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Silver Linings Playbook, Matthew Quick (2010)

I needed a book like this right now.  I love this book

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Pat Peoples is flawed. Deeply.  His mother managed to get him out of the neural health facility where he has spent an indeterminate (but surely long) amount of time.  He’s stable, but still troubled.  He has adopted an optimistic outlook and is determined to better himself so he may reunite with his estranged wife.

silver liningsPat quickly learns that things have not stayed the same while he was away.  He does not fight the change, but adapting to so much change and having so little control cannot be easy.

Pat meets Tiffany.  She is equally troubled, and although not as unfalteringly optimistic as Pat, she has a good heart.

Matthew Quick, in his debut novel, creates a portrait of imperfect people, doing the best they can. This book is endearing.  This book is sweet.  This is one of the very rare books where I actually felt invested in the characters.  I wanted to see them succeed.  I cheered when they did the best they can, and was heavy-hearted when they faced hardship.

I have not yet seen the movie, but can’t wait until it is released on DVD at the end of the month.  I like Bradley Cooper well enough and love Jennifer Lawrence, so this film is sure to be grand.

Relatedly, and SPOILER ALERT, on Goodreads I had the option to ask Matthew Quick a question. He’ll be selecting questions and responding in a video posted to the site.  Most of the questions posted were completely asinine (am I a genius literary critic, or just a jerk?).  I don’t know why someone would be inspired to post “Why did you choose to write about mental illness in your debut novel?” or “What did you think of the film adaptation?” When those are the same questions set forth in the FIFTY PRIOR POSTS. However, I did have a nagging question from the novel, and decided to post the following question:

I love the theme of optimism and Pat’s positive outlook. I know Pat comes to closure about Nikki, but as the reader I have trouble finding a “silver lining” where she comes out ahead because of her own bad conduct. I saw Nikki as essentially the cause of a lot of Pat’s problems, and here she gets a happy ending I felt she did not deserve. How (if at all) do you reconcile her bad acts with your theme? What are your thoughts on Nikki as “villain”?

If he responds in his video, I’ll let you know!


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