly mentioned digs on the president of the United States. Automatic deductions of Stars for those comments. I hate that more than anything in a book. To me this ...more
Suzanne
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was ok
Meh. I think any book that attempts to go in-depth into the Friends phenomenon without the participation of the six main cast members is going to be lacking. This book goes into some of the minutiae of creating, writing and producing the show but there isn't much here that hasn't been published elsewhere before. As a diehard Friends fan, I was hoping for nuggets I didn't already know. I was also perplexed by the author's propensity for going on (for paragraphs and sometimes pages) about the plot ...more
Bookgirl
Sep 22, 2019 rated it did not like it
Other than details of how the writers worked, there isn't much here that I didn't already know. Why he inserted his political views into a book about a T.V. show is beyond me. However, the real kicker is the numerous mistakes he makes when recounting (unnecessarily) details of episodes. He goes on and on about what happens in the episodes instead of telling what happened behind the scenes. Just a waste of time and money. ...more
Alyssa Halye
Jan 22, 2020 rated it liked it
I would give this book a better review if the author didn’t feel the need to include their political opinion multiple times.
Lyndsey thelittlereadingmermaid
holy nostalgia!
I consider myself to be a FRIENDS superfan, okay? i’ve seen each episode well over 100 times, and I STILL laugh at Chandler’s jokes, Rachel’s ditziness, Phoebe’s eccentric personality, Joey’s blonde moments, Monica’s antics, and Ross’s hopeless romantic gestures. I was beyond excited when I saw this book was being released because I had hoped it would dive further into the behind the scenes life of FRIENDS than a certain other book released last year had.
This book exceeded my expe
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Paige Connell
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, humor
This book, like gum, is perfection. When you read it, you've found your lobster. You'll want to PIVOT into your favorite chair and dive into it. Could it BE any more fulfilling for a Friends fan? You won't want to be on a break from any of the chapters. The 5th dentist caved, and they're all recommending that you read this book. If I could give it more than 5 stars, I would definitely give it 7...7...7... SEVEN...seven.

If you have any nostalgia and knowledge of Friends from the 90s and early 200
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Troszt Tamás
Aug 15, 2020 rated it did not like it
Awful, awful... I wanted to give 2 stars (there were some interresting facts about the show), but holy hell that last chapter... Half the book is just the synopsis of some episodes with no added value (it feels like a fifth graders poem analysis. Guess he had to hit a word count) . The other half is a political rant. How many times can you shove in a book how they didn't have black friends, how racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, misogynistic the show is. Why do I have to read about BLM, Tr ...more
Kari
Nov 24, 2019 rated it liked it
A lot of repetition and some errors. Sometimes I felt like he didn't really watch the show but just did research on it for the book. And I didnt care for his political views being sprinkled in. Irrelevant to the subject matter. I picked up the book to read about a favorite show. I could care less what the author's political bent is. Moving on, it was an enjoyable read minus the irrelevant and erroneous content. ...more
Leah Lawson
Sep 27, 2019 rated it liked it
This is the second book in the last year that I have read about Friends. I enjoyed reading this one much more. If felt less political and more about the actual show and actors/actresses.
Janet
Sep 05, 2019 rated it liked it

When you don't have a car for a month due to a predatory car insurance industry, you can get a LOT of reading done!!

I received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.

A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at Friends, published for the twenty-fifth anniversary of the show's premiere. Howyoudo
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Tisha (IG: Bluestocking629)
Aug 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Ugh. I'm so torn on this book. Parts of it are five star worthy, in fact I would even shake hands with the author as these parts were so good. Then there are other parts that, I felt, barely deserved 3 stars, in fact I'd like to throat punch (not for real) the author.

So I'll average out the hand shake and throat punch. Four stars.
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Sveta
Jun 07, 2021 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The first chapters were pretty interesting with the actual information about the pre-production of the show. The rest of the book is just a meaningless re-telling of Rachel and Ross's story without any additional details (just watch the show again, seriously). It could be a good article, but as a whole book it's very weak. ...more
Claire
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received Generation Friends as part of a Goodreads giveaway.

On the 25th anniversary of its premiere, Saul Austerlitz recounts the background, meteoric popularity, and aftermath of Friends. Overviews of episodes and story arcs, interviews with creators and writers, and related information about the cast and crew give a well-rounded portrait of the ratings juggernaut.

As someone who adored Friends as a teenager, I really enjoyed this. There were some stories I knew backward and forwards; others I
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Ramon van Dam
Feb 29, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is a bit of a mixed bag. As a major fan of the show I'll happily read anything that can give me new insights into the world-wide phenomenon that had a big footprint in my teenage years, but to be honest the actual quality of the writing isn't up to par.

Austerlitz brings some new information to the table, he definitely did good research by talking to a lot of people that were very involved in the creation of the series. That alone made the read worthwhile to me, although large sections
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Rebecca Brenner Graham
I just finished reading Generation Friends by Saul Austerlitz. I’d been reading it off & on since last November when I bought it from Strand. tough not to compare it to I’ll Be There for You by Kelsey Miller because I’ll Be There for You was WAYYY better imho. I loved Kelsey Miller’s mix of memoir w/ sociopolitical analysis re: gender, race, etc. in contrast, Generation Friends was a summary of the show and swung & missed a few times.
Ben Lund
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What can I say, I liked this book. I'm the guy that has Friends on in the background while I'm cleaning up, or has it on while I eat my breakfast. It's fun, it's familiar, and I know what I'm going to get. The same goes for this book, I knew what I was getting into when I picked it up. I wasn't looking for the "rumours" or the "gossip" of the show. That has been throughly covered by the tabloids. I wanted to know why Friends is the way it is. I can't think of any other show that had 10 consisten ...more
Hannah Nagle
Feb 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I really enjoyed this and found it to be a much better read than I'll Be There for You: The One about Friends.

This is less trivia and more about the process - how FRIENDS started and how it got to where it is today. It highlights the show's shortcomings (i.e., whitewashing, homophobia, transphobia) and refuses to justify those decisions in the show by stating "yes, the show should have done better.

I felt like I'll Be There for You: The One about Friends was more like a Wikipedia page about the
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Tori
Apr 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I took a break from listening to my mysteries on audio, and chose this one instead. For any fan of Friends, this was a very interesting program. I never saw the show when it was in its heyday - i was afraid it was probably too risqué for our kids.......But, since that time, I have seen every episode a few times. If I were to start the series again today, I think there is probably something in every episode that would make me laugh out loud. Austerlitz did a great job compiling SO much informatio ...more
Heather McC
Oct 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Saul Austerlitz does his very best to commemorate Friends' 25th anniversary and while his book does serve as a love letter of sorts to the beloved TV show of the mid 90s and early aughts, the book falls short in terms of getting little details correct in quite a few instances. It wouldn't take very much for a superfan to notice referenced storylines that are not quite accurate, or pieces of character backstory that do not add up with what viewers originally saw. Ultimately, a commemorative book ...more
Jenny Leitsch
Sep 30, 2019 rated it liked it
A fun, fast read. Not as juicy as I hoped, but I did enjoy a peek into the life of a television writer. I also liked the analysis of why the show was an audience favorite when it originally aired versus why audiences like it now. Interesting social commentary. Definitely a worthy read for fans of the show!
Jim
Feb 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Not being a superfan, yet having watched many episodes and enjoyed them, I found this somewhat interesting and informative, especially about how these types of shows are created. I was expecting a little more gossipy insider stuff, and you do get a bit of that, but this is perhaps more for the serious fan. It did bring back some enjoyable memories, so there was that.
Rachel
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Could this book BE more awesome?!?
Elizabeth
Jan 06, 2020 marked it as to-read
I had to stop because of the hold list at the library, but what I've read so far I've really enjoyed! ...more
Jen
Mar 31, 2020 rated it liked it
An interesting account of how a show comes together. Brought back fond memories of the show. Sometimes it's more fun NOT to think about how it would hold up today and all the things it may have done wrong. It was meant to be an escape and entertainment. ...more
Tina
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a fun walk down memory lane, and I appreciated reliving some of the episodes I remember watching years ago, and also adding to my knowledge of Friends by hearing some behind the scenes details for the first time.
Laura Hill
Jul 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: humor, non-fiction
Thank you to Penguin Group Dutton and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on September 17th, 2019.

A fun read for those of us who are big Friends fans (and apparently there are a lot of us). I’m not a big TV person — I don’t have cable, and usually just watch a single movie on DVD at night — but I loved Friends, owned all the DVDs, and it was definitely my go to in times of stress. I just never realized how popular it w
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I am the author of the upcoming Generation Friends: An Inside Look at the Show That Defined a Television Era (Dutton, September 2019), which is an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at Friends, just in time for the show's 25th anniversary.

I am a freelance writer, and my work has been published in the New York Times, New York Times Magazine, Esquire, Rolling Stone, the Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times
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