“Life is hard, and children have to be told how hard life can be…So they will be sympathetic to others. So they will understand that some people have it harder than they do and that a trip through this world can be a wildly different experience, depending on what chemicals are raging through one’s mind.” - Matthew Quick, The Silver Linings Playbook
After listening to the novel last year's popular movie was based on, I understand why other readers at Audible.com sing its praises from the mountaintops. The story’s protagonist and narrator, Pat, gains a lot of his charm through dry descriptions of his erratic behavior. The ease with which Pat explains his odd, compulsive actions and his simplistic outlook on life result in a very amusing read. I am not a laugh out loud person, which makes watching comedies slightly uncomfortable for me, but I did spontaneously laugh out loud a few times while listening to The Silver Linings Playbook.
The novel is Pat’s tale – he stands out from a crowd of slightly flat supporting characters. In the movie, the character of Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence) has been fleshed out and amped up to meet Pat (Bradley Cooper) at his level of charm. Jennifer Lawrence’s Tiffany steals the show in the film, and in the book Tiffany doesn’t have a few of her most memorable scenes.
Another standout feature of the book was its portrayal of the joy of rituals surrounding Pat’s beloved football team, the Philadelphia Eagles. I am not a sports fan and I did just do a quick Google search to confirm that the Eagles are, in fact, a football team; however, this book made me understand and appreciate the sheer pleasure of rooting for a team with all your closest friends, yelling chants and getting hyped.
Maybe predictable for the Hollywood version of any story, the movie feels a lot lighter than the book. Extra plot arcs are created to make the movie goer care a bit more. Although laden with humor, the subject matter here is at its core bleak – mental illness, family dysfunction, loss. The jokes based on Pat’s narration, clever and fresh at the beginning of the novel, felt stale by its end.
Movies that are better than the book they are based on are rare birds – it takes a vivid, complicated movie to master a novel’s plot. Like Fight Club before it, I believe The Silver Linings Playbook has pulled off this feat. The book is charming and witty, but the movie reaches a higher level of creativity.
Matthew Quick has written several books since The Silver Linings Playbook and they all sound worthy of a read.
Really enjoy this book, the complexity and dysfunctional nature of the characters makes for a really unique plot. The narrator is excellent!
What made this book so phenomenal for me is the reader, Ray Porter. The way he reads it is exactly how I think Pat would speak being in the mental state that he is.
When Ray Porter does the voice of God counting down...I could not stop smiling. He does such a great job of switching voices between Pat, Tiffany, his mom...I was never confused with who was speaking at the time.
I love this story. I loved the book, I loved the movie! I literally laughed out loud several times. Although I wasn't a fan of his female voices, the narrator was pretty good at the dead pan voice of the main character and the therapist which made it even more hilarious, but it was also very touching. I loved the whole football thing which I saw was mentioned in the reviews as often a negative aspect of the book and I'm not even a fan but I get the neurosis of being a "fan" of something, anything and that is the point. We're all a bit neurotic in our own way and so are a lot of people, you're not alone! Some neurotic tendencies are just more accepted than others...clever and interesting. A great listen.
This is my granddaughter's picture! She is my love.
I love this story; it is one that I will not forget easily. The characters were very well developed. I think I knew what the problem was long before it was revealed, but it did not distract from the story’s heartbreak. I wanted to cry at several points in the story, then I laughed, got angry, and became a cheerleader for the growth this injured soul made.
The story is about a broken heart, a supportive family, caring friends, and a cover-up. This is a love story without the passion and a broken life with a solution. This is a true 5 star story.
I love how the narrator created each and every moment. You can feel the emotion in his voice that brought you to the place where the character was most passionate. This was a great book and a great read I might add. However, as usual, they can't bring the book to screen because you don't feel what he feels and know what he thinks. This is a must read and a great listen!
An interesting mix of football and love. I selected this story on the advice of a friend who recommended the movie. I haven't watched the movie, but had time for the audiobook on a cross country flight. It was an enjoyable listen, nothing heavy or deep. It is a romantic comedy with a predictable ending but unusual plot line and diverse characters.
This book gives a wonderful perspective, given from the point of view of someone with serious mental illness. It is smart, funny when you don't expect it to be, and full of hope despite hardship. There seems to be a lot of repetition in the beginning, because it is told in first person, but it continues to change and improve as the character's mind continues to heal, and comes across as very deliberate. The characters are very well described and developed, through the eyes of the narrator with the help of excellent reading by Ray Porter. This performer did a flawless job of switching voices for each character, and a using a particular accent that fit with each person. He really nailed the accent of people from the region where the book takes place. (jersey and Philadelphia areas). The F-word seems to be used a bit excessively by a couple characters, to the point that it loses it's drama or emphasis, pulling me out of my immersion in the book and characters temporarily because it didn't seem like them anymore, just the writer gleefully enjoying his ability to type the word repetitively on his keyboard. Overall though, a fantastic book. I now have the desire to read another book narrated by Ray Porter as well.
It is beyond rare that I would say this, but watch the movie. The narrator does an excellent job with what he is presented, but the story is...mediocre and the writing is ATROCIOUS. If you wish to get the story, but don't want to punish yourself, watch the movie.