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)
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.
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.
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY - This book is told from the viewpoint of Pat Peeples, and it begins with his release from a mental institution. His plight in the real world is unusual and very touching but, due to the simplicity of his thinking, the story quickly becomes repetitive and somewhat dull. It is a short, sweet, easy listen. It is never heavy or particularly sad, and there is occasional humor. Nonetheless, I found my mind wandering and my eyes glancing at the timer, wishing it would move more quickly.
Some reviewers have commented on the important themes explored in the story and how it illustrates the treatment of mentally ill persons, the importance of therapy, etc. I'm sure those themes and messages are all there, but I'm not one to dissect story lines and find hidden meanings. I just want to be entertained and, from that viewpoint, I think some of the repetition could have been toned down a bit. (For instance, "We chanted E-A-G-L-E-S and spelled the letters with our arms and legs" -- you will hear that probably 15 times.)
I don't want to give too much away, but there is a silver lining in the story. The last few hours were really good and the ending is great.
NARRATION - I don't think the performance was a challenging one, but the narrator did a good job.
OVERALL - I would actually rate this book more like a 3.5. It is entertaining, touching and a story that needs to be heard, but bogs down too much in the middle.
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....
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.
“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.
I was/am a great dad, but my girls are in Sugar Land Tx and Billings Mt!
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.
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!
Absolutely. Loved the print version but thought Ray Porter's narration was just fantastic. He brought the book alive in ways that reading it just couldn't. It also brought the story alive in ways that the movie wasn't able to do as well.
Pat Peoples. His general attitude as he progresses through the story is just great. Matthew Quick did a great job crafting such an interesting main character.
The tones and emotions he conveyed brought the story alive for me. And, honestly, brought the story alive more than the movie adaption (which was great in its own right) I would tell anyone to read/listen to the book before seeing the movie, or, if you loved the movie, I think you'll like Ray Porter's narration of the book that much more.
Pat Peoples because I think you'd end up having a fascinating discussion and as a Packer fan, I'm happy he doesn't remember the 4th and 26 disaster.
I agree with several reviews that say that this story just makes you smile at the end. And, in today's world, smiling at the end of a story is always a good thing. You owe it to yourself to read or listen to this book.
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