Sunday, July 20, 2014

Silver Linings Playbook (review)

4/5 stars

Silver Linings Playbook (Goodread | Amazon) is the third Matthew Quick book I've read.  All 3 have been excellent, I love his simple, no-nonsense but clever writing style. Personally, I think he's reached my instant-read list. Silver Lining Playbook follows post-mental breakdown Pat as he tries to put his life back together after being released from a mental health facility. As a character, he comes across younger than his age but in this novel it works because he's struggling with mental illness and refusing to deal with reality.  His only goal is win back his ex-wife Nikki, by any means possible (losing weight, reading the books she's read, improving himself).
"I am practicing being kind rather than right, so Nikki will be able to love me again when apart time is over."
This book has an interesting and believable cast of characters, from his sports-loving therapist, to a mother who just wants to fix her son and most-importantly the second main character, Tiffany who is also struggling with mental illness. All of the characters have their flaws, each broken in their own way but most are trying to help and support each other.

Because I am a huge sports fan, I loved the way sports were handled in this novel.  The camaraderie surrounding the Philadelphia Eagle's team, the way the family's mood was impacted it and the support Pat had from practical-strangers because they shared this love was something that was delightfully realistic and hit close to home for me.
"I think all it takes for different people to get along is a common rooting interest and a few beers."
We've reached the point where reviewing this book seems like a moot point.  Everyone (but maybe me) has watched the movie or at least knows the basic plotline.  The book is superb, a surprisingly near-perfect debut novel (and as a reader of many debut novels, they're rarely this flawless).  Quick writes accessible, clever books that are simultaneously easy to read and make you think.  As far as I'm concerned, everyone should check out his books.

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