Title: The Silver Linings Playbook
Author: Matthew Quick
Publisher: Farrar, Strous, and Giroux
Publication Date: 11-2-08
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Mental Health
Source: Local used bookstore
Meet Pat. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure a happy ending for him — the return of his estranged wife Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent time in a mental health facility.) The problem is, Pat’s now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he’s being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he’s being hunted by Kenny G!
I had no clue that this book was going to be this good. I saw the movie when it first came out in theaters and adored it. I didn’t realize that it was actually based on a book until months later! I was disappointed that I hadn’t been able to read the book before seeing the movie (yes, I’m completely one of those people), but still wanted to read the book anyway. I wasn’t planning on reading it anytime soon, but then I recently found a copy at my local used bookstore, and my boyfriend started randomly listening to the audiobook. I figured that I should jump onboard even though it wasn’t in my reading schedule, so that we could watch the movie together after we’d both read the book. While I remember really liking the movie, I honestly couldn’t remember a whole lot else about it, so I was excited to read the book, thinking that it would almost be like I’d never seen the movie, and it kind of was.
My favorite thing about both The Silver Linings Playbook novel and the movie is its portrayal of mental health. I love how it’s taken on in sort of a light-hearted manner, but also in a serious one. It’s a dark sort of humor. Even though I consider myself to be pretty open-minded when it comes to mental health, having the book told in a first-person perspective from somebody who is dealing with those kinds of issues and who interacts with both other “normal” people and other people who are dealing with the same types of things is really eye-opening. It makes you understand first-hand what emotions and thoughts Pat is having, and his reasoning behind them. It gives you a great sense of understanding and empathy for what he and people like him are going through.
This book manages to be all at once educational, hilarious, and quite sincere. I found myself laughing out loud more than once, only to be completely stone-faced on the next page. The Silver Linings Playbook is full of ups and downs — the kind that you would realistically expect from somebody like Pat. His character is so real and almost horrifyingly relatable. I love his perspective on life, yet at the same time I realize how incredibly naïve he can be at times because of it.
Tiffany’s character is also really special. Jennifer Lawrence is literally the perfect actress to have taken on that role. I’m not sure if I would’ve reacted to Tiffany’s book character differently if I hadn’t seen the movie first, though. Because I love Jennifer Lawrence and she did such an amazing job with Tiffany, I have a soft spot in my heart for her…so it’s easy to forget how rough she comes off at certain points in the book. She’s very abrasive and different. I’m not sure that I’ve ever met anybody like Tiffany in my life, yet it’s so easy to imagine her as a real person, just like Pat. By the end, I had tears in my eyes as I was reading her explanation for what went on in her life. I was able to forgive her just as Pat did, and just thinking about their relationship makes me smile so hard.
I would definitely recommend this book to anybody who’s looking for a realistic and humorous portrayal of mental health or has dealt with depression. The Silver Linings Playbook is such a special novel that I’m sure won’t be leaving my head and heart for a while. These characters have burrowed their way inside me, and I might have to end up re-reading this one someday in order to enjoy them all over again.