The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Goodreads Description: An enchanting first novel about love, madness, and Kenny G.
The Silver Linings Playbook is the riotous and poignant story of how one man regains his memory and comes to terms with the magnitude of his wife’s betrayal.
During the years he spends in a neural health facility, Pat Peoples formulates a theory about silver linings: he believes his life is a movie produced by God, his mission is to become physically fit and emotionally supportive, and his happy ending will be the return of his estranged wife, Nikki. When Pat goes to live with his parents, everything seems changed: no one will talk to him about Nikki; his old friends are saddled with families; the Philadelphia Eagles keep losing, making his father moody; and his new therapist seems to be recommending adultery as a form of therapy.
When Pat meets the tragically widowed and clinically depressed Tiffany, she offers to act as a liaison between him and his wife, if only he will give up watching football, agree to perform in this year’s Dance Away Depression competition, and promise not to tell anyone about their “contract.” All the while, Pat keeps searching for his silver lining.
In this brilliantly written debut novel, Matthew Quick takes us inside Pat’s mind, deftly showing us the world from his distorted yet endearing perspective. The result is a touching and funny story that helps us look at both depression and love in a wonderfully refreshing way.
Tara at always overthinking it recommended this book, but I was leery because the main character, Pat, was just released from a mental institution. Having stayed in several behavioral units myself, I was afraid that this would be yet another book that stigmatizes mental illness. I was pleasantly surprised. The author, Matthew Quick, treated the subject of mental illness with a positive attitude. He was very sensitive with regard to the way the main characters behaved and didn’t paint them out to be total freaks. Sure, they may do a few odd things, but their actions have real motivations behind them; the characters don’t do them just so Quick can show how weird they are. If anything, these actions show how much difficulty they have communicating their feelings, which is something even mentally well people have trouble with sometimes.
Written in first person, I admire Pat’s child-like optimism once he’s released from “the bad place.” He does have a crisis near the end of the book, but of course he does or it would be a boring book, and despite the reality check, he maintains his optimism.