Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

In The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, we meet Pat just as he is released from a mental institution, or as he calls it, “the bad place.” Pat’s goal in life is to better himself for when his “apart time” with his wife, Nikki, is over. To do this, he obsessively exercises and reads the books that she assigns to her high school English students to prove that he is intellectual. His reactions to these books are quite humorous as he thinks all books should have happy endings.

Since he is sure that there is always a silver lining in life, there is no doubt that he will eventually reunite with Nikki when she realizes how much he has improved himself. It is quickly apparent that Pat has blocked some memory of his separation from his wife based on his family and friends’ reactions to his quest to win her back. He is convinced that his psychiatrist is trying to convince him to commit adultery for suggesting he pursue a relationship with a woman introduced to him by a friend. Oh, and he also has an immediate and violent reaction to the music of Kenny G.

Quick narrates the novel from Pat’s point-of-view, and the result is both humorous and touching. The reader discovers the truth about Pat’s history while he is reconnecting with his memories. Quick’s description of the family dynamic as Pat’s parents adjust to having him live with them is authentic and moving. Anyone who has experience with hard core sports fans will enjoy the depiction of the family’s obsession with Philadelphia Eagles football and the ways in which this pastime both unites and estranges Pat with his father and brother.

Search the VBPL Catalog for The Silver Linings Playbook and other books by Matthew Quick. Also be sure to check out Jennifer Lawrence's Oscar-winning performance in the recent film adaptation. You might also enjoy Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain, a novel that offers a unique perspective and a provocative examination of American culture.

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