Book 17: The Silver Linings Playbook

Courtesy of Goodreads

Title: The Silver Linings Playbook

Author: Matthew Quick

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Mental Illness

Summary: What the back cover says

“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”

Edition: Sarah Crichton Books, Paperback, 289 Pages

Eaten Thru On: 12:15am August 27, 2014


Thoughts:

This felt like a grown-up version of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. I absolutely relished the experience, as short as it was (since I tore through it like I did The Perks). It was an easy and enjoyable read. The vocabulary was simple but don’t let that fool you into thinking its content is as well. There were times I was taken aback by the sudden drop into the dark depths of a mind plagued by ghosts and suppressed memories.

I loved having that first-person narrative. Pat sounding like a 10-year-old most of the time, his obsession with Nikki, his repetition of his nice-vs-right mantra, his incomprehension over tragic endings, his sensitivity over jokes about pills and mental illnesses, his hurt over not being trusted, these all created a very human image of what it’s like to live with a mental illness.

I adored Tiffany, but maybe that’s because I broke one of my cardinal rules of not watching the movie before reading the book. Plus, even if I didn’t do that, the cover kind of ruins it all by having half of Jennifer Lawrence’s face on it. I am huge JLaw fan so I might be very biased toward Tiffanny because I have JLaw in my mind every time the character comes up in the book. Or perhaps, the story of her past in that letter she wrote was the only point in the book that triggered tears.

I re-watched the movie after finishing this book. I understand they made it a much more feel-good version than what was in the book, but my goodness do I like the movie version of Pat’s dad way better. I didn’t like the book version of him one bit. I hated the emotional abuse he put the mother through. I hated the way he treated Pat. I hated the Eagles because of him. I just genuinely did not like him as a person. There were no redeeming qualities about the man, not even the emotions at the wedding or the sports newspaper on the stairs could save him from my strong dislike. But I was also frustrated with the mom for not standing up for herself. Yes, she tried, but she also crumbled faster than a wall of sand. Cliff, on the other hand, I loved as well, the 50 Indians of the Asian Invasion. Jake, Scott, and even the fat men, they were fantastic.

Ultimately, I just really liked the human light Quick shed on mental illness. He didn’t make it the focal point. He didn’t let it overwhelm the story. He didn’t fill it with tragedy so you would pity the characters. It was a story about a guy, and his family and friends, and a girl. Quick made Pat and Tiffany quirky and strange in some ways and their lives ordinarily extraordinary. It’s a heartwarming, funny, sailor-mouthed story with honest emotions and silver linings.


Favourite Passages:

“Because he has never been married and he has never lost someone like Nikki and he is not trying to improve his life at all, because he doesn’t even feel the war that goes on in my chest every single f*cking day–the chemical explosions that light up my skull like the Fourth of July and the awful needs and impulses” Page 109

“You look like a retarded snake! you are supposed to crawl with your arms–not slither and wiggle or whatever the f*ck you are doing down there.” Page 192

” “Why can’t I just wear a shirt?”

“Does the sun wear a shirt?”

The sun does not wear yellow tights either, but I do not say so.” Page 198

“The possibility of miracles happening keeps a lot of people moving forward.” Page 234


Final Verdict: 4/5 silver linings

Recommended For: anyone who enjoyed The Perks, the movie, anyone who wants a nice, quick read.

Next Target: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

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2 thoughts on “Book 17: The Silver Linings Playbook

  1. Hey there! Great review. 🙂 Made me want to read the book, if only for the purpose of seeing Pat’s inner mind. I enjoyed the movie but I felt that Nikki’s character was flat (a woman doesnt have to be a heartless snake who “never loved” Pat in order to cheat and then leave him.) Also, I didnt like the way the movie seemed to smooth over the significance of Pat transferring his affections/loyalty to Tiffany instead of Nikki. It is a big deal to give up on your wife, especially after investing as much as Pat did in winning her back. I also would have like to see what changed in the Pat/Tiffany dynamic after Pat was openly devoted to her. Tiffany seems like a girl who isnt comfortable being held too tightly and Pat seems like the kind of guy who latches on pretty quick. In short, the ending of the movie felt a bit contrived and unbelievable, from an emotional/relational perspective, which is huge, considering the book is a psychological drama. The book probably covers these issues more thoroughly? Do you have any thoughts?

    • Thanks! Although I am a huge, giant fan of JLaw, the book definitely did a much better job with the story (as books always do). For Nikki, she’s simply a lens through which to look at Pat. In the book (SPOILER ALERT), she actually does not physically come into the story. She’s all really just part of Pat’s thought process and motivation. So, if you look at her as a character, she will fall flat in the book. But that’s because she isn’t portrayed in all her glory but rather through Pat’s narrow extremely biased interpretation (SPOILER ENDS).

      As for the end of the movie, that is not how the book ends. There is still quite a bit after that whole dance competition. So the movie made it seem like everything was all fine and dandy, and rainbows and unicorns fill their lives after they won, but the actual story isn’t like that. Plus, you’ll be very surprised at how different Pat and his father interacts in the book vs. in the movie.

      The book always wins out in the end for me. Harry Potter movies came close but the books were still just a tiny bit better. It’s just that so much more could be packed into a book than into a 2-hour movie. Plus, you get a lot of room to think and visualize for yourself. No two people ever read the same book, as the saying goes. 😉 Enjoy! And thanks for your readership, as always.

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