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)
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.
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.
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.
I have to say I saw the movie first. Loved it. The book is much better.
Listening to Silver Linings gave me a different take on the story. I thought that Jennifer Lawrence deserved the Oscar for playing Tiffany in the movie, but the character here is a lot deeper in the book.
The manner in which this book is written is beautiful. Humor and love pushes out of every sentence. Pat, the protagonist, is a man who has lost a few years due to being up to the gills in drugs while in a mental home. He comes home and rediscovers life.
Pat's home with his mom and dad, dealing with his past, coming to terms with whom he is. A myriad of characters so fully developed you feel that you are with family come to life. This book is just pure awesome.
If you like this book, I recommend the classic Russo book 'Nobody's Fool'.
I do not see why so many people think this book is amazing. It was very boring and repetitive. I listened to it all the way through to see if anything good would happen, but I wanted to quit after the 4th chapter. I just did not enjoy it or find it inspirational.
I gave the performace three stars. Although the reader was very clear, he spoke quietly when speaking for Tiffany or other women. I had to turn the volume all the way up in order to hear the soft spoken words.
I tried to like it, but it just was not for me.
I have wanted to read this ever since I discovered it was a book, but I hadn't heard great things. It's a super short read so I decided to pick it up anyway, and I'm glad I did. I don't know if it's because I really enjoyed the movie, or because I had super low expectations of the book. Either way, it was good, and I really did enjoyed it. Recommend. I thought the narrator was great.
My first listen read by Ray Porter. I really enjoyed his reading work and will seek to see if I am interested in other works.
The story is good. But nothing more. It's like looking through a window into someone's life. I enjoyed the book but will not either recommend it nor will I make a negative critique of it.
I gave this five stars because it's a more honest look at mental illness. Fictional books tend to miss the mark when it comes to bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses.
My interests run to psychology, popular science, history, world literature, and occasionally something fun like Jasper Fforde. It seems like the only free time I have for reading these days is when I'm in the car so I am extremely grateful for audio books. I started off reading just the contemporary stuff that I was determined not to clutter up my already stuffed bookcases with. And now audio is probably 90% of my "reading" matter.
Matthew Quick Is a talented guy and I look forward to seeing great things from him. His first book has a lot of good things going for it. For some reason, Quick has been pigeon-holed as a writer for young adults. I can see how that fits, even though none of his characters are adolescents. His protagonist comes across as one, but more about that later. The key YA factors are the simple, direct story, and the accessible characters.
If we weren't told that the protagonist is an adult (and that his issues involved some kind of marital rift), this could easily have been a troubled teen story. Pat has that kind of not-quite-ready-for-the-real-world quality that YA protagonists so often have. The nagging question that arises in the book (as it also did in the movie) is whether Pat is worthy of a partner like Tiffany. I will not say to what extent the book provides a satisfying answer to that.
There were two notable weaknesses in the book. One is that it focused so much on Pat that the relationship with Tiffany never seemed to get convincing traction. The other is that the book seemed to lurch along from one segment to another; there was a certain lack of overall flow. It is kind of fascinating to see how the movie addressed those weaknesses and created a more integrated story. I'm not saying the movie was better; just that there were some structural improvements. There were things in the book I really enjoyed that I was sorry to see were not in the book. But there were also things that just would not have fit in the movie.
I have probably devoted too much space to the weaknesses. It really was an enjoyable book. It struck all the right chords in the places that mattered.
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