When Pat goes to live with his parents, everything seems changed: no one will talk to him about Nikki, and his new therapist seems to be recommending adultery as a form of therapy. Then, Pat meets clinically depressed widow Tiffany, who offers to act as a liaison between him and his wife - provided he agrees to a secret contract that includes giving up football and performing in the next Dance Away Depression competition.
©2008 Matthew Quick; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio
"This offbeat story has all the markings of a crowd-pleaser." (Publishers Weekly)
No Plot Spoilers.
Quick has managed to capture the essence of something terribly fundamental to at least a portion of humanity; dysfunctional love mixed with mental illness and obsession. To get a bias out of the way immediately, I was born and raised within a half hour of the location of this book; the addresses in Philadelphia mean something to me and I can still smell South Philadelphia when I close my eyes at night, thinking about my home. Quick captures Eagles fever, the feel of Philadelphia, and its suburbs magnificently.
Another thing to address, right out the gate, is the comparison between the book and the movie. I really dug the movie. I thought Lawrence and Cooper did tremendous jobs. I also understand why the film was scripted the way it was. That being said, as is the case in many instances, the book allows a level of nuance that 2 hours of screen time just can't capture. I think you have to view the movie as the Cliff's Notes to the book. Significant plot changes occurred and, quite frankly, the movie was very watered down.
This was a difficult listen, emotionally, for me. Mental illness is addressed, at length, as the primary vehicle plot. And it does a spectacular job of it. But Quick's book is so much more than that. It's family dysfunction countered by standing up for the people you love. It's desperately, frantically, obsessively yearning for happiness (in a fairy tale kind of way), but accepting a more reality based version. It's a journey of self discovery and taking charge of your own life's story, of finding love and forgiveness in unexpected places.
Quick also managed to capture the feeling of desperately trying to 'fix' some past failure or disaster in one's life. Feeling like there is a crushing weight pressing in on all sides while consistently stumbling. The best laid plans...
In the end, it was a beautiful and delicate listen, even if difficult at times. Highest marks and significantly better than the film.
I am a 65-year-old psychologist, married for 25 years, with two sons who are 25 and 22. I love reviewing the books and the feedback I get.
Matthew Quick has accomplished several amazing things here, and it's really hard to list them all. First, he has documented the nature of mental illness in general and bipolar disorder in fine detail, the first book (in my experience) to do this in novel form. Second, he has drawn a terrific, touching love story between two people who are both fragile and suffering from loss. They are both determined, nonetheless, to find the "silver linings" in life. Three, he has depicted a suffering family which is trying to cope with a deeply disturbed, isolated and enraged father. Fourth, he has portrayed the love story between a community and its football team, the Philadelphia Eagles. The passion that the fans have for their team is almost unimaginable in its ferocity, a love that many men understand and many women cannot. If you are a woman, just think of sports as male emotionality. Fifth (I am counting) he has depicted a very unusual relationship between a therapist and his patient. Cliff, the psychiatrist who follows Pat after his four-year involuntary commitment to a psychiatric hospital, is also a raving Eagles fan, who delights in jumping out of his chair and doing the Eagles chant. When Pat is puzzled by this (as who wouldn't be), Cliff says, "When I sit in this chair, I am your therapist. When I get out of this chair, I am your friend and fellow Eagles fan." Can you imagine any psychiatrist, if you know any, who could do such a thing?
I have lost track of all that Mr. Quick has done here, but, trust me, it is an awe-inspiring thing. For one in the profession (I am a psychologist), it is all the more astounding. That the book works so well on all of these levels, and more, is just a pleasure. I think Mr. Quick is a young author, and I hope we will hear more from him.
Mr. Porter does a great job with this challenging material. Serious mental illness is frightening, and both these men have done a wonderful job of conveying the torment that these patients suffer. Even so, the book is uplifting. If you have seen the movie, you know that it is wonderful as well, but it is quite different.. A movie has much different rules than a book, and it just can't convey the richness of this work of fiction. The book may be hard to listen to at times, as Mr. Quick does not pull any punches, so just put it down for a while and then come back to it. The book and the movie combined have contributed to the process of destigmatizing mental illness, which is all very much to the good. I am preaching here, so I will stop. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.
Short, Simple, No Spoilers
Pat has returned home after spending time in a "bad place" with no recollection of the last 4 years. His mother, brother, best friend, and new therapist provide support and are all avid Eagles fans. Pat works out incessantly, reads good works of literature, and tries to be nicer in hopes of finding his way back to his estranged wife Nikki. Photos of the two are gone from the family home and Pat doesn't understand why no one will tell him what happened. He believes if he transforms, she will take him back.
Enter the clinically depressed sister-in-law of his best friend as a blind date and the story takes shape. She is real and visceral and they see each other through the myriad medications and mental road blocks.
Pat speaks to the reader in a straightforward dialogue, often addressing you personally. He refuses to give up or give in to pessimism, believing every cloud has a silver lining. This is a bittersweet love story and with equal parts humor and sorrow. Finishing the book left me with the idea, the only way to move on is to simply let go.
This book is about two subjects split right down the middle: Eagles football and mental illness, and I wish someone would have warned me. The performance was wonderful, but I almost didn't finish because I was so damned sick of hearing about Eagles football! If you don't like football, don't bother with this. The book is quite different from the movie. Also, the movie portrays the main character as bipolar. In the book, he suffers from a psychotic break, these are two very different things. Having said that, the story does excellently portray a person suffering from a psychotic break. That was the only reason I finished the book. The excess of football stats and references and the constant "AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH" of the Eagles fight song blaring in my ears almost ruined the book for me and is the reason why I'm only giving this two stars.
Jennifer Lawrence's extraordinary performance saved the movie of this book, but the Matthew Quick's novel filled in the myriad of strange gaps that either the editors or screen writer left me and my companion as we left the theater a bit bewildered. Ray Porter's narration coupled with Quick's excellent dialogue made this incredibly well done story swim by. The way Quick ever so slowly brought us to the understanding of Pat's and Tiffany's traumas was brilliant. The characters in the book are so more complex and compelling than their counterparts in the movie, where they almost became caricatures. Feel like the movie was a trailer to one remarkable book, which I've urged all my friends who saw the movie to read.
I have edited 38 national best sellers and had a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Another reviewer said the movie was "a trailer for the book," and I can't improve on that description. This book was wonderful. If you loved the film, you will find more complex, more fleshed-out characters and situations that are not as pat as a movie script demands.You'll like the book a lot more, I bet.
The narrator nails the psychiatrist's accent, which was one of the most enjoyable parts of this Audible experience for me. The women's voices weren't as distinguishable--slightly higher and quicker than the men's, but that was OK.
I found this to be a fascinating romance of two troubled individuals and their healing.
I was expecting this book to be pretty much the same as the movie, which I really enjoyed. The book follows a fairly different story arc than the movie, with less of an emphasis on the dance and the relationship with Tiffany, and more of an emphasis on Patrick's philosophy and recovery...and his love of the Eagles. The narrator was perfect--he captured Pat's boy-like manner, and also did a great accent for Cliff, the Indian psychologist. All in all a really great listen!
There is nothing better than a good book!
This was such a fun, witty, and touching story. Ray Porter really brought the characters to life- I will defiantly be listening to this one again! You won't be disappointed!
How can the characters in this year's True Detective be worse? Ferrill is asexual, drunk, corrupt, a child abuser and worse!
Here is a masterpiece and maybe the best book I have found on Audible, yet it deals with perhaps the hardest subject matter there is in modern literature. There are so many reasons I love this book, its hard to rank them.
But let me start with Ray Porter's narration.I have listed him before in my top 3 performers, but there is no question this one makes him the top narrator on Audible. And that is from a library of over 800 titles. There are alot of emotions and even deadpan dialect within this book and Porter captures it all perfectly.
The story revolves around mental illness, a very sensitive and often tragic subject matter. It does not burden us with diagnosis, yet it blesses us with the healing power of excellent therapy. And there is the perfect amount of humor to keep us interested.
Perhaps what I loved most was Quick's use of classic American literature to provide clever and penetrating metaphors to tell us what the hero is actually facing and/or running from.
The Help. Its groundbreaking literature exmaning mental illness as opposed to race to reveal true human experience.
Tell us about yourself!
This is a basic love story hampered by a few reoccurring problems. It's Nicholas Sparks with some sports references and a mental illness arc. My biggest issue was that the main character's mental illness is not so much a characteristic as a plot device. Does he need to have slight amnesia so that the books big reveal remains hidden? Done. Does he need to have a child-like thought process to make him endearing and/or propel the story forward? Done. But his illness is at odds with the other aspects of his character. It seemed a lot less like mental illness and more like stupidity that the author employed as a convenient plot device. The other issue was the prevalent sports theme. While I am not a sports fan and feel that this may have to do with why it irked me, I genuinely disapproved of the manic, frenzied sports mentality that consumed most of the characters. I was fine until it seemed again to be less of a contributing factor to the actual story and more anecdotal filler used at random by the author. And finally, on more than one occasion I felt that I was suspending my disbelief to the point of exhaustion. Another coincidence, another glaring pothole that the reader saw coming from a mile away but none of the characters did, another "but wait how did she know..." or "how in the world did he not know??" because a large portion of the unknown is so obvious that its cliche. I thought I'd put this down once I had reached the middle, because to be honest I just didn't care about the characters or the story and I could see what every character couldn't from an hour in. But a lapse in downloading another book led me to finish it, and it ended as lackluster as I suspected. I would recommend this only if you're a sucker for any sort of love story, and possibly if you're an Eagles fan. Other than that don't bother. Of course I am one negative review amongst a ton of positive, so I could just have awful taste....
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