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TITLE: The Silver Linings Playbook
AUTHOR: Matthew Quick
GENRE: Romance, Adult Fiction
Pat Peoples has a theory that his life is actually a movie produced by God, and that his God-given mission in life is to become emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure a happy ending – which, for Pat, means the return of his estranged wife Nikki, from whom he's currently having some 'apart time.' It might not come as any surprise to learn that Pat has spent several years in a mental health facility. When Pat leaves hospital and goes to live with his parents, however, everything seems changed: no one will talk to him about Nikki; his old friends now have families; his beloved football team keep losing; his new therapist seems to be recommending adultery as a form of therapy. And he's being haunted by Kenny G. There is a silver lining, however, in the form of tragically widowed, physically fit and clinically depressed Tiffany, who offers to act as a go-between for Pat and his wife, if Pat will just agree to perform in this year’s Dance Away Depression competition... - Goodreads
It is quite inevitable to compare The Silver Linings Playbook to The Perks of Being a Wallflower since they practically talk about the same issues. What is distinctively different about The Silver Linings Playbook though is that it talks about some real life adult problems, something that can be happening right at our own neighborhood, let alone the possibility of your own household. It brings some sort of a realization that life do not have the concept of age, and that it can break you apart regardless of your age.
The book's main protagonist, Pat Peoples, have some undying and practically delusional positivism in his soul. Unlike other people whose life has been twisted, when he looks at the clouds as they hover in front of the sun, he does not focus his sight on the shadow they cast, but rather on the silver linings at their edge. According to him, the light that passes through the clouds simply say that there would be hope in everything, no matter how dark things can be. His optimism only makes him a lot more pathetic since he cannot seem to have a grasp of reality.
Then, along comes Tiffany Jones who shares the same troubles as Pat. Even if you have not seen the movie yet, you will know that deus ex machina is about to happen and that they will eventually fall in love with each other. At first, both Pat and Tiffany is all fidgety about the idea of each other, but Tiffany falls in anyway and eventually Pat does too.
Matthew Quick has pushed himself way too far. It is obvious that he is trying his very best to sustain a connection between his characters and the readers, basically because his storyline requires it. The Silver Linings Playbook is not the kind of story that should be floating around the reader, like The Perks of Being a Wallflower, its effectivity depends upon its penetration to the readers. There are some points that is simply powerful, some parts that you cannot help but to feel, and there are some that are way too forceful to be believable. Somehow, there are too much stuff going on in the story, like there are but packets of idea that has been placed together.It is even highly plausible that you will eventually get lost in the middle of the story.
The best thing about the book though is its randomness. It is not often that you find a cloud chart as a tool of affection, much more is a raisin bran. These things are simply too charming to be unnoticed, and Quick have presented them on a way that will prick you sweetly. However, it does not seem right to take football as yet another surprising element, since it has always been given that Americans are in a serious relationship with it. This is also another part where Quick has gone too overboard. Football has been taken as a vital, if not a pivotal factor in the story, perhaps in the hope that it will bring connection. But then again, American football is not a universal language that everyone can relate to.
What does The Silver Linings Playbook hit right to be brought out as a motion picture? It is probably the foresaken idea that the troubled stories you read might be happening next to you, and not just in your friends' persona, but most likely in your parents. Admit it, sometimes, we all forget about the real stuff happening to adults because they seem to have it all figured out.
But then again, we can never tell.
“Life is not a PG feel-good movie. Real life often ends badly. Literature tries to document this reality, while showing us it is still possible for us to endure nobly.” - Pat Peoples
“It hurts to look at the clouds, but it also helps, like most things that cause pain.” - Pat Peoples
“Life is random and fucked-up and arbitrary, until you find someone who can make sense of it all for you— if only temporarily.” - Tiffany Jones