Pat Peoples knows that life doesn’t always go according to plan, but he’s determined to get his back on track. After a stint in a psychiatric hospital, Pat is staying with his parents and trying to live according to his new philosophy: get fit, be nice and always look for the silver lining. Most importantly, Pat is determined to be reconciled with his wife, Nikki.
Pat’s parents just want to protect him so he can get back on his feet, but when Pat befriends the mysterious Tiffany, the secrets they’ve been keeping from him threaten to come out…
I absolutely love this story. I broke that golden rule and watched the movie first, which has turned into one of my favourites of the year. But I didn’t feel that way when I first watched it. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t stop and go, “Wow.” Not right away, anyway. But I found that over the next few days and weeks, scenes kept popping into my head and making me think about things they related to in my life. Before long I realized that I really loved it. I guess you could say it snuck up on me.
In this way, the book is very similar. It appears simple as you first begin to read. But whenever you put the book down after reading a few chapters, you mull over what you read, and it sinks in, much like a fine marinade. And then you start to see the subtleties.
What I loved about this book is the perspective of the world you experience through Pat’s eyes. There is a lot he doesn’t get – and a lot that his own mind has hidden from him. But just when you think he’s hopelessly obtuse, he’ll say or think something that is just so on the money that you have to stop reading for a minute and go, “Wow.” There are rare characters you come across who hold up a mirror to some of the most basic realities of life and boil them down to the simple truth. Manageable. Life as it should be. Pat Peoples is one such character, though ironically his life feels anything but simple to him.
And while I love the movie, there are things the book does that the movie doesn’t – or that the book just does better. The characters are developed in much more depth, giving you a real sense for each of them. The mother, trapped in an unhappy marriage but still hoping that her husband will change. The father, who can’t (or won’t) relate to his family. The best friend and his wife who mean well but sometimes can’t quite take Pat and find him a bit scary. The brother who, in his own gentle way, is trying to make space in his life for the brother he loves. The therapist who also becomes a friend. And finally Tiffany, the girl who has also lost her partner – and a part of her sanity with him. Each of their relationships with Pat unravels a little more of the tangle that is Pat’s mind, and shows another aspect of human interaction.
If you’re a reader who enjoys getting into the mind of an intriguing character and examining the intricacies of human relationships, this is a book you should read. If you’re someone who needs help finding the silver lining (even in situations where it’s very hard to find one), this book will inspire you. If you’re someone who hates Hollywood romance and wants something a little more real (read: fucked up), this book will make you go, “Awwwwww.” In short, read this book.
Author: Matthew Quick
Published by: Picador
Released: 2009 (UK)
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Mental Health, Psychology
Date Read: July 10-August 18, 2013
//<![CDATA[ var sc_project=10144299; var sc_invisible=1; var sc_security="82f610c9"; var scJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://secure." : "http://www."); document.write("”); //]]>