The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

February 17, 2013

silver linings playbook Plot summary (from the publisher): Meet Pat Peoples. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure him a happy ending—the return of his estranged wife, Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent several years in a mental health facility.)

The problem is, Pat’s now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he’s being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he’s being haunted by Kenny G!

Warning: Spoilers below!

Liked:

  • Pat came off as likable enough (most of the time). He did get to be a bit annoying sometimes, but all I had to do was picture Bradley Cooper in the role (I haven’t actually seen the film yet, but still) and I could power through.
  • There was definitely an element of suspense that kept me turning the pages even when not much was happening. I figured “alone time” was more permanent than Pat wanted to admit, but I wasn’t sure where Quick was going with this. I thought at first that maybe Pat had killed Nikki in a fit of rage and then blocked it out, but then it wouldn’t make sense that he would be able to go home after only 4 years. Though the real answer (a straightforward divorce) was kinda dull, Quick did a good job of making me want to find the answer.
  • The Kenny G reveal–that it was Pat and Nikki’s wedding song–was unexpected, and therefore good. It was pretty funny, too!
  • Tiffany was an interesting character. I liked that she just showed up and followed Pat on his runs without ever saying a word. That was completely weird, but showed how they were a good fit for each other.

Disliked:

  • It seemed like NOTHING happened during the middle of the book! There was practically no second act at all. Things started out well and I was really into the story, but then Quick kind of lost his way in the middle. BORING!!!!
  • Man, what was up with all that Eagles crap?! I’m a football fan, but even I got sick of all the goddamn references to the team, the descriptions of tailgating parties, etc. I can’t imagine how awful it would be for a non-fan to try to wade through all that stuff. Yikes.
  • Pat’s way of speaking/thinking started to grate on my nerves after a while. Even allowing for the fact that he was mentally ill, I couldn’t stand that he basically used baby talk throughout the novel. I just wanted to shake him by the shoulders and tell him to grow the fuck up already.
  • Why was the dad portrayed as such a complete and utter jerk? If there was bad history between him and Pat, the author should have explored that. As it was, the dad’s motivations were never explained, so I spent most of the book wondering wtf was up his ass.

Rating:

Based on reviews and the fact that The Silver Linings Playbook was made into a movie, I had high hopes for this one. But the result was a rather mixed bag, with the author doing some things right (Tiffany, making Pat mostly likable, etc.) and some things wrong (no second act, too much Eagles, etc.). I’ve heard the movie is much better, which is a rarity for adaptations, but wouldn’t surprise me in this case. I give this one 3 stars out of 5.

Leave a Reply