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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...possibly the best book I've read this year.
Pat Peoples is just out of `the Bad Place' - an institution where he's been for the past four years after a massive breakdown. He believes his life is a movie written and directed by God. He has a terror of Kenny G who haunts him in the night. He's lost his life and his home, and only lives to build the perfect body so he can win back his beloved wife, Nikki...
Published on 1 Nov 2008 by marcoscu

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Preferred the film, something I rarely say
I went to see the film adaptation of this novel last month, absolutely loved it and then the friend I went with went on to buy me the book.

The book and the film are very similar, protagonist Pat has been in a psychiatric facility for some time when his mother calls time on it and checks him out. Post-breakdown Pat has a new philosophy : he is determined to...
Published 18 months ago by R. A. Davison


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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...possibly the best book I've read this year., 1 Nov 2008
By 
marcoscu "marcoscu" (Chorley,UK) - See all my reviews
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Pat Peoples is just out of `the Bad Place' - an institution where he's been for the past four years after a massive breakdown. He believes his life is a movie written and directed by God. He has a terror of Kenny G who haunts him in the night. He's lost his life and his home, and only lives to build the perfect body so he can win back his beloved wife, Nikki.

Pat is so angsty and damaged and utterly adorable. He knows he `screwed up' before with his rages and selfish demands. Now he only wants to 'practice kindness' as he moves through his small world, making friends wherever he goes - with his mom and his football-crazy brothers, with his analyst Cliff and his friends, the equally football-crazy, all-Indian, Asian Invasion Bus. Even with his sister-in-law, the deranged Tiffany, who, it seems, everyone thinks would be the perfect partner for him.

Hilariously funny, touching, delightful and heart-breaking, and possibly the best book I've read this year.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming, amusing, painful and unforgettable, 16 Nov 2008
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When I first started reading this book, I didn't quite know what to make of it, particularly the narrator, Pat - I found myself getting slightly irritated with him. But his sweetness and innocence grew on me, and I realised after the first chapter that I was turning the pages with my fingers crossed for him.

The story begins with Pat leaving a mental institution and trying to return to normal life, into a family which has been devastated by his incarceration. He is desperate, with a childish simplicity by turns endearing and exasperating, to get back with his ex wife, Nikki and his whole life focuses on this. But why did they really split up? And where did Pat's mental problems begin? What is the real problem with Tiffany, his new friend with her own mental and emotional difficulties?

This book is easy to read: it's very simply written, yet the matters it deals with are complex. At times I was laughing out loud, at others I had tears in my eyes. The author takes away the stigma of mental illness and you warm to his characters. While Pat is the narrator, his friends and family have their own smaller story to tell about what happened and how it has affected them. You come away from the book feeling slightly better for having known them, and for those with limited experience, perhaps a little more perception of mental illness. I look forward to reading another by this perceptive and gentle author.
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59 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent., 9 Nov 2008
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I really enjoyed this book. Although it's fairly apparent what the plot is going to be pretty much from the first page, it's written in such an engaging style with such likable and believable characters you get drawn in to the story.

The story follows the recovery of Pat, who is suffering from mental health problems following the breakdown of his marriage. The breakdown has transformed Pat, and despite his problems (including a perfectly understandable aversion to singer Kenny G) he is recovering. The story contrasts the slightly immoral personalities of the 'sane' people in his life with the higher physical and mental standards Pat now feels he has to attain and maintain in order to win back his wife. That makes it sound rather worthy and heavy going, but it's a very funny book and light and easy reading while at the same time managing to ask that old question 'what does sanity actually mean?'

Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everyone should believe in silver linings ..., 26 Oct 2008
By 
Cee-Gee (Northants, UK) - See all my reviews
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I could not put this book down!

Pat is struggling with mental health issues. He has just left hospital and is trying to get his life sorted. He is estranged from his wife Nikki and all that spurs him on is the belief that his life is like a movie. Pat believes in silver linings. He is working hard to improve himself so that he will be rewarded by the return of his wife so that they can live out their happy ending.

This is an extremely well written book. Quick has captured Pat's struggle with mental disorder in the text and the reader can't help but feels his pain and root for him throughout. It is a very well thought out story with excellent characters and a great plot. I really can't think of a single fault, except perhaps that I would love to know what happens next!

Very highly recommended!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars only for Americans?, 7 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Silver Linings Playbook (Kindle Edition)
too much football, for this reader at least
falsely titillating on Hawthorne's 'The Scarlet Letter' & a spoiler for Gatsby
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Preferred the film, something I rarely say, 17 Jan 2013
By 
R. A. Davison (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
I went to see the film adaptation of this novel last month, absolutely loved it and then the friend I went with went on to buy me the book.

The book and the film are very similar, protagonist Pat has been in a psychiatric facility for some time when his mother calls time on it and checks him out. Post-breakdown Pat has a new philosophy : he is determined to look for silver linings and happy endings and he's going to turn himself into the perfect husband to his wife Nikki. The thing is, Nikki is nowhere to be seen, there's more than one restraining order in place, and what exactly happened to send Pat to "the bad place" is never spoken of. Living not quite in-step with reality, Pat strikes up a friendship with the equally damaged Tiffany.

The film of this book made me howl with laughter and was really popular with the audience I was in, and the film has been true to the book in the sense that it recreates some of the books best moments like "the Hemingway scene". This is however among some of the rare cases where film beats book, the book gets dragged down by the sporting side of the narrative, players and scores etc, in a way that the film doesn't, and is so well acted that it is easier to take the characters into your heart.

The differences towards the end give the book the edge in terms of realism, and particularly Pat's struggle with the concept of time is left out of the film presumably because it would be hard to express visually, but adds weight to the extent of his delusion in the book yet ultimately for me the heartwarming humorous film is a 10/10 but the book is only a 7.
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33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "...I am not weak and can control my mind pretty well.", 1 Nov 2008
By 
Hector Lerbioz (London) - See all my reviews
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US author, Matthew Quick's SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK is an accomplished first novel and deserves to sell by the shelf-load. It is also an exceptionally easy book to read and is suffused with humour and compassion. I read it in about 4 sittings, and when I wasn't actually reading it, I was thinking about it. The deceptively simple style of the prose conceals an impressive depth and literate quality.

Written in the first person (a diary, we are later told) Pat Peoples tells us his story in a functional, unfussy, straight-faced voice that manages to ironically reveal the underlying truths of his states of mind. There is a naively adolescent simplicity to Pat's writing in that he treats himself and his quest to end "apart time" with his estranged wife with deadly, focused seriousness.

An ex-high school teacher in his 30's who was committed to a mental institution for an unspecified period of time, Pat begins the novel returning to the home of his parents to live in their basement. His intention is to develop himself both physically and mentally in preparation for the end of his separation with his wife Nikki. This he does by exercising obsessively and reading various classics of American literature (THE GREAT GATSBY, THE SCARLET LETTER, THE BELL JAR etc). His muscular development is clearly extraordinary as he goes for daily ten mile runs and has hours-long weight-lifting sessions. At one point someone compares him to Arnold Schwarzanegger.

Pat believes life is identical to Hollywood films. The lesson he's taken from them is that while life can appear hard and painful, if you work and believe hard enough in your goal the happy ending is inevitable. He finds himself challenged by the books he reads as they do not seem to share this idyllic position. Fairly early on in the novel, even the least perceptive reader will work out that this is going to be a story of someone who is not only suffering from mental illness but is out of step with reality and sooner or later is going to suffer a painful disillusionment. That this is is done subtly, entertainingly and mostly believably is to Quick's considerable credit. The reader finds him/herself drawn into Pat's skewed world-view. One section is a "montage" - much like those in the ROCKY films, whilst the outcome of the dance competition he enters seems to affirm his beliefs. The relationships within his dysfunctional family however, do much to give the lie to any rose-tinted outlook.

There is no doubt that the book is well-plotted, charming, touching and funny. Because of its accessibility and warmth, Quick may even find his book elevated to cult status, much like Salinger's CATCHER IN THE RYE with which it shares many qualities. Its greatest strength is Pat himself. The voice of the protagonist is heard clearly and convincingly with every sentence one reads. Pat is a loser heading for a fall, but he's a character with whom one wants to spend time. He's dopey but loveable, conflicted but well-intentioned and possesses a strong sense of right and wrong.

What surprised me as the book progressed was how much I cared about Pat's concerns - particularly the Philadelphia Eagles. Having had a life-long aversion to competitive sports, and having always dismissed American football as a form of rugby where players wear padding and helmets, it was extraordinary to me that I enjoyed the passages that dealt with American football and fandom so much. Although this is perhaps because the writer wisely eschews detailed descriptions of the games and concentrates on the characters of the fans and the atmosphere on game days.

The book is not perfect. Personally, I found a couple of plot twists towards the end slightly unbelievable despite the fact that I always wanted to read on. Nevertheless this is a real achievement for Quick and a novel that I may be tempted to re-read in the future. It's certainly an upbeat antidote to the current misery and pessimism in the media concering the credit crunch and recession.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Life in Pieces, 19 July 2014
Pat has just been discharged from a mental health unit ("The Bad Place") into the care of his anxious parents, having suffered a breakdown so complete he has lost 4 years of his life. He idolises his wife, the sainted Nikki, whose absence is unexplained for most of the book, and is obsessed with becoming perfect The Apart Time will end. A relationship develops between Pat and Tiffany, two broken, damaged people, each with warped obsessions and a sense of isolation, but hurting in very different ways.

His fragile, slightly skewed view of reality is persuasive: he explains extraordinary events very matter-of-factly and I felt this reflected the stupefied docility of someone very ill or very medicated. The hapless anxiety of his mother and volcanic fury of his father also seem very realistic. Pat's world is very fragile and he needs and gets a lot of support, and you can see the uncertainty, fear and love in those around him.

At first I was unconvinced by the whole US Football subplot - Pat bonds with his slightly strange Indian therapist Cliff over a shared obsession. However, it does provide some nice comic moments. And on reflection, the behaviour of the obsessive football fans, swinging from wild exhilaration to hopeless depression, with burst of uncontrollable fury, seems pretty much indistinguishable from a diagnosed mental illness...
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Spoils the endings of some classic books, 2 Mar 2014
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This review is from: The Silver Linings Playbook (Kindle Edition)
Although the book lacks any challenge, I found myself oddly compelled to read it. It is a feel-good book with a couple of decent plot twists. The portrayal of mental health issues does seem off and rather unsupported though.

HOWEVER: it does like to ruin the endings of several classic books. If you have any intention of reading these classics I suggest steering clear of this book:

1) The Great Gatsby
2) A Farewell to Arms
3) The Scarlet Letter
4) The Bell Jar
5) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
6) The Catcher in the Rye

In my opinion, this is a rather conceited thing for an author to do, and seriously lowered my opinion of the book. One review I read prior to my purchase mentioned about Gatsby, but as I had just read it I didn't mind. I would have liked someone to give me a warning about the major spoilers - if you intend on reading any of these then this book is really not worth it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I needed this book., 23 Jun 2013
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This review is from: The Silver Linings Playbook (Kindle Edition)
With mental illness issues myself I needed this book in my life right now. I never looked for silver linings but this book showed me there everywhere.
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