Silver Linings Playbook (Quick)

The Silver Linings Playbook
Matthew Quick, 2008
Farrar, Strauss and Giroux
304 pp.
ISBN-13: 9780374532284

For Pat Peoples, despair is not an option.

Recently released from a neural health facility and still recovering from a traumatic event that has been blocked from his memory, Pat is sure that he can find a silver lining in even the most challenging situation. He also believes that his life is a movie produced by God, and that if he can get himself in tip-top shape physically and emotionally, he will reunited with the love of his life, his estranged wife, Nikki.

Keeping Pat on the road to recovery is an unconventional therapist named Cliff Patel, whose obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles rivals Pat’s. Along the way, Pat tries to understand why his family seems to be hiding something from him, why Kenny G’s “Songbird” is one of the few things that makes him want to hit something, and why his new friend Tiffany thinks she can lure Pat away from Nikki. Tragically widowed and clinically depressed, Tiffany challenges Pat’s view of the world, raising poignant questions about hope and love. (From the publisher.)

The book became a 2012 film starring Bradley Cooper, Robert Di Nero, Jennifer Lawrence, and Chris Tucker.

Author Bio
Birth—October 23, 1972
Raised—Oaklyn, New Jersey, USA
Education—B.A., LaSalle University; M.F.A, Goddard College
Currently—lives in Holden, Massachusetts

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, with Robert De Niro, Jackie Weaver, and Chris Tucker.

His other novels include Sorta Like a Rockstar (2010), Boy21 (2012), Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock (2013) and The Good Luck for Right Now (2014). Quick was finalist for a 2009 PEN/Hemingway Award, and his work has been translated into several languages.

Quick grew up in Oaklyn, New Jersey. He has a degree in English literature from La Salle University and an MFA from Goddard College. He left his job as a tenured English teacher in Haddonfield, New Jersey, to write his first novel while living in Collingswood, New Jersey. He now lives in Holden, Massachusetts with his wife, novelist Alicia Bessette. (From Wikipedia. Retrieved 02/17/2014.)

Book Reviews
[C]ompelling and fascinating ... a tour de force.... From the beer-soaked Bacchanalian tailgating to the black holes of despair into which Iggles fans plunge themselves after a defeat, Quick is dead-on.
Bill Lyon - Philadelphia Inquirer

[C]harming debut is hard not to be moved by the fate of a man who, despite many ordeals, tries to believe in hope and fidelity, not to mention getting through another day with his sanity intact.
Stephen Barbara - Wall Street Journal

It's a charmingly nerve-wracking combination...The book is cinematic, but the writing still shimmers. This nimble, funny read is spiked with enough perception to allow the reader to enjoy Pat's blindly hopeful philosophy without irony.
Barrie Hardymon - NPR

Quick fills the pages with so much absurd wit and true feeling that it's impossible not to cheer for his unlikely hero.
Allison Lynn - People

Pat Peoples, the endearing narrator of this touching and funny debut, is down on his luck. The former high school history teacher has just been released from a mental institution and placed in the care of his mother. Not one to be discouraged, Pat believes he has only been on the inside for a few months—rather than four years—and plans on reconciling with his estranged wife. Refusing to accept that their apart time is actually a permanent separation, Pat spends his days and nights feverishly trying to become the man she had always desired. Our hapless hero makes a friend in Tiffany, the mentally unstable, widowed sister-in-law of his best friend, Ronnie. Each day as Pat heads out for his 10-mile run, Tiffany silently trails him, refusing to be shaken off by the object of her affection. The odd pair try to navigate a timid friendship, but as Pat is unable to discern friend from foe and reality from deranged optimism, every day proves to be a cringe-worthy adventure. Pat is as sweet as a puppy, and his offbeat story has all the markings of a crowd-pleaser.
Publishers Weekly

[I]mmensely likable debut novel.... Pat [Peoples] has returned home to live with his parents in a New Jersey suburb following a stay in a Baltimore mental institution, whence he was committed after reacting irrationally to a breakup with his beloved wife Nikki.... Deftly timed surprises stimulate crucial revelations, and the full truth of both Pat's sufferings and his own egregious contributions to them expand the novel's basically simple comic-domestic texture into something far more disturbing, complex and, eventually, quite moving. If the novel were 50 or so pages shorter, it might have been terrific.... Still, its judicious blending of pop-culture experience with richly persuasive characterizations...make the book a winner.
Kirkus Reviews

Discussion Questions
1. How does the book redefine happy endings? What makes Pat so determined to believe that every cloud has a silver lining?

2. As Pat heals from his brain injuries and trauma, in what ways is he sometimes more mentally stable than his family and friends? Is his optimism—combined with his belief that God is a filmmaker—a sign of his sanity? How was your reading affected by the fact that the “bad place” was a neural health facility rather than a psychiatric hospital?

3. Discuss the relationships Pat and Jake have with their father, Patrick Senior. What does their father teach them about being a man? Why is it so hard for him to show emotion?

4. How does Cliff use the Eagles’ playbook to teach Pat about the real world? How do the Eagles bring unity to Pat’s family? What makes Hank Baskett the ideal rookie to serve as Pat’s inspiration?

5. In “A Hive Full of Green Bees,” what does Pat discover about himself during the violent incident with the Giants fan (Steve)? How did you feel about Jake while he was taunting Steve?

6. What keeps Pat’s obsession with Nikki alive? What does Cliff ultimately help him understand about the nature of love and attraction?

7. Tiffany and Pat’s mother, Jeanie, have different approaches to his recovery. Tiffany believes that direct confrontation is best; Jeanie wants to protect Pat from anything that might upset him, including his brother’s marriage to Caitlin. Which approach is better?

8. How did your impressions of Nikki and Tiffany shift throughout the novel?

9. Did Dance Away Depression have any healing effect on Pat? What did Tiffany want him to hear when she chose “Total Eclipse of the Heart” as their song?

10. What role does Danny play, along with Aunt Jasmine, in rescuing Pat emotionally on Christmas Day? When have you had a similar encounter with a friend who appeared at exactly the right moment?

11. How did you react when Pat finally remembers why Kenny G pushes him over the edge? What does his trauma have in common with Tiffany’s?

12. Discuss Pat’s take on literature, particularly The Scarlet Letter, The Bell Jar, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Catcher in the Rye. How does his approach to literature change as his worldview changes? What would it be like to have Pat as a member of your book club?

13. In “An Acceptable Form of Coping,” Cliff and Pat disagree about whether sad books should be required reading for students. Pat says that such books teach kids to be pessimistic. Cliff says, "Life is hard, Pat, and children have to be told how hard life can they will be sympathetic to others.” What’s your opinion? What books were you drawn to when you were younger?

14. Discuss the book’s closing scene. How has The Silver Linings Playbook inspired you in your life?

15. Watch the movie or play favorite scenes from it. How does the film compare to the book? Were the actors the ones you would have chosen?
(Questions issued by publisher.)

top of page (summary)

Site by BOOM Boom Supercreative

LitLovers © 2018