I figured, since I own 3 of Matthew Quick’s books already, I might as well start one. Here are my thoughts!
Spoiler Free Review
Title: The Silver Lining’s Playbook
Authors: Matthew Quick
Published: Picador, 2008
So unlike some stories I read where there are no movie accompaniments, this story I went into thinking I knew exactly what to expect. I was wrong. Whilst I loved the movie, the book was different in several respects, so it was interesting to read and see what they had changed. Ultimately, I’ve decided I like both book and movie, but I definitely felt like I gained more from the book, so here’s a few reasons why.
*Also, a little disclaimer – I am going to compare the book to the movie quite a bit. I’d find it hard not too, so bear with me.
I loved the characterisation in the book. Pat, whilst he clearly experiences mental health issues in the movie, it wasn’t fully focussed on. The book is much more about Pat’s mental health journey – his struggles, his setbacks and achievements. I felt this gave a much more well rounded view of the character and of mental health. When I re-watched the movie after reading the book, I realised that after a while, some of this was swept under the rug in order to give more to the fun, dance-y storyline.
I also realised that a lot of relationships Pat has with other characters in the story were changed for entertainment reasons. Most of all, his relationships with his father. Pat’s Dad spends the majority of the movie struggling to even speak to his son one-to-one, and avoids accepting the changes to Pat’s health. I felt this gave the story more of a realness – mental health is scary and not everyone copes well with the realisation that their family members aren’t coping – and it would have been nice to see this portrayed more in the movie version.
Although most of the plot remained the same, none of the dance competition storyline kicked in until the middle of the book. For some people, this might mean that the beginning of the book is slow, but Quick uses it to really show us how Pat’s health is affecting his routines and relationships, and how – no matter how hard he tries – he cannot settle back into the life he once had. Closer to the end of the book, it focusses more on his new relationship with Tiffany, but again does not truly mirror the events in the movie.
The one theme of the book that I didn’t enjoy reading was the football. Basically, I just have no interest in it, and I’m not a sport follower in any sense of the word. I did find myself zoning out at the sport heavy sections a little, but I don’t know what would have made me not do that, so it wasn’t any fault of the book at all. However, I could acknowledge it was a big part of Pat’s life and let him deepen some of the relationships with his family, so I could see why the theme was important.
Overall, reading the book was a completely new experience. It was refreshing to read a book about mental health from a first person narrative – as I confess I can’t remember that last book I read that did this. This book, in comparison to the movie, was much more centred on mental health issues and its effect on a person’s relationships, and I enjoyed this emphasis. Whilst there were many funny moments – much more suited to the movie version – I was more effected by the heartfelt moments, the moments were Pat’s struggles were laid out plainly and where he spoke of overcoming his issues to live a fuller life. It was real, it was emotional, but overall it was a hopeful story. I think everyone could use a little bit more hope in their lives.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Such a good read – not for everyone, and some of the themes didn’t agree with me, but still a book that gave a little more insight into the issue of mental health.
Have you read this book before? What did you think? And which Quick book should I pick up next? Happy reading, all!