Friday, March 15, 2013

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

Pat has goals.  To work on being a kinder person, to get fit and stay buff, to read the great American classic works of literature that he didn't get around to when he was supposed to be reading them in high school, to keep his anger under control, and to get Nikki back.  Actually, all of his goals are really about getting Nikki back and ending apart time.

When Pat's mother comes and gets him from the neural health facility in Baltimore where he's been for... well, he doesn't actually know how long, but awhile, he knows the end of apart time has to be close.  He's out of the bad place and living at home in Philadelphia, where his mom has bought him pretty much a complete gym-in-a-basement, complete with the Stomach Master 6000.  He's got a new therapist, Dr. Patel, and even though his dad's not talking to him (unless it's specifically related to Eagles football), he's building a relationship with his brother and (who got him his old seat back at the Eagles home games) and hanging out with his best bud Ronnie again, even if Ronnie's wife Veronica is not exactly his favorite person.  Sure, his mom claims that all his and Nikki's wedding photos were stolen by a burgler (they were in very expensive frames), and all signs point to him having been in the bad place way longer than a couple of months, but he's pulling it together for Nikki.

So when Veronica's sister Tiffany is invited to dinner one night, Pat is confused.  Tiffany is angry, volatile, uncomfortably direct, swears like a sailor and is more than a little odd.  She's also in therapy, because her husband died a few years ago, and she's also living at home, because she got fired from her job.  Pat is a married man, so even though everyone seems to be encouraging him to cheat on Nikki with Tiffany, which is confusing, he knows he can't date her.  But he does decide to be her friend - after all, it's the kind thing to do.

This is the story of how friendship, love, raisin bran, a deep hatred of Kenny G., modern dance and serious Eagles football fandom all come together to heal two people who need each other.  Quirky, fun, heartbreaking and hilarious, Matthew Quick's first novel is fabulous.  Whether you saw the movie and loved it, want to read the book before you see the movie, or (like me!) are a huge fan of author Matthew Quick (check out our reviews of Sorta Like a Rock Star and this year's Milwaukee County Teen Book Award nominee Boy21!), you've got to add The Silver Linings Playbook to your reading list!  It's the perfect way to kick-start your weekend and ignore the fact that it's snowing... again.