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.
2016 has been a landmark rubbish year for a lot of people. Between a tumultuous US election, deaths of too many Baby Boomer musicians and actors, layoffs, and more, most of my friends are done. 2016 started off so sparkly and full of promise, like a new toy on Christmas Day that we all had on our Wish List. Now it’s being shoved towards the proverbial door like a relative who’s lived too long in our basement.
GET OUT, 2016!
Maybe we need an exorcism, a blessing, something to get the burned and sour taste of this year out of our lives and mouths. A bonfire of sage fired by a wise shaman or a 55-gallon drum of Holy Water wielded by a priest might do the trick.
This month our intrepid Subaru Forester, which has towed our camper faithfully and taken my husband to work daily, developed three flat tires due to road hazards on Texas Roads. Three ruined tires. Two of them happened when we were on our way home from church, which would beggar the question is Satan trying to get us? I’m laughing, but halfway joking. The last blowout was in a particularly dangerous part of I-10 and the Sam Houston Beltway. By the time we were home, I was thinking about taking up thumbsucking again and finding my nearly bare teddy bear.
Carrie Fisher was the last blow, my contemporary, my hero, my role model in innumerable ways, and then her mother died. Not since John Lennon died have I seen such an outpouring of grief. It was as if 2016 had to twist the knife that much harder and deeper.
Now we’re two days away from 2017. A new leaf, a chance to feel positive, yet a lot of us are so depressed about the past few months it’s hard to rally. Our hopes are on the new year, and dammit, Jim, it better deliver. Time to dust ourselves off, help our friends up off the proverbial pavement, and ready for change.
We’re breathing, we’re moving, we have hope, dreams, and the expectation of a better life. Get ready, y’all. 2017 is almost here.