The Silver Linings Playbook – Matthew Quick
Meet Pat. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure a happy ending for him—the return of his estranged wife Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent time in a mental health facility.) The problem is, Pat's now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he's being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; and his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he's being hunted by Kenny G!
In this enchanting novel, Matthew Quick takes us inside Pat's mind, showing us the world from his distorted yet endearing perspective. As the award-winning novelist Justin Cronin put it: "Tender, soulful, hilarious, and true, The Silver Linings Playbook is a wonderful debut."
Review: A football fanatic named Pat has just been released from a neural health facility. He’s eager to reconcile with his ex-wife and get back to watching his favorite football team, but the world seems so different. He soon learns that he has been in the facility for four years, and he can’t remember what happened during that time.
I went into this book knowing nothing about it. I haven’t seen the movie, and I didn’t read the synopsis, but a lot of people have recommended this book to me, so I thought, Why not?
I was pleasantly surprised. The story is so quirky that I flew through it. I finished most of the book in a day because I couldn’t put it down. It’s a quick and entertaining read.
Pat is an unusual narrator. He’s 35 years old, but he has the mind of a child. I enjoyed seeing the world from his perspective and reading about his family dynamics. He’s very reliant on his mother and brother, but his father wants nothing to do with him. The only time that his father will speak to him is when they are watching football. It’s an interesting relationship. I felt bad for Pat because he really wants to please his father, but his father isn’t interested in interacting with him.
I really like that this book gives the reader a glimpse into “football culture.” I’m not a football fan, but I know that some people take it very seriously. The scenes of Pat and his family during the games are intense, hilarious, and believable.
Even though I enjoyed reading from Pat’s point-of-view, I found the inconsistencies in his character frustrating. The author never tells the reader why Pat is so childish. Before Pat went into the neural health facility, he had a wife, a job, a house, and a college education. I assumed that his childishness came from a brain injury/brain damage that he got as an adult. But, the author never says, and Pat’s behavior is inconsistent. For example, he’s capable of reading and understanding classic American literature, but he has a very childish vocabulary. Also, he can analyze the complex plots of books, but he easily believes that a burglar broke in and stole nothing but his wedding photos. That seems odd to me. Not fully understanding Pat’s behavior was frustrating enough to distract me from the story.
Overall, I did like this peculiar book. Reading it has made me curious about the movie. I’ve heard that it’s very good, so I’ll have to track down a copy.