Sunday, 26 May 2013

The Silver Linings Playbook, Mathew Quick - The Review

I do see why Nikki likes the novel, as it’s written so well. But her liking it makes me worry now that Nikki doesn’t really believe in silver linings, because she says The Great Gatsby is the greatest novel ever written by an American, and yet it ends so sadly. One thing’s for sure, Nikki is going to be very proud of me when I tell her I finally read her favorite book.

A walk through the mind and life of Pat Peoples - a recent graduate, out of a mental
institution - as he works with a single-minded purpose to improve himself physically
and intellectually in order to win back his wife.

The Concept
How is a genuinely optimistic guy, who has spent the last four years - most of which
he doesn't remember - in a mental institution, supposed to deal with his unbelievably
pessimistic family, friends and even therapist who seem to think that the movie which
is his life won't end up with him getting the girl?

The Writing
A quick and easy read all through. Lighthearted and very funny most of the time. Sad
and emotional some of the time.

Pat seems to be relating his experiences as they occur - in a diary format - so deep
into the book when it is clear he's only retelling the movie after it has played, I can't
help but feel betrayed. Possible explanation: he stopped writing the 'dairy' when he
gave it away and added the other bits later. Doesn't convince.

The Story
Pat's mum manages to convince his therapist, by way of a court order, to check him
out of the 'bad place', and he moves back home to live with his parents and straight
away gets on with the business of sculpting his body and enlightening his mind so he
can be a better husband once 'apart time' is over and the time for his inevitable reunion
with Nikki arrives.

In the meantime he has to deal with his father, whose moods seem to be determined
by the results of an American football team, the Philadelphia Eagles, with his brother,
who in the short time that Pat has been away at the 'bad place' seems to have built for
himself a completely new life, but would still make time to take him to Eagles games,
with a new therapist, who is his therapist only when he's sitting in the therapist chair,
and the rest of the time, just a fellow Eagles fan, with his former best friend and his
wife who now have a baby girl and are trying it seems to set him up with the recently
bereaved, and similarly crazy sister of the wife, with this Tiffany who after getting her
offer of sex on the first date rejected, starts showing up, and shadowing him when he
goes for his daily runs, and with all the other little things the a person who is not fully
well in the mind has to deal with.

Yeah, little things like the imaginary but monstrous jazz saxophonist Kenny G, and

The Resolution
Maybe God isn't such a bad script writer after all, and his movie would have the
happily ever after ending he knows he deserves.

It can't be any other way, can it?

The Verdict
It is a fun read with enough moments when the book plays emotional football with
your heart. It is funny to read, very well written, and allows you a walk through the
mind of a sometimes mentally challenged, but mostly normal individual.

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