Thursday, 6 March 2014

REVIEW: 'The Silver Linings Playbook' by Matthew Quick

When The Silver Linings Playbook was released in the cinema, I was keen to see it. As usual, however, time ran away with me, funds ran dry, and I never managed to go. Then the DVD went into my basket on Amazon, waiting to be bought. But, yet again, funds were low and I never got round to ordering it.

Then I received the book by Matthew Quick for my birthday in November, as a gift from my sister, who knows me so well! I couldn't wait to get my teeth into it, and vowed not to watch the film until I had read the book - as usual, the thought that adaptations of books into films are somewhat disappointing lingered in my mind.

So, for those of you unfamiliar with the story, let me introduce it to you.

Pat Peoples is from New Jersey, and worked as a History Teacher whilst living with his wife Nicki ... until he suffered severe brain trauma, and spent years in hospital in recovery. It seems that Pat also suffers from Bipolar Disorder, and so this novel is a keen insight into the world of Mental Health.

The novel follows Pat's struggle with the changes in his life since the incident. As the book continues, we learn more and more about what happened to Pat, his past, and the people around him. Because of this,everything starts to fall into place, and as observers of Pat's life we begin to see the reasons for his often absurd actions.

Pat believes in silver linings; in all things bad being followed by something worthwhile, and that if he lives life right by exercising regularly, and reading the right books, God will reward him with what he wants. I'm a firm believer in not giving away anything in my book reviews, so I won't say much more! But his life, in his mind, is a film; and this, for me, is what made the book so special.

Not only is it a candid insight into the mind of someone struggling with severe mental health problems, but the concept that life is like a film stuck with me long after turning the final page. The imagery used in the film, and the structure of the plot, make the book itself very filmic - it seems that Pat's views are not just embedded within the plot, but are within the form the plot itself.

It's something I've often thought about - the idea of leading your life as a film. I mean in a sense that, when you re-live moments or think back on your behaviour, you can view it as you would on the big screen; to ensure that everything you do would be worthy of a soundtrack, a red carpet, and maybe even an Oscar. This doesn't mean every moment has to be outstanding, dramatic, or momentous. But for you, it needs to be memorable. Unfortunately for Pat, this means a guaranteed happy ending just the way he wants it - but we all know life isn't always like that.

The Silver Linings Pat discovers are not always what you think they will be - they're not always obvious, and they may not occur when you expect them to. But they are, in the end, always there.

The book completely drew me in, leaving me wanting more. Having managed to avoid any 'spoilers' before reading, I was shocked at some of the revelations that emerged as the story went on. It was intriguing, since so many secrets were kept. We were able to react along with Pat when revelations were made. I loved this book, and will definitely be reading it again - I am also looking forward to watching the film, as I can't wait to see what they change, what they leave a lone, and how they portray the unique characters.

I thoroughly recommend reading this book. If you see it in a bookshop, grab it, sit down and immerse yourself. You won't regret it. I'm aware this review isn't the most in depth, revealing, or eloquent, but it's one of my favourite books, and I just can't do it justice.

Have you ever read Silver Linings? Let me know what you thought in the comments.



  1. So now you've read the book, will you watch the film? Or will it spoil it?

    1. I'll definitely watch the film! I always find it frustrating when they change bits, but I think it's always good to see an adaptation! I never let a film spoil a book - I like to keep them as separate in my mind :)