Sometimes you find a book that tugs at your heartstrings so hard and you never want it to end. This is how I felt about The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, the entire time I was reading it.
The novel begins with Pat People’s at a mental health institution in Baltimore, Maryland; the story is being told from his perspective. As we learn a little about Pat’s mental state, his mother comes to pick him up and takes him home to Collingswood, New Jersey. Pat is spending “apart time” from his wife, Nikki, because he is mentally unstable. Pat believes that if he loses weight and is kinder, “apart time” will end and he will be reunited with his wife. He also believes that he has only been away for a few months, but in reality, he has been gone for almost four years. Pat loves to workout, watch the Philadelphia Eagles play football, and read books that Nikki is reading with her class at the school she teaches at. Pat hates Kenny G, people touching him (except for Nikki,) and people who do not believe in silver linings.
Pat meets Tiffany at a dinner party that is being thrown on his behalf by his best friend’s wife. Tiffany is also struggling with her mental health after losing her husband. Pat and Tiffany form a relationship that vaguely resembles a friendship. They run together, go to the diner to eat raisin bran cereal, and confide in each other about their mental health.
Pat believes he is living a movie, and that movie is his own life; he keeps searching and searching for his happy ending, his silver lining, throughout the entire novel. He doesn’t want to watch any actual movies until he is done “starring in his own” because he believes that this is the only way to stay focused and end “apart time.” People fighting with mental health issues need love and understanding. The Silver Lining Playbook opened my own eyes and heart to these issues while seeing the world through Pat’s eyes as he struggled with finding his silver lining.
The Silver Linings Playbook has been turned into a feature film starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. I usually like to read the book before I see the movie, but in this instance, it was the other way around. Even though I liked the movie, I LOVED the book. The book is more touching and heartfelt than the movie is. I felt more of a connection to the characters and read the novel non-stop from start to finish; only pausing to eat, sleep, and work.
There isn’t anything I didn’t like about this book. I can not remember the last time I read a book that I enjoyed from start to finish. Not only did Pat make my heart hurt on almost every page, but he also made me laugh on numerous occasions. I almost fell off the couch with laughter when Pat didn’t believe that Veteran’s Stadium (the old Eagles/Phillies stadium) had been demolished and how he believed that he was having a hallucination while watching the video. Watching the Vet explode was traumatic, to say the least, and I can understand how someone who has been away from society for a few years could find it to be impossible.
The Silver Linings Playbook reminded me of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, my most favorite book in the world; both books even reference Catcher in the Rye. I would recommend this book to anyone, male or female, who wants to be sucked into a story and come out feeling as though Pat Peoples is their friend, a friend who needs help in this scary world. I would especially recommend this book to anyone living in the New Jersey/Philadelphia area. Having pieces of home sprinkled throughout the book made it even more emotional for me: from Pat’s and Geno’s cheese steaks (I prefer Jim’s on South Street) to the E-A-G-L-E-S chant being said on many of the pages. While reading this novel I felt like I was back where I grew up, running the streets with Pat, as he tries to find his way to happiness.
Many thanks to Matthew Quick’s publisher who sent me a copy of The Silver Linings Playbook e-book in return for an honest review.