The Silver Linings Playbook
by Matthew Quick
Published: 2nd September 2008
Imagine that your life is a film directed by God. A romcom, obviously, complete with happy-ever-after ending. Before the credits roll, there will, of course, be tears, tantrums and misunderstandings, but you know you’ll get there – and get your girl – in the end.
Welcome to Pat’s world.
It’s a world of silver linings and true love, but also a world where God makes movies and Kenny G lurks in your attic – and when Pat inadvertently befriends the tragic Tiffany, he begins to question whether or not he might just have got the genre wrong.
For anyone who loved The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time or Little Miss Sunshine, The Silver Linings Playbook is a novel about love, life and American football … and what happens when the woman you love isn’t the woman of your dreams.
I have a confession to make: I actually bought and read this book after I’d seen the film. I know! I have been chastised for this already, but I already had heard that the two were very different, so I figured it would be okay. I had every intention of reading the book first, but alas, it didn’t happen. This book was recommended to me, and I’m quite thankful that it was.
Just to tell you a little about this novel, it follows Pat Peoples and his fight to reconcile with his wife, Nikki. Sounds like your typical romance novel? Except that Pat has just been released from a mental hospital, and is battling some past demons, and Nikki has a restraining order against him. There is a lot going on in this story, and it is an absolute page turner. I must admit, I started this book and thought I’d be steaming my way through, and I was doing. Then I hit a reading slump and didn’t pick it back up for a while. This isn’t a comment on the book, more that my life got in the way for a while.
The characters in this book are incredibly complex, and well written. Each voice and character was distinct and realistic, and unique. I absolutely loved Pat, and reading about his journey, especially as Pat sees his life as a movie. This made for an interesting book format. As the book reads like a typical rom-com narrative, and Pat even comments on ‘this would be were the montage begins’. I loved that it included false endings, and dramatic highs and lows.
I loved that Pat had lost his grip with reality, and he cannot remember a chunk of his life. As a reader we get to relive, and learn along with the character. This, for me, is what made the book a page turner, because I was eager to find out more information about what happened to Pat and Nikki, and how their story would end.
Another strong character is Tiffany, a self-labelled ‘messed up person’, who befriends Pat. I love that she says it like it is, and doesn’t hold back. She’s sincere and interesting. I absolutely loved this character. Along with many other characters in this book, each character stood out for different reasons. I loved how they were interweaved in Pat’s life, and the interesting way he views these relationships.
Also, I believe this book deals with mental illness beautifully. The novel highlights the way in which people use mental illness to taunt people, and how frivolously they throw around mental illness in an insulting way. The character witnesses first hand, and through other means, and this really stood out to me.
Overall, I couldn’t fault this book in any way, it is truly a phenomenal read, and I couldn’t recommend it enough. This review does not do it justice, and I could talk about this book until I’m blue in the face.
I think absolutely everyone needs to have this book in their lives, and experience it for themselves. You won’t regret it!