My Review of The Silver Linings Playbook

The Silver Linings PlaybookThe Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As part of a reading assignment in a writers’ group, I bought a paperback copy of The Silver Linings Playbook with the expectation of someone who’d already gone to the movie. While I thought the movie was sweet and heartbreaking, the book is so much more than the screen version. The hero, Pat, is the most unreliable narrator I’ve ever experienced, viewing life from memory loss and mental illness. While he has a heightened sense of his family’s emotions, he also has an almost childlike personality towards them.

Pat is broken. Heartbreakingly, disturbingly broken. If you’ve ever had a mentally ill person in your life, you know how difficult their life is, and how the illness affects everyone around them. You want them to be safe, be whole, be happy, be loved. You experience the ups and downs, sometimes at catastrophic lows and highs, of their illness. The fear for their safety, their future.

Pat’s journey is not an easy read. The author gives you just enough as you read to know more than Pat can process or knows. Your heart breaks for him. His Don Quixote works out, building himself into a new man, instead of tilting at windmills. Instead of Dulcinea, we have Nikki, the absent wife.

The Silver Linings Playbook is probably the best novel I’ve read in a great while, and I have a feeling that it will stay with me. Not a happy, light read, but the view into a troubled mind filled with hope, love, despair, and determination.

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