Friday 15 March 2013

The Silver Linings Playbook - Matthew Quick

Pat has just gotten out of hospital and is now living with his parents. He doesn't know why he was in hospital. He just knows that he has done something to upset his wife. In order to be reunited with her he believes he has to prove himself to her. The only way he can do that is to keep a diary that details his life since he left hospital and until he reunites with her. Meanwhile he tries his best to get his life in order. He spends the bulk of his time exercising or trying to connect with his father through football. Instead he builds connections with a lot of unexpected people. Including Tiffany, his friends sister in law, who is trying to recover from the death of her husband.

I picked this book up after reading FBT's review over at Kill Me If I Stop. I have to admit I had wanted to see the film but I am glad I didn't as, going by that review, it would have irritated me. As FBT says the book gives nothing away until the end. The film gives everything away at the start. An example of why some people should just leave books alone.

Anyway, back to the book. The language of the book was fairly simple and Pat was an engaging character. You knew there was a reason why he wasn't going to see his wife (and probably wouldn't) but like I said you didn't find that out until the end. That doesn't stop you for routing for him. You want him to have his happy ending so badly. He did everything he could to prove himself. I particularly enjoyed his views on some of the books his wife had tried to get him to read in the past. By the way if you haven't read any of these classics they will be spoiled for you (I'll list them at the end). Luckily I had read most of them and knew the story lines to the ones I hadn't read. What was interesting was that his take on them were skewed by his own belief that life should have a happy ending (or a silver lining).

I should warn you that there is also quite a lot of American football talk in the book. Pat's family are huge football fans and it's the only way Pat can seem to find any connection to his father who otherwise refuses to acknowledge his existence. It's quite heartbreaking to read Pat's attempts being brushed off again and again and yet he doesn't give up. I am far from being a sport fan but I actually enjoyed most of it. I liked the feeling of connection it gave Pat to his brother, old friends and even new friends.

Then there is Tiffany. She's quite a strange character but there is a reason behind her strangeness. It's all linked to her trying to overcome the death of her husband (and failing). She unexpectedly finds herself drawn to Pat to the extent she begins to stalk him whilst he takes his runs.

I loved this book. It was funny and sad and moving and just a good read. I understand that Pat was supposed to be bipolar but it didn't come across as that to me. Instead I have my own theories but alas I can't share without spoiling. I definitely recommend the book and I also recommending reading FBT's review. Oh, and I hate film tie-in covers but it was either that or wait to get the book. Being impatient I chose  to go with this cover.

Book list as promised;
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
A Farewell to Arms - Ernest Hemmingway
The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain


  1. Thanks for the shout-out :)

    I forgot to warn about the books in my review, which is strange since that annoyed me regarding the book I haven't read (Hemmingway). I don't like it when they do that, but it does add to his character and especially, as you said, how he wanted them to end happily.

    I never got a bi-polar feel from him either, and I wish I was a part of a book club so I was able to discuss and see what other people think.

    Oh, and did you see the film? What do you think?

    1. Lol, I usually only like it if I have read the books they are talking about. I've read Hemmingway. It does kind of spoil the ending a bit but not the rest of the book. The Bell Jar is the one I hadn't read but knew enough of the storyline for it not to bother me.

      Me too, I wish my book club was still running for times like this. I haven't studied enough about bipolar to know all the symptoms but he didn't appear to have the main ones. At least not to me. I felt that his health problems were more as a result of the incident that led to his hospitalisation in the first place. Certainly the language style and the way he interacted with his family gave that impression.

      I haven't seen the film. Not sure I want to now. I wanted to before I read the book. My sister has a lot of admiration for the physique of Bradley Cooper so no doubt I will end up watching it at some point. Did you like it?

    2. Yeah, I thought he had more of PTSD than bi-polarity because he never really had any highs or lows, which would be evindent since he wasn't taking his medication... But what do I know?

      I hated the film. None of the characters felt right, all I could see was Katniss acting weird and stalking some guy. I stopped watching about half-way through, ffw-ed to the dance and turned it off after 20 seconds. Everything about it just felt wrong.

    3. Yeah, the highs and lows were definitely missing. There were no real breakdown from not taking his meds other than losing his temper and of course seeing Kenny G. Even the Kenny G thing was more like PTSD. I am just going to go ahead and say it (sorry people) but I can't help but think that he had a little brain damage. Just from the language of the book and that he seemed to have emotionally regressed. I also have my doubts as to whether he would be taking quite so many meds as he was. From my limited experience of mental health most people are on maybe one or two different medications unless they have something physically wrong too. I could be totally wrong though.

      Lol, Katniss. I have still to watch Hunger Games too. I would just be seeing Mystique stalking some guy. Need to watch Hunger Games.

  2. I love this long before it became a such a big Movie hit and go on to win so many awards. I love it enough to get one for my collection and the other one to give it out. I found £5 between the pages of this book when I bought it at the Charity shop. :)

    1. Lucky you, I have never even found a bookmark in my charity shop buys ;).

      I will probably keep hold of my copy too. Might be one to go back and read again.