Monday, 21 March 2016

The Silver Linings Playbook // Review

I'm doing a module where we look at "madness" and how it's portrayed in literature and film - I'm really enjoying it, mostly for the discussion aspect. The books we look at are a strange mixture, but one of them is The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick (a book with a colour in the title, for my book review challenge). We've not actually talked about it at uni yet, so here I am getting a head start and reading it for pleasure.

Honestly, I love it. Pat - the main character, fresh out of 'the bad place' (a neural health facility) is surprisingly easy to relate to. I'm not a 35 y-o straight male from America, unknowingly divorced and just home from a mental institution, obsessed with exercising and the Philadelphia Eagles; but I just got him. I felt like I knew him, and I empathised with him, and I think that's important in writing a book focusing so heavily on mental health.

Pat's experiences with the people around him are both good and bad: his mother is there for him in a way that's almost suffocating, while his father barely talks to him. His brother seems nervous at first, but as brothers do he slowly gets used to having his Pat around again. His best friend is quiet at first, and the best friend's wife is nervous of Pat being alone with their baby. I think, sadly, this is similar to the experiences a lot of people genuinely do have on release from a mental health facility.

There's football, and therapy - Pat's therapist is a brilliant character, and adds a happy tone to the book even in difficult situations. There's copious amounts of exercise, and woman trouble. Pat was married before he went to 'the bad places' and is desperate to reconnect with his wife. But then Tiffany comes along and all sorts of dancing, letters and drama takes place. I don't want to give too much away, but the plot is SO interesting and takes so many different routes that there's always something to surprise you.

And of course, there's silver linings - at least, Pat always looks for them. Literally in the clouds and metaphorically in situations. His positivity, and his wanting to be kind rather than right from now on, gives such a nice edge to the book.

I've not seen the film, but Sam has and she says they're pretty different. I'm reluctant to watch it, because I couldn't put The Silver Linings Playbook down and it was so well written, so delicately handled and so easy to fall in love with. I'd definitely recommend it, whether you're interested in mental health and how literature deals with it or not!

Have you read this book? What's your thoughts?

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