Tag Archives: Pat

Review The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

A heartwarming debut novel, soon to be a major movie by David O. Russell.

“Aawww shucks!” NPR’s Nancy Pearl said. “I know that’s hardly a usual way to begin a book review, but it was my immediate response to finishing Matthew Quick’s heartwarming, humorous and soul-satisfying first novel . . . This book makes me smile.”

Meet Pat Peoples. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure him a happy ending—the return of his estranged wife, Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent several years in a mental health facility.) The problem is, Pat’s now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he’s being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he’s being haunted by Kenny G!

David O. Russell, the Oscar-nominated director of The Fighter, is helming his own adaptation of The Silver Linings Playbook. Due in theaters this Thanksgiving, the movie features Bradley Cooper (Peoplemagazine’s Sexiest Man Alive) in the role of Pat, alongside Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Julia Stiles, Chris Tucker, and Jacki Weaver. As the award-winning novelist Justin Cronin put it: “Tender, soulful, hilarious, and true, The Silver Linings Playbook is a wonderful debut.”

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Page Count: 289
Source: My copy.
Rating: 3/5
I’ve got to stop reading the book just because I want to see the movie. That’s not to say this book is bad, but the movie looked really funny and cute and I love Bradley Cooper and I like Jennifer Lawrence and I didn’t even know there was a book until I saw the movie cover at the bookstore and, well, I think I would have really just enjoyed the movie. And now I don’t think I will. As much.

Like I said, the movie looked really funny and cute and the book is well… it’s not really funny or cute. At all. It’s sad and depressing and kind of twisted. Pat’s thirty-five year old mind has been reverted to a really immature teenager’s mind due to a traumatic experience. And no one in the book – not even his psychiatrist – really says he is acting that naive, but really. I mean, he actually refers to things as “apart time” and thinks his life is a movie. It’s really sad. And it’s painfully obvious to the reader that he is just so wrong about everything, but you just have to ride it out with him.

I did end up rating this book higher than I thought I would, due to the somewhat satisfying ending (albeit a bit rushed), but mostly didn’t enjoy it because I thought I would be getting something other than what I got. If you go into this book expecting a quirky, funny, light read, I think you’ll be disappointed like I was. It is quirky, kind of, but not very funny, in my opinion. I mean, I laughed a few times, but mostly this book tackles the seriousness of mental illness, and the things people do when they are learning to cope with it. And Pat copes with it by working out (way too much I think – he is quite obsessive about it) and watching football. I mean, really. If you’re like Tiffany and you hate football, you probably don’t want to read this book.

I did enjoy Pat and some of the relationships in this book – especially his mother and his brother, Jake – but the love story was kind of botched for me. I didn’t agree with the way the author pushed the romance on these characters. I think the interpretation that fucked up people can only be with fucked up people (and I’m not saying the mentally ill are “fucked up”, but “fucked up” is exactly how Pat and Tiffany are portrayed and treated) is bullshit. I didn’t necessarily have a problem with Pat and Tiffany as the people that they were (except for Tiffany’s grave mistakes), but I think that two people should be together because they want to, not because they should or because they are settling for one another. And that’s kind of what it seemed like to me. Maybe I’m being naive myself or maybe I’m just super lucky to have found someone I truly love, but the whole thing just seemed forced.

I “liked it” (Goodreads rating) because of the characters. I wasn’t necessarily a fan of Pat and Tiffany’s relationship or the football or the working out or even the somewhat strange dancing competition, but I really liked Pat and his mom and Jake and Dr. Patel. I thought they were all great people that I could really connect with.

Unfortunately, this novel spoils several books that I wanted to read, including The Bell Jar and Catcher in the Rye. In his story, Pat actually reads these books and tells us the ending of every one (there is like five books total). So, if you want to avoid a serious spoiler alert for a bunch of classics, you probably want to be careful with this one.


Review The Walker in Shadows by Barbara Michaels

 

The house next door to Pat Robbins–eerily identical to the home Pat shares with her college-aged son, Mark–has been empty for years, the darkness within seeming to warn all to stay away. Now new tenants are moving in: affable Josef Friedrichs and his lovely daughter, Kathy, who has stolen Mark’s heart on first glance. But something is not right–something old and secret lurking in the shadows that fresh paint and new furnishings cannot mask or exorcise. There is evil alive in the heart of the house next door–and it means to feed on the fears of two families . . . and drag Kathy Friedrichs with it into peril.

Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Publisher: HarperTorch
Release Date: 1979
Page Count: 352
Source: My copy.
Rating: 2/5

I don’t really like ghost stories. But this was a book club read so… yeah. I read it. Thankfully it wasn’t scary, or I may have put it down. I don’t do scary things.

The rating system says a two star rating is for “it was okay”. And this book was okay, I guess, despite the general boringness and lack of development. I liked the writing style – it had that going for it.

I wasn’t impressed by the background or the supposed “twist” at the end. Which is strange because I generally enjoy historical fiction (not that that is what this was, but it had some elements). I loved Between Shades of Gray and The Russian Concubine series, and The Red Scarf is one of my all time favorite books. But this backstory failed to capture my attention. I found it all to be very uninteresting. The worst was the ghost. It only appeared at 1 AM? Was that ever explained? How unbelievable is that??

It’s obvious that the author really tried to focus on the romance of the story, but I just wasn’t buying it. Mark and Kathy’s (whose name definitely didn’t match her naïve, young girl personality – I could see Katherine or Katie or even Kath, as Mark sometimes referred to her as, but Kathy? It didn’t work for her) romance was practically nonexistent, if anything all appearances pointed to them being very good friends. And Josef and Pat’s romance? Where the hell did that come from? I sensed not one attraction even, through the entire course of the book, and all the sudden he’s jealous that some other man is touching her? And then they’re kissing? (removed for spoilers)

So that was annoying. But there were some elements I enjoyed. The writing was very refined – I found the whole thing very easy to read. And I liked Mark’s character – my reaction to him was almost automatic. He lived a very humorous, easygoing existence and I found myself smiling whenever he would speak.

Mostly though, the book bored me. The backstory was very meh, and I literally fell asleep reading the last twenty pages. The romance was completely botched. The book just really wasn’t for me.