Monday, 23 June 2014

The Silver Linings Playbook

The Silver Linings Playbook
Matthew Quick
Oxford, Picador, 2008, 289p

Unfortunately, I saw the film for this book before I realised there was a novel written before. Fortunately, I love Jennifer Lawrence, so found the film to be entertaining and touching. I have waited some time before reading the novel, to avoid getting too mixed up with the adaptations, and I am glad because, as you might expect, there were some differences. 

Pat Peoples is released from a neural institute into the care of his family, where he finds it difficult to readjust to reality. To occupy himself and get fit enough to win back his wife, Pat works out extensively every day; until someone starts following him on his runs and disrupts his routine. Tiffany seems a little crazy, too, and claims she is scouting Pat, though refuses to tell him what for. With time, the two learn to trust each other bit by bit, and Tiffany reveals she wants him to partner her in the Dance Against Depression. 

I love the complexity of the characters in this novel. Pat, narrating in long, winding sentences, is obsessive and aggressive, desperate to win back Nikki, optimistic about silver linings. He sees the good in the world, despite all the bad he had been through, and looks to God for miracles. Tiffany has lost her cop husband, which resulted in compulsive lies and dark behaviours and job loss. Pat cannot deny that she is attractive, and is so preoccupied with his wife that he does not seem to notice everyone seems to be trying to set them up. 

The Silver Linings Playbook reveals that individuals with mental health cannot be defined by distinctive labels or stereotypes. They cannot be grouped as one mass with the same behaviours and triggers. And, regardless of any internal chemical imbalance, love is complicated.

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