Thursday, 11 April 2013

Reivew: The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

Goodreads summary:
Pat Peoples has a theory that his life is actually a movie produced by God, and that his God-given mission in life is to become emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure a happy ending – which, for Pat, means the return of his estranged wife Nikki, from whom he's currently having some 'apart time.' It might not come as any surprise to learn that Pat has spent several years in a mental health facility. When Pat leaves hospital and goes to live with his parents, however, everything seems changed: no one will talk to him about Nikki; his old friends now have families; his beloved football team keep losing; his new therapist seems to be recommending adultery as a form of therapy. And he's being haunted by Kenny G. There is a silver lining, however, in the form of tragically widowed, physically fit and clinically depressed Tiffany, who offers to act as a go-between for Pat and his wife, if Pat will just agree to perform in this year’s Dance Away Depression competition... 

My review:
This review is a bit of a departure from the norm for me - I usually review YA books. However I do read adult books too, and if I come across one sufficiently arresting, I'm going to include a review on here. Adults read and enjoy YA books, so there's no reason why young adults shouldn't read adult books - they do it in school all the time, after all. 

Silver Linings is, to put it simply, a great book. It's the kind of book where you have a good idea of what the ending is going to be like, but a whole bunch of stuff happens along the way which you couldn't possibly guess at. Now, I realise this book has been made into a film, but I haven't seen it yet, so I read the story with fresh eyes and I'm going to assume anyone reading this will be too. After all, if you've seen the film you don't really need a review of the book. 

It's not that often I read a book that's told from a male point of view, so this was interesting for me. I've read books that deal with mental health issues before and I always find them intriguing, as I think it can be very difficult to understand someone else's mental issues if you haven't experienced something similar yourself. It's impossible to imagine the detachment you can feel from your own mind unless you have been through it. Books like Silver Linings go a long way to helping people to get an inkling of what goes through people's minds when they are troubled though. 

Pat Peoples chronicles his life in a simple and charming way. Often very funny, often touching and more than a little uncomfortable, Silver Linings reads like an in-depth diary. Starting on the day when Pat is released from 'the bad place' and moves back in with his parents, we see how he begins to cope with living in the real world again, talking to family and friends, meeting new people and interacting in public. His relationship with his parents, who have their own problems, is portrayed very well, and the sessions with his therapist are just brilliant. Then there's Tiffany. The slow and amazingly awkward build-up of the relationship between Pat and Tiffany, two very damaged characters, is a wonderful thing. 

There's something very real about this book. The characters feel real. That's kind of a weird comment to make, but I'm hoping you know what I mean. Sometimes the characters in a book are quite obviously just that - characters. They can be lovable without being particularly realist, which is often a part of their charm. Quick's characters are real though - you get the feeling that this could easily be a true story, There are ups and downs, twists and quirks. The ending is perfect.

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