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on 18 March 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I happened to have just finished reading Silver Linings Playbook. Then a day later I was offered the author's next adult book. I thought Silver Linings was excellent, and better than the Oscar winning film. So the follow-up was a must read.

The drop off in quality is stunning. For a comparative example I would go to film director William Friedkin. He only made two horror films. The Exorcist (1973) is generally considered to be a masterpiece. His second horror film was The Guardian (1990). There's a reason why you've probably never heard of it. It was full of silly ideas, incompetent logic problems and was just very badly made. How the same man made those two films is hard to fathom. Now in literature we've got Silver Linings Playbook and The Good Luck of Right Now.

He has basically rewritten Silver Linings Playbook. The similarities between them feel substantial. Both have a first person narrative from a man with mental health problems who is struggling to find his way through life. Even the writing format is similar with short chapters headed with an amusing or odd quote from the segment.

Unfortunately it was a bad rewrite. A very, very, very bad rewrite. The book simply doesn't work. At all. It sits dead on the page and bores the reader. I didn't buy into the reality of the story or the characters. It's short so at least it doesn't drag on and on.

I don't know anything about how it was written. From reading it I get the impression it was years and years of pulling teeth trying to get it down on paper. I imagine he spent years struggling with the awkward, inert story and boring, unbelievable in anyway characters. It must have been as boring as hell to write. He should have given up early. It's the type of book that should never have been written in the first place, and certainly never published.

I gave up on the book when the lead character goes to the yellow room. This was at about the halfway point. The new character we were introduced to (excessive swearing, a cat fixation and he used the word `hey' at the end of every sentence) made me groan with an existential horror at the thought of reading anymore of this crap.

For the sake of writing a decent review I tried again the next day. I shouldn't have bothered but I did. I had been skipping paragraphs that didn't interest me before, but to get through my despair and to get it over with quicker I skipped even more content that didn't do anything for me. What an awful book. I got to the end. It was a massive waste of my time. The story went nowhere interesting and there was no pleasure in any of it. It was a worthless, unconvincing book.

I found that if I put the book aside and let the momentum of reading it subside, then it was very hard to return to it. So it took me several weeks to read what was a small book.

Read the brilliant Silver Linings Playbook instead and completely ignore this book. I urge you to walk away from it.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 September 2015
This was our book club’s choice for September. Quite honestly, I was very bored. Worse than that, irritated – by the lazy writing, the central premise (that he’s writing to Richard Gere), the damaged people, the hijack of Buddhist principles, - in fact the whole thing.

In short, I didn’t like it. I wondered why Richard Gere? Substitute someone really interesting, for instance, not just a hack-actor with a big name and you might have something to say. I’m truly sorry that I can’t believe in any of it, not for a second. It’s schmaltz all the way. I feel as if I have been coated with sugar and rolled in something unmentionable. Sorry.

And actually, I feel quite angry that people with mental problems have again been used as if they were just characters. (It has not one iota of the intelligent book that started all this kind of thing off (The Incident of the Dog in the Nightime)) One has an abusive boyfriend, another was assaulted, violence was done to another, a priest defrocked himself. They are all just categories – pick any two from four. It has no verisimilitude, no truthfulness, it’s a dreadful example of copying out a winning formula and hoping for the best.
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"You are my confidant, Richard Gere, and I'm not about to share my pretending with anyone, because pretending often ends when you allow nonpretenders access to the better, safer worlds you create for yourself."

Never before have you read a book of letters to the Pretty Woman star. It's a well-used idea, breathes life into the past tense narrative, gives a new slant on things.

And as the quote above suggests, this is a novel about self-deception. The protagonist is well aware that he is deceiving himself in writing to the film star. But he doesn't really care. Nearing 40, having always lived in close companionship with his mother, he is ill-equipped for his life after her death from cancer. Soon after, their family priest defrock himself publicly and knocks on the door, moving in with Bartholemew. He is happy to have the companionship and guidance, even if he doesn't quite understand why Father McNamee has taken an interest. Painfully awkward and shy, can he summon up the courage to speak to the 'Girlbrarian' he's fallen in love with at the library?

And other people Bartholomew meets all have their own hidden pasts. May all be deceiving themselves. Our letter-writer may know he's a little naive, protected, but he does seem through the novel to be able to see his acquaintances' lives more clearly than they are able to.

The Richard Gere angle worked for me because it explored the self-deception aspect - and not just Bartholemew's. His mother, at the end, confuses her son with Richard to the point where fantasy and reality blur for them both. Is it a coping mechanism? Cancer? Delusion? Pretend? You finish the novel and look back after the revelations with clarity and more questions.

I like letter/diary-style books, I like how the protagonist can talk directly to the reader, and also how they can be unreliable as a narrator. It makes it more interesting, keeps you thinking.

I wasn't sure what I thought of the ending though, a little too nearly parcelled up. And the whole idea behind the title: the good luck of right now basically meaning 'fate', sometimes I can just accept that concept for the sake of the story, but at times it annoyed me that Bartholomew saw things as meaningfully connected. But that's just me.

I imagine this will be made into another successful film, like its predecessor. If you liked The Silver Linings Playbook, you'll most Iikely enjoy this as well. Some similarities of protagonist and theme, and you can get carried away into the story.
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VINE VOICEon 3 April 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I loved Matthew Quick’s previous novels The Silver Linings Playbook and Forgive Me Leonard Peacock (actually 2 of my favourite books of recent times) so couldn’t wait to get into this! Unfortunately it is terrible. Much too over the top and ridiculous storyline. All the letters to Richard Gere really begun to grind on me by the end. Avoid!
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VINE VOICEon 16 April 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have read and enjoyed Quick's other books so it was with interest that I turned to this. It tells the story of Bartholomew through his series of letters to Richard Gere. Gere was his mum's favourite actor and, as she has recently lost her battle with brain cancer, the letters provide a link.
Many of the same issues from his other novels return: relationships with family; the role of doctors/therapists; mental illness; vulnerable people being drawn together to heal; and some philosophical debating. It reminded me of Craig Lancaster's Edward books and the Rosie Project in that some serious issues are covered but in a warm, quirky style that is accessible. The problem with the light touch might be that the emotional depth and connection isn't quite achieved.
I found some story threads a little difficult to believe; although the internal conversations from the Dalai Lama are positive and encouraging they sometimes seem a little forced. I enjoyed it overall, despite my frustrations, and will read his next book!
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The author, Matthew Quick, has found his niche. Lovable people who are a little bit 'off', suffering from some sort of separation discord. This book reminds me of the people next door to the family of 'Silver Linings Playbook'. Living in Philadelphia, and playing out their dreams.

Bartholomew Neil has lived with his mother all his life. Watching television daily, the Olympics, and, in particular the Iron Cross that the triangle torso men performed on. The Olympics were a big part of their lives. When his mother received a letter from Richard Gere, who she so revered, asking that no one support the Olympics in China that year, his mother turned off the TV. Richard Gere was a man you listened to. When mom became very ill, she confused Bartholomew with Richard and started calling him Richard. He went along with this and asked the caretakers to call him Richard. He loved his mom, and after a bit she died. For the first time in 38 years, Bartholomew was alone to find his way in life. He found the letter from Richard Gere, and he started writing to Richard about his mom, his hopes and dreams, and how he should move on and find his life.

It is true, Bartholomew, had people to help him. His grief therapist, the librarian and her brother. A motley crew, true, but they met and helped each other. Some aspects of this book are humorous, but much if it is sad as the day to day life moves on.. A trip to Canada tops off the friendship. Father MacNamee was also going along, he had been a big presence in mom and Bartholomew's life. Bartholomew learns how to get along without mom, and in this touching book, we learn how he is going to live his life.

Recommended. prisrob 04-04-16
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on 12 June 2015
This eBook was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Play Book comes an inspirational tale about a thirty nine year old man who has lived with his mother his whole life. The Good Luck of Right Now is about how Bartholomew Neil copes with life after the death of his mother. Bartholomew is a very awkward man who has no idea how to cope on his own and so is assigned a grief counselor, Wendy, to help him come to terms with his new situation. Due to his mother’s movie obsessions, this story is told through pretend letters written to famous Hollywood actor, Richard Gere, who is also someone Bartholomew admires greatly.

Matthew Quick’s novel entertains the reader through the mishmash of characters from a cat-obsessed man who is convinced aliens exist, to Bartholomew’s obscure friendship with a bipolar priest. As well as being entertaining this novel explores the rhythm of the universe leaving the reader questioning the credibility of fate and wondering about religion and philosophy.

The way in which Bartholomew views the world and his reasons for writing unsent letters to Richard Gere during this difficult period of his life suggest that he his somewhere on the autism scale. Quick explores mental health issues as well as this beginning with the priest with bipolar and again later in the book when Bartholomew becomes friends with a pair of siblings, Max and Elizabeth.

At times humorous and at others thoughtful, The Good Luck of Right Now is a really interesting novel to read. It is easy to understand Bartholomew’s thought processes and he is a very lovable character. One part of the story I personally did not like, however, was the amount of swearing the character Max does. Although this emphasizes Max’s mental state and is not intended to be an insult, it did get a bit tiresome reading a swear word within every sentence he spoke.

Overall this book is definitely worth the read, especially if you enjoyed The Silver Linings Play Book. In fact, The Good Luck of Right Now may even be the better book!
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on 21 March 2014
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've just put this book down after reading it one day as I literally couldn't stop. Bartholemew is a nearly 40 year old man with unspecified special needs whose mother dies leaving him alone to work out the chaos of the world around him. His story is told in a series of letters to Richard Gere in a touching and heart-breakingly honest way.
I enjoyed Silver Lining's Playbook but think I enjoyed this even more. Would definitely recommend.
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on 6 September 2015
Having loved Silver Lining Playbook and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock I couldn’t wait to start Quick’s new adult novel. While written in a similar vein to his other novels The Good Luck of Right Now pales in comparison. I’m not sure why, but something did not click as well as the other books.

The Good Luck of Right Now follows four abnormal individuals who become entwined through a series of events as the book progresses. The story is told through a series of letters written to Richard Gene by Bartholomew as a coping mechanism for his grief over his mother’s death.

All the characters have to overcome some personal obstacle that life has thrown in their way to achieve their ‘life goals’ (something which is very important to Bartholomew), and in doing so, this group of characters become a family. The main theme of this novel is of beginnings and endings and how to get from A to B; that it is OK if life is not perfect, you get the chance to make it better.

I loved the philosophy of the Good Luck of Right Now which made the book feel heart-warming, especially towards the end when the characters all begin to understand the complexity of life.
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on 29 June 2015
The Good Luck of Right Now' was my first book by Matthew Quick, although I do have 'The Silver Lining's Playbook' on my to-read shelf. Quick has delivered brilliant novel of witty dialogue, real characters, and an underlying uncertainty that gives the story a real punch.

From the first page I found myself whizzing through this book, entranced by the beautiful writing style and the endearing nature of our protagonist Bartholomew. There is an unspoken feeling that Bartholomew has Asperger's and this makes his story all that more emotional to read. We see his adventures after the passing of his mother, who was the one constant in his life, and see how this quirky character encounters some light and some dark in the world. Bartholomew's letters to Richard Gere will have you laughing and tearing up in equal measure.

What made this story so wonderful to read, was the brilliant array of characters that we follow throughout the story, particularly as they were so well-rounded. I felt like every character was real, and could identify with them all.

This really is a story that you have to read for yourself, as it isn't just a fictional story, it is a journey that Bartholomew has to make to become his own person, and it's funny, endearing, dark and heartbreaking all at once.
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