The Silver Linings Playbook
Pat Peoples knows that life doesn’t always go according to plan, but he’s determined to get his back on track. After a stint in a psychiatric hospital, Pat is staying with his parents and trying to live according to his new philosophy: get fit, be nice and always look for the silver lining. Most importantly, Pat is determined to be reconciled with his wife Nikki. Pat’s parents just want to protect him so he can get back on his feet, but when Pat befriends the mysterious Tiffany, the secrets they’ve been keeping from him threaten to come out…
At the age of 34, Pat Peoples finds himself in a less than desirable situation. He’s just been released from a psychiatric hospital and is back living with his parents while he and his wife Nikki have some ‘apart time’. It’s safe to say, he’s at his lowest.
He knows that before he was admitted, things weren’t great in his marriage, so he makes a vow to become the man that Nikki fell in love with. An eternal optimist, Pat knows there has to be a silver lining to all of this, and so he works on creating a new Pat, a man who is kind rather than right and works out obsessively, exercising from dawn till dusk in his parents’ basement while all the people in his life tiptoe around him – and the truth behind what’s really been going on in his life.
Pat’s mental problems mean that he’s blocked out events, he’s lost track of time and doesn’t know what’s been going on. And no one in his immediate family is going to tell him any time soon. When an old friend introduces him to Tiffany, nothing can prepare Pat for what he’s about to learn about himself and all the people he thought he knew.
The Silver Linings Playbook is a really interesting read. It’s quirky, completely original, a little harrowing at times, and really moving too. Written as Pat’s diary, the writing is pretty simplistic, as you might imagine from a former teacher and football fan, but author Matthew Quick seems to really capture the troubled mental state of the book’s leading man on his road to recovery, and it’s really sensitive, engaging and heartwarming. You’re rooting for Pat. You want it to work out, one way or another. Somehow, despite the heavy subject matter, Quick manages to make it funny too.
The only thing I didn’t like about this book is all the football talk. American football, not proper football. I’ll confess to skimming by the big game scenes, even though the great American past-time plays a central role in the book, shaping many of Pat’s relationships and helping him get as close to normality as he can.
Now a major movie starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, which has been a surprise hit this awards season, the book is kind of different from the big-screen version, so don’t delve into it expecting a straight copy. It is, however, every inch the smiley, oddball hit that the movie has gone on to be – a real pleasure to read.
I really enjoyed this book – it’s a pretty easy read, but it’s intelligent and it really grips you too. A great read for the eternal optimists of the world.