The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

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Cannonball Read V: The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

By Charlottellamae | Book Reviews | April 30, 2013 | Comments ()


When I first saw a commercial for the movie, The Silver Linings Playbook, I must admit, I wasn't impressed. From what I saw it looked like a very stereotypical romantic comedy. Boy is sad. Boy meets sad girl. They fall in love. Both are happy. The end. Then I saw that it was nominated for 8 Oscars. So then I thought, "Well, obviously this movie must be more than I thought." I figured I would buy the book and see what it was all about.

Pat Peoples has been in a mental rehabilitation hospital for what appears to be a few months when his mom comes to bring him home. Pat has developed the idea that his life is a movie, and it can only end when he finds his silver lining. To achieve his silver lining he must become physically fit so his wife, Nikki will come back to him. They have been separated during Pat's time in "the bad place," but he is sure that "apart time" will be over soon.

When Pat arrives home he is shocked to discover that during his time in the "bad place," his brother got married, his best friend was married and has a child, and his favorite football stadium has been torn down and a new one built. What's worse is that no one will talk to him about Nikki. Then Pat meets Tiffany, a clinically depressed widow. She doesn't speak very often, mostly just follows Pat on his 10-mile runs everyday. Eventually they strike up a friendship that could help Pat end "apart time."

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick is endearing. That is, you root for Pat even when he does something horrible. What I like about the novel is the character growth. Pat, his parents, Tiffany are all so different at the end of the novel. Not to say that any of them have changed so much that it is unbelievable. There is no miracle cure for depression in any of these pages, but the characters do mature in many ways.

What I didn't like so much about the book is the way it's written. The book is narrated by Pat, because we are reading the journal he has written. It is written in a very childish manner, which is true to Pat's character, but for some reason it annoyed me. It honestly probably wouldn't make sense written any other way, but I just didn't like it. Do not take that one little problem that I had and decide to not read the book though. It is a very funny, quirky novel, and I am glad the movie got so many Oscar nominations, because it helped me not judge a book by its adaptation to movie's commercial.

This review is part of the volunteer Cannonball Read V. Read all about it , and find more of Charlottellamae's reviews on the group blog.

(Note: Any revenue generated from purchases made through the affiliate links in this review will be donated in entirety to the American Cancer Society.)

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • I enjoyed the movie well enough, so I will give the book a try. I generally don't mind journal-format writing so hopefully I will like it. I would like to use the affiliate link but I no longer buy books, I just use the kindle app. I am looking forward to reading it, thanks for the recommendation.

  • Maya

    I hated the movie - like, an irrational hatred, one I couldn't explain or articulate but that left me going 'WHAT THE FUCK AM I MISSING?!' all through awards season - so I probably won't be reading this any time soon.

  • Eva

    I didn't mind the narration that much. What I DID mind was seeing the movie after I had read the book. All the completely unnecessary changes made in the movie just pissed me off. The Dad and Tiffany were both basically unrecognizable from their book counterparts. If you haven't seen the movie yet, you are in for a rude awakening.

  • badkittyuno

    I had the same problem with the narration. I get the point of it, and like you, can't think of another way for the author to have handled it. But was annoying. Other than that though, I did enjoy the book and look forward to (eventually) seeing the movie.

  • Dragonchild

    I don't think it's a small problem. I find journal-format writing to be lazy (it gives the author a means of excusing any bad technique as just "unreliable narrator"); what's worse, I have an allergy to stories where the first-person perspective is also the protagonist. This can have legitimate literary reasons but it's invariably obnoxious; it's a big reason why "The Catcher in the Rye" is hailed a literary classic yet simultaneously one of the most reviled books ever written. "The Great Gatsby" is also a "rich people's problems" book but works much better because Nick *isn't* the protagonist; he's not much more than an insightful camera on legs. With that in mind, a romcom plot doesn't strike me as literary justification for writing from a depressed man-child's point of view.

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