The Silver Linings Playbook, Matthew Quick

silver-liningsI am a strong believer in the whole book before the movie thing. Mostly, because I like to see different modes of storytelling in action, but also because I enjoy seeing what choices the writer (of the screenplay) makes in adapting a story (my favorite example of this is in Game of Thrones, where I think they make excellent changes for the improvement of the narrative).

I am also a recent convert to the Google Books app on my phone, which I just so happened to be perusing yesterday when I happened across Matthew Quick’s Silver Linings Playbook. I’ve been meaning to watch the movie for a while now (Jennifer Lawrence, enough said), and so one thing lead to another.

Silver Linings Playbook is narrated by Pat, whose mission is to reunite with his estranged wife after his release from a mental institution. In the process he strikes up a friendship with a widowed dancer, struggling with her own mental stability since the death of her husband. While that synopsis is true of the novel and the film, there are significant divergences. Everything from Pat’s last name to his relationship with his father is altered on the screen, along with some pretty significant plot points. One of the disappointments of the film for me was the loss of some of the quirkiness and warmth of Doctor Patel, who was one of the best characters in the novel. But I found the other characters to be more real than their novel counterparts.

Overall it’s a quick read, and it’s sweet, but there are a lot of niggly things for me. Pat’s references to “apart time” and “the bad place” seem childish and regressive. Sure, he had a psychotic break, but his vocabulary didn’t ring true for me. I was also often bored by the lengthy descriptions of football matches, which I found myself skipping past. Though, this was made up for by some memorable and amusing scenes. It’s a sentimental tale about romance and the road to recovery: love against all odds, hopefulness in the face of despair, and all that — I guess you got that from the title though, right?

Read an excerpt here.

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