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)
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.
Criminal defense attorney. Love audible and I'm kind of obsessed with writing reviews. No plot spoilers please. Seriously.
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.
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!
A few must reads: Mr. Mercedes, Narrows Gate, Cop Town, Bomb Proof, Wayfaring Stranger, The Son (Nesbo), Dept Q series...
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.
This is one of the best books I have read in many a year! Very moving, and we are brought into the inner heart of people struggling with mental illness. This book is a true gift!
This story of a mentally ill man doesn't play true to the reality of mental illness, but it comes close. The distortions present can be so disturbing (an understatement). The ripple effect through a family can be so destructive. The difficulty to maintain relationships. All these and more make life with a mental illness, or a loved one with it, a challenge.
Although this story simplified all of that and more, it does present the points. The father-son, brother-brother, marital relationships are all present with struggles. The ending was a little bit too much like "they all lived happily ever after" for me but it was a good ending for a novel.
The narration was excellent.
Pat has been living in a mental health institute for a long time. His mother decides that he has been there long enough and gets him released into her custody. Pat is very excited about this, because he feels that with some hard work, he can end "apart time" with his wife Nikki. Before Pat entered the mental health institute, he and Nikki agreed to separate for a little bit of time. With the help of his therapist Cliff, the Philadelphia Eagles, and his new friend Tiffany, Pat might be able to regain the life he desperately wants.
A few months ago, I watched The Silver Linings Playbook. I thought it was a charming and quiet movie. I found a few rough edges in the movie, but all of my minor annoyances with the movie generally got swept away by the time the credits rolled. When I saw the audio book waw on sale, I decided to pick it up. I promptly forgot about the book until I had to drive to Pittsburgh and saw that it was the perfect length for driving there and back (~6 hours round trip).
The Silver Linings Playbook is so lovely. Like the movie, this is a quiet character transformation piece. There is excitement and surprises throughout the book, but it is a character piece about someone struggling with mental illness. Speaking of that, I found that this book did an excellent job of portraying mental illness. In the movie, Pat is labeled with a particular mental illness. I did not completely agree with this diagnosis. In the book, Pat is not given a diagnosis (at least I didn't notice one), and I thought this was a better choice. What Pat is experiencing in this book and his journey to recovery felt quite genuine. I didn't feel like I was rubbernecking someone else's problems, which I typically feel when I am reading fictional accounts of mental illness. Generally speaking, I like people's memoirs of their struggles with mental illness, but this book is makes me want to take a second look at fictional accounts. I also want to note that I really liked Cliff, Pat's therapist. Cliff did some things that are not traditionally appropriate for a therapist to do; however, Quick's portrayal of Cliff was much better than most therapists that I see on television or in books. In my real life, I study psychology, so poorly written accounts of mental illness and/or therapists is a pet peeve of mine (you should watch me watch Grey's Anatomy).
I thought that Quick did a great job of showing one man struggle with his mental illness within a family that is going through their own problems. Usually books like this only showcase the person with the mental illness or showcase that person within a totally crazy family (e.g., drug abuse, sexual abuse, or physical abuse). This book did a fantastic job of showing an everyday family deal with a difficult situation.
A big part of this book is Pat and his family's love of football and the Philadelphia Eagles. I thought the Eagles talk worked really well within the story; however, I can understand if this could be a turn off for someone else. All you need to know about football to appreciate what is happening in this book is that the Philadelphia Eagles play football.
If you are considering reading the book and seeing the movie, I would recommend seeing the movie first. You will be spoiled for a few things, but I think you will be able to enjoy both better this way. The movie makes some drastic changes from the book that work well for the movie, but I think I would personally be angry with these changes, if I had read the book first. I should note that the rough edges that I noticed in the movie were all smoothed over when I read the book. The rough edges in the movies appeared, because the movie people had to make changes to condense the book. The book is much smoother.
Audio: I thought that the reader was really greater. Tone, pacing, and inflection were fantastic. Porter also did a nice job with changing his voice for the different characters. I was really happy with his reading, and I will seek out other books read by him.
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