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Audra's Book Club: This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps

Think of your most embarrassing moments in junior high and high school. Think of the lowest lows and highest highs. I have a hard time even remembering mine because they’re so painful. But Busy Philipps, actor, influencer, podcast host, and mom has not only thought about hers but has fearlessly chronicled them for the world in her 2018 memoir, This Will Only Hurt a Little.

I’m still wondering about the title of the book because there’s a lot of pain in the book; it doesn’t just hurt a little. Of course, there is also a lot of joy, laughter, insight, and fun behind-the-scenes dishing. But “this will only hurt a little,” is the lie that doctors, nurses, and parents tell children before something hurts a lot. I didn’t get the sense that Busy was told this lie.

Early in the book, she tells the defining story of her life. She’s 2 or 3 years old and sneaks out of the house and walks around the neighborhood, but not before the police are called and the entire neighborhood is out looking for her.

“If you decided you wanted to do something, you would do it,” Busy’s mom says as she retells the story to Busy. “There was no stopping you.”

“Even at two?” Busy asks.

“Even at two! Even at one! Still! It’s who you are!”

It’s pretty clear in the book that when Busy gets hurt it’s not because adults lied to her. It’s because there’s no stopping her. And I mean this in the best way.

In her first major embarrassing and literally painful moment in junior high, Busy dislocates her knee cap because she leaves her friend group at the junior high dance and ventures into a mosh pit of eighth-grade boys jacked up on the newest hit, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” (This is spring of 1992 and the song had just come out on MTV the previous fall). Needless to say, she gets hurt more than a little.

But that was Busy. No, that is Busy. There’s no stopping her.

Along the way to her inevitable break into Hollywood, she gets hurt again and again, often by boys but sometimes by herself. It’s a powerful, brave telling of growing up without much help from adults (which is why I can’t see any lies about “it only hurting a little”).

My favorite part of the book is Busy’s high school experience because that’s when we met, at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was a wild ride down memory lane: the friends, the acquaintances, the hang-out spots, the general vibe of the suburban Phoenix metro area in the mid-1990s. But most of all, I remember Busy as a rare kid who truly did things her own way. It was no surprise to me when she broke it big in "Freaks & Geeks."

When her career really kicks off in the book, we get a candid (or what feels like a candid) take on what it’s like to make one’s way through the entertainment industry. If you’re interested in what a jerk James Franco is or how producers in Hollywood can be dysfunctional humans then there’s plenty for you to enjoy.

But the real heart of the book are the parts that have nothing to do with acting or being famous. There’s a heartbreaking scene of her in high school cuddling with her weeping parents after they find out all of the illicit things she’s been up to. She writes powerfully about the abortion in high school (that she’s since been so open about). The traumatic birth of her first child, Birdy, is both exhilarating and excruciating.

The book ends with her absolutely sure that she’s supposed to be the first female host of the Tonight Show. She recognizes that it’s an incredible dream, but she’s done a lot of incredible things since she took off around the block at age two.

So much has happened this book was published: she got her own late-night talk show (not "The Tonight Show" but "Busy Tonight"), it got canceled, she moved to New York City, started a hit podcast (“Busy Philipps is Doing Her Best”), and is now starring on the hilarious Tina Faye-produced "Girls5eva."

She recently said on her podcast that she’ll never write another book, but I for one hope that’s not true. Her therapeutic, self-healing journey, which we talk with her about in episode 24 of the Yes Collective Podcast, her political activism, the coming out of her child Birdy as non-binary, all leaves so much more for her to write about.

For now, we’re left with just one book. And it’s a beautiful one at that.

Audra's Book Club: This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps

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Audra's Book Club: This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps

Co-Founder Justin Wilford, PhD shares his thoughts on Busy Philipps' book, This Will Only Hurt a Little.

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Key takeaways

1

Busy Philipps, actor, influencer, podcast host, and mom, published a memoir in 2018

2

In it, she writes about adolescent trauma, the highs and lows of the entertainment industry, and motherhood

3

You can hear more from Busy in episode 24 of the Yes Collective Podcast

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Think of your most embarrassing moments in junior high and high school. Think of the lowest lows and highest highs. I have a hard time even remembering mine because they’re so painful. But Busy Philipps, actor, influencer, podcast host, and mom has not only thought about hers but has fearlessly chronicled them for the world in her 2018 memoir, This Will Only Hurt a Little.

I’m still wondering about the title of the book because there’s a lot of pain in the book; it doesn’t just hurt a little. Of course, there is also a lot of joy, laughter, insight, and fun behind-the-scenes dishing. But “this will only hurt a little,” is the lie that doctors, nurses, and parents tell children before something hurts a lot. I didn’t get the sense that Busy was told this lie.

Early in the book, she tells the defining story of her life. She’s 2 or 3 years old and sneaks out of the house and walks around the neighborhood, but not before the police are called and the entire neighborhood is out looking for her.

“If you decided you wanted to do something, you would do it,” Busy’s mom says as she retells the story to Busy. “There was no stopping you.”

“Even at two?” Busy asks.

“Even at two! Even at one! Still! It’s who you are!”

It’s pretty clear in the book that when Busy gets hurt it’s not because adults lied to her. It’s because there’s no stopping her. And I mean this in the best way.

In her first major embarrassing and literally painful moment in junior high, Busy dislocates her knee cap because she leaves her friend group at the junior high dance and ventures into a mosh pit of eighth-grade boys jacked up on the newest hit, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” (This is spring of 1992 and the song had just come out on MTV the previous fall). Needless to say, she gets hurt more than a little.

But that was Busy. No, that is Busy. There’s no stopping her.

Along the way to her inevitable break into Hollywood, she gets hurt again and again, often by boys but sometimes by herself. It’s a powerful, brave telling of growing up without much help from adults (which is why I can’t see any lies about “it only hurting a little”).

My favorite part of the book is Busy’s high school experience because that’s when we met, at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was a wild ride down memory lane: the friends, the acquaintances, the hang-out spots, the general vibe of the suburban Phoenix metro area in the mid-1990s. But most of all, I remember Busy as a rare kid who truly did things her own way. It was no surprise to me when she broke it big in "Freaks & Geeks."

When her career really kicks off in the book, we get a candid (or what feels like a candid) take on what it’s like to make one’s way through the entertainment industry. If you’re interested in what a jerk James Franco is or how producers in Hollywood can be dysfunctional humans then there’s plenty for you to enjoy.

But the real heart of the book are the parts that have nothing to do with acting or being famous. There’s a heartbreaking scene of her in high school cuddling with her weeping parents after they find out all of the illicit things she’s been up to. She writes powerfully about the abortion in high school (that she’s since been so open about). The traumatic birth of her first child, Birdy, is both exhilarating and excruciating.

The book ends with her absolutely sure that she’s supposed to be the first female host of the Tonight Show. She recognizes that it’s an incredible dream, but she’s done a lot of incredible things since she took off around the block at age two.

So much has happened this book was published: she got her own late-night talk show (not "The Tonight Show" but "Busy Tonight"), it got canceled, she moved to New York City, started a hit podcast (“Busy Philipps is Doing Her Best”), and is now starring on the hilarious Tina Faye-produced "Girls5eva."

She recently said on her podcast that she’ll never write another book, but I for one hope that’s not true. Her therapeutic, self-healing journey, which we talk with her about in episode 24 of the Yes Collective Podcast, her political activism, the coming out of her child Birdy as non-binary, all leaves so much more for her to write about.

For now, we’re left with just one book. And it’s a beautiful one at that.

Think of your most embarrassing moments in junior high and high school. Think of the lowest lows and highest highs. I have a hard time even remembering mine because they’re so painful. But Busy Philipps, actor, influencer, podcast host, and mom has not only thought about hers but has fearlessly chronicled them for the world in her 2018 memoir, This Will Only Hurt a Little.

I’m still wondering about the title of the book because there’s a lot of pain in the book; it doesn’t just hurt a little. Of course, there is also a lot of joy, laughter, insight, and fun behind-the-scenes dishing. But “this will only hurt a little,” is the lie that doctors, nurses, and parents tell children before something hurts a lot. I didn’t get the sense that Busy was told this lie.

Early in the book, she tells the defining story of her life. She’s 2 or 3 years old and sneaks out of the house and walks around the neighborhood, but not before the police are called and the entire neighborhood is out looking for her.

“If you decided you wanted to do something, you would do it,” Busy’s mom says as she retells the story to Busy. “There was no stopping you.”

“Even at two?” Busy asks.

“Even at two! Even at one! Still! It’s who you are!”

It’s pretty clear in the book that when Busy gets hurt it’s not because adults lied to her. It’s because there’s no stopping her. And I mean this in the best way.

In her first major embarrassing and literally painful moment in junior high, Busy dislocates her knee cap because she leaves her friend group at the junior high dance and ventures into a mosh pit of eighth-grade boys jacked up on the newest hit, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” (This is spring of 1992 and the song had just come out on MTV the previous fall). Needless to say, she gets hurt more than a little.

But that was Busy. No, that is Busy. There’s no stopping her.

Along the way to her inevitable break into Hollywood, she gets hurt again and again, often by boys but sometimes by herself. It’s a powerful, brave telling of growing up without much help from adults (which is why I can’t see any lies about “it only hurting a little”).

My favorite part of the book is Busy’s high school experience because that’s when we met, at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was a wild ride down memory lane: the friends, the acquaintances, the hang-out spots, the general vibe of the suburban Phoenix metro area in the mid-1990s. But most of all, I remember Busy as a rare kid who truly did things her own way. It was no surprise to me when she broke it big in "Freaks & Geeks."

When her career really kicks off in the book, we get a candid (or what feels like a candid) take on what it’s like to make one’s way through the entertainment industry. If you’re interested in what a jerk James Franco is or how producers in Hollywood can be dysfunctional humans then there’s plenty for you to enjoy.

But the real heart of the book are the parts that have nothing to do with acting or being famous. There’s a heartbreaking scene of her in high school cuddling with her weeping parents after they find out all of the illicit things she’s been up to. She writes powerfully about the abortion in high school (that she’s since been so open about). The traumatic birth of her first child, Birdy, is both exhilarating and excruciating.

The book ends with her absolutely sure that she’s supposed to be the first female host of the Tonight Show. She recognizes that it’s an incredible dream, but she’s done a lot of incredible things since she took off around the block at age two.

So much has happened this book was published: she got her own late-night talk show (not "The Tonight Show" but "Busy Tonight"), it got canceled, she moved to New York City, started a hit podcast (“Busy Philipps is Doing Her Best”), and is now starring on the hilarious Tina Faye-produced "Girls5eva."

She recently said on her podcast that she’ll never write another book, but I for one hope that’s not true. Her therapeutic, self-healing journey, which we talk with her about in episode 24 of the Yes Collective Podcast, her political activism, the coming out of her child Birdy as non-binary, all leaves so much more for her to write about.

For now, we’re left with just one book. And it’s a beautiful one at that.

Think of your most embarrassing moments in junior high and high school. Think of the lowest lows and highest highs. I have a hard time even remembering mine because they’re so painful. But Busy Philipps, actor, influencer, podcast host, and mom has not only thought about hers but has fearlessly chronicled them for the world in her 2018 memoir, This Will Only Hurt a Little.

I’m still wondering about the title of the book because there’s a lot of pain in the book; it doesn’t just hurt a little. Of course, there is also a lot of joy, laughter, insight, and fun behind-the-scenes dishing. But “this will only hurt a little,” is the lie that doctors, nurses, and parents tell children before something hurts a lot. I didn’t get the sense that Busy was told this lie.

Early in the book, she tells the defining story of her life. She’s 2 or 3 years old and sneaks out of the house and walks around the neighborhood, but not before the police are called and the entire neighborhood is out looking for her.

“If you decided you wanted to do something, you would do it,” Busy’s mom says as she retells the story to Busy. “There was no stopping you.”

“Even at two?” Busy asks.

“Even at two! Even at one! Still! It’s who you are!”

It’s pretty clear in the book that when Busy gets hurt it’s not because adults lied to her. It’s because there’s no stopping her. And I mean this in the best way.

In her first major embarrassing and literally painful moment in junior high, Busy dislocates her knee cap because she leaves her friend group at the junior high dance and ventures into a mosh pit of eighth-grade boys jacked up on the newest hit, “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” (This is spring of 1992 and the song had just come out on MTV the previous fall). Needless to say, she gets hurt more than a little.

But that was Busy. No, that is Busy. There’s no stopping her.

Along the way to her inevitable break into Hollywood, she gets hurt again and again, often by boys but sometimes by herself. It’s a powerful, brave telling of growing up without much help from adults (which is why I can’t see any lies about “it only hurting a little”).

My favorite part of the book is Busy’s high school experience because that’s when we met, at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. It was a wild ride down memory lane: the friends, the acquaintances, the hang-out spots, the general vibe of the suburban Phoenix metro area in the mid-1990s. But most of all, I remember Busy as a rare kid who truly did things her own way. It was no surprise to me when she broke it big in "Freaks & Geeks."

When her career really kicks off in the book, we get a candid (or what feels like a candid) take on what it’s like to make one’s way through the entertainment industry. If you’re interested in what a jerk James Franco is or how producers in Hollywood can be dysfunctional humans then there’s plenty for you to enjoy.

But the real heart of the book are the parts that have nothing to do with acting or being famous. There’s a heartbreaking scene of her in high school cuddling with her weeping parents after they find out all of the illicit things she’s been up to. She writes powerfully about the abortion in high school (that she’s since been so open about). The traumatic birth of her first child, Birdy, is both exhilarating and excruciating.

The book ends with her absolutely sure that she’s supposed to be the first female host of the Tonight Show. She recognizes that it’s an incredible dream, but she’s done a lot of incredible things since she took off around the block at age two.

So much has happened this book was published: she got her own late-night talk show (not "The Tonight Show" but "Busy Tonight"), it got canceled, she moved to New York City, started a hit podcast (“Busy Philipps is Doing Her Best”), and is now starring on the hilarious Tina Faye-produced "Girls5eva."

She recently said on her podcast that she’ll never write another book, but I for one hope that’s not true. Her therapeutic, self-healing journey, which we talk with her about in episode 24 of the Yes Collective Podcast, her political activism, the coming out of her child Birdy as non-binary, all leaves so much more for her to write about.

For now, we’re left with just one book. And it’s a beautiful one at that.

Enjoying this article? Subscribe to the Yes Collective for more expert emotional wellness just for parents.

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