Silver Lining’s Playbook is the first work by Matthew Quick. After quickly it become a best-seller, it was made into a film. The central character is named Pat. More specifically, his name is Patrick “Pat” Solitano, an avid Eagles fan. The novel follows his recovery after several years in a psychiatric ward.
Let me start by saying that this novel and the film have very little in common. It seems in many ways like my favorite features in the novel were completely ignored in the film. While Jennifer Lawrence is young and beautiful and awesome, she is not an older classmate of Pat’s and is not capable of the farce which takes place in the book. Perhaps it is for the best that so many changes were made.
Pat’s increasing stability is paralleled by the success of a new acquisition by the Eagles team, Hank Baskett. For those familiar with the Eagles football season, it may be difficult to ignore the blatant differences between the talents of Baskett in the novel and on the field. However, as a casual observer, I did not find this detracted from the plot.
A circle of friends and family support Pat through his recovery. Initially, he is convinced that by becoming physically fit, he will be able to win back the love of his ex-wife, Nikki, and end “Apart-Time.” His obsessive nature is disturbing at time but always motivated by love. He also strives to read a number of classics which Nikki teaches to her English classes.
Eventually, this obsessiveness is redirected towards a dance competition. Pat is introduced to Tiffany, an equally damaged young widow determined to win a local dancing competition. She convinces Pat that he should become her partner. In exchange, she offer to act as a means of communication between Pat and his ex-wife. As the novel progresses, the relationship between Pat and Tiffany becomes warmer but his central goal remains to reconnect with his wife.
The insight into the world of football fans will also be interesting for readers. The obsessive preparations, the necessary rituals to help the team, the violent fights between fans of opposing teams. Not having grown up in a sports-centric family, I was amazed by how much the results of a single game could influence the relationship between family members.
Quick has created a novel which not only pushes the reader into an unfamiliar world, but also follows the familiar heartache of a break-up. Whether or not you follow sports, this book will connect with you. Reading it before Thanksgiving has made me even more aware of the wonderful people and support I have in my life. Enjoy!
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