The Silver Lining Playbook by Matthew Quick has been on my shelf for years, a gift from my Eagles-fanatic stepfather-in-law to my Eagles-fanatic husband when it was released, and pulled off the shelf by me because it’s currently playing on the big screen.
Quick’s novel is eminently readable, an entry in the emotionally-stunted-young-man-stumbles-toward-some-kind-of-understanding genre. In this it strongly reminded me of Jonathan Tropper’s This is Where I Leave You.
Pat is a guy in his 30’s, just released from a mental institution, and he’s pining for his wife Nikki, that everyone else, including the reader knows, is his ex-wife. He’s got an emotionally stunted dad whose moods are dependent on whether the Eagles win or lose. (I’m married to an Eagles fan, so I really appreciated the ethnography of this particular subculture as I recognized many aspects.) Pat thinks life plays out like a movie, where every bad thing always has a silver lining, so much of the book reads like the film it’s been “adapted” into, rife with coincidence, but still has some surprises. Alas, one of the reveals near the end about Tiffany, the emotionally damaged woman Pat has befriends, continues to nag at me. Two aspects of it read like really creepy male-fantasy masquerading as characterization, and this left it ending on a sour note for me.