Wednesday, August 14, 2013
Book Review: The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
Description from Good Reads
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.
This wasn't a "feel good" book to me. I know so many people are saying that it is, but it just wasn't. But that doesn't mean it wasn't a really good book, or that I didn't enjoy it. I just didn't feel great about it until the end. I guess that was the "Silver Lining".
The book centers on Pat Peoples, who was just released from a neural health facility. He lives with his mother and his father, due to he and his wife Nikki needing "time apart". He sees a therapist once a week. He works out constantly. He openly cries. He has manic fits of anger. And he believes that his life is a movie produced by God, and that if he lives his wife in a certain way, his life will ultimately result in a happy ending.
He also loves The Philadelphia Eagles. All the men in the novel do. It's definitely a way they relate and interact with each other- especially Pat and his father, Patrick. It's actually pretty much the only way they do ever relate to one another.
Even his therapist gets in on the Eagles action. As a football fan myself, I found those parts of the book almost as exciting as every other part. I also remember so much of what he is talking about- I'm not an Eagles fan, but I watch a lot of highlights!
My favorite character in the entire book is his mother. I just felt for her so deeply throughout the whole book. Her husband doesn't really appreciate her in the way he should. One of her sons seems pretty well adjusted, but the other is in a neural hospital and is coping with his life.
I love that she bought Pat all these nice clothes, and a nice home gym set up- that's what a mother does! Her baby is broken down on the inside, so she's trying to help him with his outside.
So many people on both Goodreads and Amazon are calling this "The Adult Perks of Being a Wallflower" and, in a way, I agree. But it's all surface stuff (the "crazy" narrator, the public crying, the writing (Charlie in letter, Pat in a journal), the big secret, and the unreliable narrator). But The Silver Linings Playbook shows a lot more end growth of the character, and how to deal with the consequences of your choices. I enjoyed Perks, and think I would probably say that was the better book had I read it in high school. But since I recently read it, I have to say this is the one I relate to more.
The Book vs. The Movie
The first thing I can say about the book vs. the movie is I did not like Patrick, Pat's dad, in the book at all. But I really liked him in the movie. Maybe it's because of the actor that plays him (Robert De Niro), but I felt like he was a much more sympathetic character. In general, the dad was just a completely different person, with a completely different job, and a completely different outlook on Pat and life.
The character of Danny was definitely a different species, but had the same basic premise- a guy that was a friend of Pat's in the neural health facility. However, everything past that was different.
In the movie, Pat is only away for about 8 months. In the book, it's significantly longer.
Pat doesn't seem to have as close a relationship with his brother in the movie as in the book. As a matter of fact, they barely interact in the movie. And going to the Eagles games only happens once, not every home game.
But the reason Pat's dad can't go with them is the same.
The Hank Baskett / DeShawn Jackson jersey thing REALLY bothered me for some reason. To me, it was a really big part of the book.
The whole dance thing (the competition, and the song) was completely different. But the reason behind it was the same.
And the end was... well. It's similar enough, but it's not a "movie" ending.
With that said, I still really, really love the movie, and think Jennifer Lawrence deserves all the praise she got from the role. But I think if I was a huge fan of the book before seeing the movie, I probably would have been disappointed with all the changes.
As a big book reader, this frequently comes up, and it's really not a big deal to me anymore. I just thought it would be worth noting some of the differences.
The book itself isn't what I would consider a happy book, but it does make you believe in the Silver Lining. I gave the book a 4 star rating on Good Reads, and do recommend it. But if you saw the movie first, or you love the book and haven't seen the movie... prepare yourself for differences.
You can purchase The Silver Linings Playbook here for Kindle, and here for a physical copy. You can purchase the movie here. Or you can borrow a copy from your local library!
FTC: I borrowed this book from my local library.I purchased the movie with my own money.