Featured bedtime read: The Silver Linings Playbook

By Matthew Quick, 2008

4.5 out of 5

Meet Pat Peoples. Pat has a theory: he believes his life is a movie produced by God, his mission is to become physically fit and emotionally supportive, and his happy ending will be the return of his estranged wife, Nikki.

When Pat goes to live with his parents, everything seems changed: no one will talk to him about Nikki; his old friends are saddled with families; the Philadelphia Eagles keep losing, making his father moody; and his new therapist seems to be recommending adultery as a form of therapy.

When Pat meets the tragically widowed and clinically depressed Tiffany, she offers to act as a liaison between him and his wife, if only he will give up watching football, agree to perform in this year's Dance Away Depression competition, and promise not to tell anyone about their "contract". All the while, Pat keeps searching for his silver lining.

The Silver Linings Playbook is the heartwarming debut novel by American author Matthew Quick, which helps us look at both depression and love in a wonderfully refreshing way.

An Infinite Amount of Days Until My Inevitable Reunion with Nikki

I don't have to look up to know Mom is making another surprise visit. Her toenails are always pink during the summer months, and I recognize the flower design imprinted on her leather sandals; it's what Mom purchased the last time she signed me out of the bad place and took me to the mall.

Once again, Mother has found me in my bathrobe, exercising unattended in the courtyard, and I smile because I know she will yell at Dr. Timbers, asking him why I need to be locked up if I'm only going to be left alone all day.


Let me tell you about Pat Peoples from Philadelphia: Pat's unusual. He himself admits, 'I don't belong in the real world, because I am uncontrollable and dangerous'. In fact, having recently vacated a mental health institute in Baltimore, Pat's real world is his parents' basement where he works out obsessively.

He is obsessive. Even when he takes his meds, he is obsessed, and that obsession is his wife Nicki, from whom he's having time apart. However it would seem that Pat can't — or won't — remember why he's having time apart from Nicki. But he can remember the freckles on his wife's nose and that he wants her back real bad — that is the silver lining ending he's holding out for in his own personal movie.

But as Pat is reminded in no uncertain terms, life is not a PG feel good movie — real life often ends badly. Just ask Ernest Hemingway or Silvia Plath — needless to say, Pat did not enjoy those books.

By now, you're probably aware that Matthew Quick's The Silver Linings Playbook has been adapted into an Oscar® winning film — a feelgood factor movie no less — which means for mentally ill Pat, there is a silver lining. Several in fact. It's just, they don't appear in the most conventional of packages.

Recently widowed neighbour Tiffany, who is struggling with her own mental health issues and happens to be a recovering nymphomaniac is not an obvious silver bullet solution for a man who is himself recovering from four years in a neural health facility (the bad place), and still can't come to terms with the catastrophic events that ended his marriage. So what exactly happened to put Pat in that mental institute? Ah, well for that, you'll have to read the book.

Listen to Tessa's review


More reviews

  • A delightful debut… laugh-out-loud… a smart, touching, quirky read.- Scotland on Sunday
  • An off-kilter charm… Pat attempts to turn his life around and create his own happy ever after. Touchingly sweet.- The Daily Mail
  • Read user reviews on Amazon

More about the author

Matthew Quick

Matthew Quick is an American author of young adult and fiction novels. His debut novel, The Silver Linings Playbook, was adapted into a movie, starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.

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