Fast Read: Matthew Quick, Silver Linings Playbook

My husband and I have been out together, sans bebe, a grand total of once this year, and it was to see Silver Linings Playbook. We were surprised that Bradley Cooper can really act (though we shouldn’t have been — he’s hilarious in Wet Hot American Summer) and agreed that Jennifer Lawrence is pretty rad.  As we left the theater, we talked about how we felt like we’d seen a good movie; not a flick, not an art-house piece (we like those too), but a good solid movie.

So we bought the book.

I zipped through it in about two and a half hours on Saturday night (can you tell we have a toddler?). It’s different from the movie, of course; Pat Peoples is more disturbed and more interesting the book, but I think the other characters—particularly Pat’s father and Tiffany—are fleshed out more in the movie.

Still, the book is an engaging picture of mental illness and the glories and lows of fandom, with some very funny passages to boot. Lit geeks will love Pat’s short reviews of classic American novels. My favorite:

Maybe Puritans were simply dumber than modern people, but I cannot believe how long it took those seventeenth-century Bostonians to figure out that their spiritual leader knocked up the local hussy. [. . .] I know we were assigned Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter back in high school, and if I had known the book was filled with so much sex and espionage, I might have read it when I was sixteen. (Matthew Quick, Silver Linings Playbook, 57)

A quick read, with short chapters; might be perfect for beach season, especially if you’re taking turns chasing a toddler.

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