The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick: Audio Book Review

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick Title: The Silver Linings Playbook
Author: Matthew Quick
Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books
Publication Date: January 2008
Length: 289 ( 7h 22m)
Series: Stand Alone
Audio or Book: Audio Book (Reader: Ray Porter)
Reason for Discovery: On Sale & Enjoyed the Movie

From Goodreads

Meet Pat. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure a happy ending for him -- the return of his estranged wife Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent time in a mental health facility.) The problem is, Pat's now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he's being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he's being hunted by Kenny G!

Pat has been living in a mental health institute for a long time. His mother decides that he has been there long enough and gets him released into her custody. Pat is very excited about this, because he feels that with some hard work, he can end "apart time" with his wife Nikki. Before Pat entered the mental health institute, he and Nikki agreed to separate for a little bit of time. With the help of his therapist Cliff, the Philadelphia Eagles, and his new friend Tiffany, Pat might be able to regain the life he desperately wants.

A few months ago, I watched The Silver Linings Playbook. I thought it was a charming and quiet movie. I found a few rough edges in the movie, but all of my minor annoyances with the movie generally got swept away by the time the credits rolled. When I saw the audio book waw on sale, I decided to pick it up. I promptly forgot about the book until I had to drive to Pittsburgh and saw that it was the perfect length for driving there and back (~6 hours round trip).

The Silver Linings Playbook is so lovely. Like the movie, this is a quiet character transformation piece. There is excitement and surprises throughout the book, but it is a character piece about someone struggling with mental illness. Speaking of that, I found that this book did an excellent job of portraying mental illness. In the movie, Pat is labeled with a particular mental illness. I did not completely agree with this diagnosis. In the book, Pat is not given a diagnosis (at least I didn't notice one), and I thought this was a better choice. What Pat is experiencing in this book and his journey to recovery felt quite genuine. I didn't feel like I was rubbernecking someone else's problems, which I typically feel when I am reading fictional accounts of mental illness. Generally speaking, I like people's memoirs of their struggles with mental illness, but this book is makes me want to take a second look at fictional accounts. I also want to note that I really liked Cliff, Pat's therapist. Cliff did some things that are not traditionally appropriate for a therapist to do; however, Quick's portrayal of Cliff was much better than most therapists that I see on television or in books. In my real life, I study psychology, so poorly written accounts of mental illness and/or therapists is a pet peeve of mine (you should watch me watch Grey's Anatomy).

I thought that Quick did a great job of showing one man struggle with his mental illness within a family that is going through their own problems. Usually books like this only showcase the person with the mental illness or showcase that person within a totally crazy family (e.g., drug abuse, sexual abuse, or physical abuse). This book did a fantastic job of showing an everyday family deal with a difficult situation.

A big part of this book is Pat and his family's love of football and the Philadelphia Eagles. I thought the Eagles talk worked really well within the story; however, I can understand if this could be a turn off for someone else. All you need to know about football to appreciate what is happening in this book is that the Philadelphia Eagles play football.

If you are considering reading the book and seeing the movie, I would recommend seeing the movie first. You will be spoiled for a few things, but I think you will be able to enjoy both better this way. The movie makes some drastic changes from the book that work well for the movie, but I think I would personally be angry with these changes, if I had read the book first. I should note that the rough edges that I noticed in the movie were all smoothed over when I read the book. The rough edges in the movies appeared, because the movie people had to make changes to condense the book. The book is much smoother.

Audio: I thought that the reader was really greater. Tone, pacing, and inflection were fantastic. Porter also did a nice job with changing his voice for the different characters. I was really happy with his reading, and I will seek out other books read by him.

Overall, this was a pleasant read. I give this book a 5 out of 5.


Leigh @ Little Book Star said...
January 17, 2014 at 12:02 PM

I will definitely read this. I've been meaning to, but other books gets in the way. I really love how they did a good job with the mental illness topic. I haven't read a lot of those (probably just one or two). I think I will read the book first and then watch the movie. Kind of sad that they chagned the movie a bit, but glad you liked it still.

Charnell @ Reviews from a Bookworm said...
January 17, 2014 at 2:48 PM

I really loved this when I read it too. Surprisingly, I still loved the movie even though I saw it after reading the book. It's surprising because they changed so much and usually that drives me crazy, but I think it actually worked well in the movie. Great review :)

Anonymous said...
January 17, 2014 at 3:15 PM

I loved this book :-) Great review!

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer said...
January 17, 2014 at 10:29 PM

Wow Pamela this sounds different and you have really piqued my interest, not to mention the hilarious synopsis.

Unknown said...
January 17, 2014 at 11:58 PM

This was a really wonderful book, I hope that you enjoy it! If you decide to read the book first, take a break before you watch the movie and remind yourself that it is going to be very different from the book.

Unknown said...
January 18, 2014 at 12:00 AM

I am glad to hear that you read the book first and still enjoyed the movie! There were a few things that I particularly found endearing in the movie and then was a bit shocked to discover that they happened completely different in the book. When I was reading the book, I kept wondering how I would have felt if I reversed my movie-book order.

Unknown said...
January 18, 2014 at 12:04 AM

Yea! I am glad to hear that you loved this book as well!

Unknown said...
January 18, 2014 at 12:06 AM

LOL. I am glad you found the synopsis funny. That is really how the story goes though! :) The Philadelphia Eagles play a major part in the story. :)

Bellas Shelf said...
January 18, 2014 at 11:47 AM

I did not know this was a book!! I LOVED the movie so I am sure the book will be even better.
I got into audiobooks over the summer, I loved walking my dogs or walking alone and listening to them.
The Eagles were a big part of his life so I am sure they are a big part in the book too.

Chantelle said...
January 19, 2014 at 2:47 AM

I watched the movie before reading the book in this case as well, so was hesitant whether to read it anyway since I don't usually enjoy starting a book but knowing what happens. I think you've convinced me to do it anyway, I'm really glad the book is a stand-out in it's own right because I loved the movie!

Anonymous said...
January 20, 2014 at 12:53 AM

I've only seen the movie, but I have a copy of the book that I haven't touched. I'm expecting it to be better and different than the movie though.

Chanzie said...
January 20, 2014 at 8:47 AM

Great review and you have me so excited for this audio book now! It's going on my wishlist :) I loved the movie!

Chanzie @ Mean Who You Are.

Unknown said...
January 20, 2014 at 1:33 PM

The book really is fantastic. Just keep in mind that there are several big differences between how the book and movie come together. Happy reading!

Unknown said...
January 20, 2014 at 1:35 PM

There are enough differences between the two that there will be a few surprises. Also, the book just gives more foundation to what you see in the movie. I think you will really enjoy it, if you liked the movie.

Unknown said...
January 20, 2014 at 1:35 PM

You should definitely pick up the book when you have a chance, it is really well done.

Unknown said...
January 20, 2014 at 1:35 PM

I hope that you enjoy the audio book! :)

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