Silver Lining's Playbook by Matthew Quick
Published September 2, 2008 by Sarah Crichton Books
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; 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.
I kind of admit that I had a hard time trying to write this post. I think I needed some time to sort my feelings about this book as it was a surprisingly short read. Sometimes when I read shorter stories, I feel like I don't leave myself enough time to sort out my feelings and I really ought to stop and write notes about passages and pages, but I guess I'm not that kind of reader. Anyways…
Silver Linings Playbook is what I describe as an honest story and I really appreciate Matthew Quick's very real characters. The book is a work of fiction but the characters feel like they were plucked out of our own world. These are characters that have their own issues, are flawed and lead very similar lives to our owns. Their actions are eerily real to what we see in ourselves - it's actually quite eerie.
If there's anything I really want to say, it's this: this book reveals to us what we do and don't understand about mental illness. Years back, we understood very little about the chemical imbalances that occur in our brain but now we can read this book and see the world from Pat Person's perspective… And we learn that it's quite beautiful, despite the fact that we see his mother crying all the time. Of course not everything is this book is happiness and sunshine, but of course, everyone in this book is striving for happiness of some sort and that's a superb message to convey. What I also love is that you're never really revealed to what diagnoses was given to Pat about his condition - only left to speculate. This is entirely important to the story as without that knowledge, the audience isn't given any basis for any sort of bias.
Things I didn't like about this book? I pretty much hated most of the female characters. Don't get me wrong, characters like Tiffany were written to be despised - that's what made this book so real, but despite her own hardships, I still couldn't sympathize with her. I disliked Pat's mother and her lack of backbone. Girls aside, I hated Pat's father as his entire existence revolved around football. Yes, let's be abusive because our favourite team lost. It drove me batty and was entirely ridiculous. Are football fans that crazy?!
Rant ending, I enjoyed most of this book. I think that stories like this one really gives the audience an ability to throw their ignorances about the subject matter out the door and just take a moment to go inside someone else's head. I think if you want to read something that feels incredibly real, raw and completely honest, Silver Linings Playbook is right up your alley.
Rating: 3.5/5 Bookworms