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The Silver Linings Playbook

So, I really wanted the first edition of this book, and I like searched all over the Internet for it. Not kidding. I couldn’t find a copy anywhere and it was driving me absolutely bonkers!!!!

Finally, I’m on this website, and this dude is selling the book for like six dollars, it’s obviously used, and it says, QUOTE, basically brand new, very minimal wear and tear, the like. It painted a really pretty picture.

So I get the book in the mail, I open up the weirdo packaging, and pull it out. It’s a stolen book from the Sonoma County library, as it says, Sonoma County Library across the top, on the binding, inside the cover, on the back cover,and  on the title page. And everywhere it says “Sonoma County Library”, the dude merely took a permanent marker and crossed it out… AS IF THAT MAKES IT BETTER! LOL HOW DENSE DOES HE THINK I AM!!??

I literally am still upset by this and it’s been over two weeks since I got the book.

Okay, sorry, my review starts now:

The movie is better than the book.

I had to say it.

Because it is.

It is so much better than the book.

However, the book is pretty amazing too.

You just can’t beat Bradley Cooper, J-Law, and Robert Deniro. You can’t. They ruined the book for mankind once they made such a bomb ass movie out of it. 

The thing is, the book and the movie have different plots. The movie definitely moves things along at a faster pace, the book is very drawn out. The movie’s plot is more high-concept, there are more stakes, and everything seems to fit together perfectly. You don’t get that in the book. The book is much more realistic. 

But you don’t get inside Pat’s head as much in the movie. I didn’t ever feel like I was missing that in the movie, but now that I’ve read the book, I understand Pat so much more. I understand WHY he throws the book out the window, why he does this and that, and it felt like a really great compliment to the movie. Like you should read it before watching the movie because it gives you that juicy insight you want. 

Like his behavior in the movie is really only explained by a few Bradley Cooper voice overs here or there and the obvious opening scenes at the mental institute… in the book, you’re living in Pat’s head for 275 straight pages, and it’s wonderful.

I love this story because I love the characters. They’re mentally ill, they know it, the people around them know it, it makes everyone uncomfortable and tense, even the reader, and I can’t believe how good of a job Matthew Quick did portraying the two characters rightfully. He didn’t make them overly weird, he didn’t have them miraculously get better, he didn’t make them totally likable, and he didn’t cure them at the end of the book.

The people around them reacted realistically to their illnesses, they side-eyed each other, they tip-toed around them, they treated them like children, and God, it’s just so genius.

Again I feel like I’m five.

On the way to the shore, Ronnie and Veronica talk to Tiffany and me the same way they talk to Emily–as if they are not really expecting a response, saying things that really don’t need to be said at all. “Can’t wait to get on the beach.” “We’re going to have such a good time.” “What should we do first–swim, walk the beach, or throw the football?” “Such a nice day.” “Are you guys having fun?” “Can’t wait to eat those hoagies!”

The thing about mental illness is most people with mental illness think nobody understands them and I love when an author makes sure that the main characters feel this, because it’s a big part of it. 

I feel as though Dr. Timbers was right about me–that I don’t belong in the real world, because I am uncontrollable and dangerous. But of course I do not say this to Jake, mostly because he has never been locked up and doesn’t understand what it feels like to lose control, and he only wants to watch the football game now, and none of this means anything to him, because he has never been married and he has never lost someone like Nikki and he is not trying to improve his life at all, because he doesn’t ever feel the war that goes on in my chest every single fucking day–the chemical explosions that light up my skull like the Fourth of July and the awful needs and impulses and …

I totally felt like I could relate to him for the majority of the book. I know what it feels like to lose control and it’s something you just can’t explain. It’s just this thing that happens to me and to others and I feel like my friends have it so easy just living out their days without anxiety and never having to worry about exploding or falling into an unexplainable mood. 

I mean the relatable level is at like a thousand, even though Pat is pretty intense. 

Which leads me to:

The Silver Linings Playbook follows Pat Peoples as he tries to reunite with his estranged wife, Nikki, by way of his strenuous fitness regime. He believes his life is a movie and God wages the possibility of a reunion on Pat’s physical health. But Pat realizes he’s missing a huge chunk of memory from his past, and as each new piece of it reveals itself, he finds himself questioning the truth. 

Even though I liked the movie better, this book is definitely one of the best I’ve read this year. I just loved being in Pat’s head so much. I love the bluntness of him, I love the undying love he has for Nikki, I love the stupidly extensive exercise schedule, I love everything about it. 

But, I wasn’t cheering for Pat and Tiffany like I was in the movie. I felt like Pat was settling at the end, I really did. And you don’t want to feel that way. I felt like Pat didn’t get his silver lining with Tiffany, which sucks, because that’s the whole point of the book, that there’s always a silver lining. And because Pat is so obsessed with Nikki the whole time and Tiffany ends up turning into the villain, by the end you’re like eh to the whole romance thing because it just seems like a match made in fucking hell. 

Because of this, sometimes I think maybe it’s almost as if I’m not really sure the multiple “Pat-less” years have truly transpired, but maybe it’s been only a brief separation that feels like years. Like a solo car rid that takes all night but feels like a lifetime. Watching all those highway dashes flying by at seventy miles an hour, your eyes becoming lazy slits and your mind wandering over the memory of a whole lifetime–past and future, childhood memories to thoughts of your own death–until the numbers on the dashboard clock do not mean anything anymore. And then the sun comes up and you get to your destination and the ride becomes the thing that is no longer real, because that surreal feeling has vanished and time has become meaningful again. 

So beautiful. I loved the prose, despite the lack of contractions. I don’t know why the author, Matthew Quick, did this, but he like completely went without contractions. It made the reading a little choppy, I got hung up in places and fumbled over others, but above all else, I could suffer through it to enjoy the beauty of his words.

GAH. 

I know my review is all over the place.

I think it’s because I just LOVE THIS STORY SO MUCH. 

I don’t know how better to describe it. I love the Eagles, how big of a roll they play in the book. I love how everyone blames everyone else for an Eagles loss–you weren’t there so you jinxed it–when really, the Eagles just had a shitty fucking game. I loved the community the Eagles games built inside the book. I love the therapist, the chairs in his therapy room, how Pat’s hell-bent on seeming so happy, so he always picks the brown chair. 

The great thing about Pat is, however irrational and hopelessly romantic he is, he gets it. He understands people more than you probably do and so does Tiffany. They just have this odd way of looking at the world, they don’t bullshit, they get straight to the point and I loved them for it. 

He did not deserve to die, and his death absolutely proves that life is random and fucked-up and arbitrary, until you find someone who can make sense of it all for you–if only temporarily.

And for my very FAVORITE line, which most won’t understand unless they read the book:

There’s something honest about all of this, and I cannot imagine any other woman lying in the middle of a frozen soccer field with me–in the middle of a snowstorm even–impossibly hoping to see a single cloud break free of a nimbostratus.

You’ll have to read the book to understand the goodness of this.

The last thing I want to talk about is the characters. HOW VERY CONSISTENT THEY WERE. And that’s fucking hard. Like they seemed like real people Matthew followed around and documented. They were so realistic, did things you thought they would do, didn’t morph into each other, were always unique, were always so beautifully imperfect. I got to know them SO well by the end, not just Pat, all of them, and it really blew me away. 

38/38 

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