Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

Pat comes home after months (or years?) in a mental health facility and is determined to better himself in an effort to reunite with his estranged wife, Nikki.  He knows that if he achieves a level of physical and mental fitness, God will give him the happy ending to the movie of his life.  He tirelessly works out and runs, while also reading classic literature and making an effort to be nicer and help people.  

But no one is willing to tell Pat much about Nikki, what led to his being committed, or really anything that has transpired in the months (or years?) that he was gone.  Enter Tiffany.  Tiffany has her own issues.  She's depressed over the death of her husband, but she takes a liking to Pat.  She starts running with him (well not so much with him as following behind him uninvited), and eventually convinces him to enter a competitive dance competition with her in exchange for her being a go-between with Nikki.  This might be his last chance to end "apart time".

A book about mental illness, love, family, and football.

Okay, I'm thinking it might have been a mistake to watch the movie version of this and then read the book.  I loved the movie, which is what led me to want to read the book.  The movie actually was a lot different from the book... and for the better.  Everything that was changed for the movie I can tell was changed to make the story flow better.  I just wasn't feeling the same magic that I was feeling when I was watching the movie.... like at all.

Pat clearly has mental issues, and it was sort refreshing to read this book written in that voice.  He came off very child-like and had a blunt matter-of-factness to him (sort of like Charlie of Perks of Being a Wallflower and Holden Caulfield of The Catcher in the Rye), which I liked and got annoyed with all at the same time.  Pat was 34, but came off like he was 12... which led me to question how he was able to be married and have a job and all that in his previous life.  I don't *think* when you are mentally ill that you just wake up one day, have a life changing incident, and your entire personality is completely changed.  I'm pretty sure if you have emotional issues, like Pat clearly does, you've been like that for a while.  I could be wrong though??  I'm no expert, but if he was so emotionally immature as he seemed to be, I truly question his past ability to have relationships.

What I really didn't like was the lack of information given throughout the book.  We followed Pat as he went through his daily routine of fitness and Eagles football stuff, but we weren't given details into his past, especially his mental diagnosis.  The movie stated that he was Bipolar... unless I missed it, the book just left it up to the reader to figure out what was up with him.  And- I had NO idea that Bipolarism could cause years of memory loss.  Not too sure about that?  Also, it was mentioned that he was a crappy husband, but all that was said was that he was an asshole to his wife, it wasn't mentioned how his illness played a role in that.

I know I'm super biased... but it was pretty hard for this Pittsburgh-er to read about Philadelphia Eagles fans.  No offense to my peeps out in Philly, but it is common knowledge throughout the football world that Eagles fans are the WORST!  I went to college in a sort of central Pennsylvania location, so we had a TON of Philly people there... and I lived through the Eagles Superbowl run of 2005.  Ughhh it was rough going!  Eagles fans are so loud and *sorry** annoying!!  And they hate on their own team half the time!!  So yeah, it was a little hard for me to get down with all the Eagles fandom going on in the book.  At least in the movie Pat tried to avoid Eagles stuff!  But that being said, I'm a super NFL football fan, so I did enjoy parts of it (especially when the Eagles were losing *mwahhahahaha).

I found the dance competition not being the ending of the book to be anti-climatic.  Same with the end result of the Tiffany/Pat relationship.  I wanted more of a connection between them, and I think that was the number one thing the movie did better than the book.

OVERALL: An interesting look at a man dealing with mental illness and the loss of his previous life.  I loved the movie, but felt like the book didn't hold the same type of magic that I got from Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper.  It's a book that sucks you in, but doesn't go to all the emotional places you'd expect it to.

This Book Contains:

  • Mental illness
  • Physical fitness training
  • Eagles football circa 2004-2006
  • Classic books like: The Scarlet Letter, The Great Gatsby, etc.
  • Modern dance
  • Family dysfunction
  • A Kenny G phobia
  • Philadelphia landmarks

My Rating: 2.5/4

How I got this book: Purchased at B&N
Date Published: 10/2/2008


  1. I just watched the movie the other day. The first half was just alright, but by the end I was like omg I want to be best friends with J Law haha. After reading your review I don't think I'm going to pick up the book. Especially if it's really different from the movie. Great review!

  2. I'm sorry you didn't like this one! It's actually one of my favorite books and when I saw the movie last year I was totally disgusted that it was turned into a kind of silly rom-com! Everyone I know who read the book before seeing the movie didn't care for the movie and maybe the opposite is true too, I feel like I've heard other people say what you're saying.

    I feel like the Pat in the book is a lot sicker than the Pat in the movie. In the book isn't he hospitalized for a much longer period of time? I also think his memory loss is from seeing his wife hooking up with the guy (a colleague? I can't remember now), not from the bipolar disorder, which as far as I know (and I unfortunately know a lot about it because it's pretty prevalent in my family), isn't a side effect of bipolar disorder.

    I get the football thing too. A friend of mine is from Philly and I remember her last year being so excited to see this because she kept seeing Eagles stuff in the commercials :)

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