4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
I'm a silver linings girl...,
This review is from: The Silver Linings Playbook (Paperback)
... so I really appreciated the journey that Pat Peoples goes on in The Silver Linings Play Book by Matthew Quick.
Pat believes that his life is a movie that's being directed by God. He's been in a mental institution and has just been released into the care of his mother. His priority now that he is out is to become the best man that he can be in order to end the enforced 'apart time' from Nikki, his wife. With this in mind he weight trains every day to get his body into peak physical condition for his wife's return. At sunset Pat runs literally with his head in the clouds, gazing upwards as he searches for silver linings in them.
He also decides to start reading literature to impress his wife. There are some hilarious scenes where he reflects on why on earth his wife, a teacher, would encourage school children to read classic books because so many were depressing! This is what he thinks of the Great Gatsby:
"you can tell that Fitzgerald never took the time to look up at the clouds during sunset, because there's no silver lining at the end of that book, let me tell you."
The classic books that Pat reads are used to demonstrate that life doesn't always go the way that you want it to, a message that Pat struggles to accept as 'apart time' gets longer and longer.
Pat's language is simple and childlike, which I thought was a good technique to reflect his memory difficulties. You sense his struggle to think things through carefully and clearly. He has to really focus to be kind and on the odd occasions that he feels he isn't he worries, much more than everyone else around him, the people who are considered to be mentally well. The chapter headings are genius, pay attention to them as they reveal a lot about the chapter ahead, such as `He Does Not Preach Pessimism' the chapter where we are introduced to Pat's new psychiatrist Dr. Patel.
The prejudice that surrounds people who have been in a mental institution is explored in this novel in a realistic way, through the thoughtless comments and actions of Pat's family and friends. While Pat makes genuine efforts to be kind, they often give lip service to it, and at times it seems as though they would benefit from a bit of therapy! For example, Pat's dad only communicates through sport and his mum's at her wits end with him. She over compensates for his dad's lack of interest by constantly buying Pat new things, and then his dad gets jealous.
The only way Pat can talk to any of the men in his life is through sport, as they follow their favourite team the Eagles. Even his new therapist is a fan. I found these relationship dynamics interesting; especially the moment when Pat's dad starts to leave him the sports pages to read, I thought that that was a touching scene of acceptance. It made me think of the conversations I've had with my own dad, we always start by discussing golf!
I also loved the friendship that developed between `tragic' Tiffany and Pat. Her grief was raw and real. Meanwhile, Pat was stuck in limbo unable to grieve because he couldn't remember what had happened to him.
Overall I enjoyed this book, it's quirky and original. It will make you think about your own relationships. In my experience silver linings can often be found after hardship, and as I read the last page of this book I felt my whole mind and body respond with a huge smile.