So recently, I read Matthew Quick’s Silver Linings Playbook. To be honest, this is the kind of book I’ll not pick up not unless it is adapted to be a motion film. Not because of the story is horrible or doesn’t appeal to me but because the title isn’t enticing at all. Regardless of that, I love the story—even the film adaptation under the same title directed by David O. Russell, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper and an Oscars nominee! Not bad for a debut novel! What caught my attention with this book is that it is being compared to Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, said to be its adult version. I have to say that it’s true, it has similarities but not entirely the same.
The story goes about this 30-something guy named Pat Persons who was allowed by the court to be discharge from the “bad place” (also known as the mental hospital/neural facility) to live with his parents. Since then, he wanted change in his life. He believes in silver linings. “If clouds are blocking the sun, there will always be a silver lining that reminds me to keep on trying, because I know that while things might seem dark now, my wife is coming back to me soon.” He also believes that his life is a movie in the making that will have a happy ending if he fulfilled all the mission he bestowed upon himself. He has this mission to be physically fit, read all the books of his estranged wife’s syllabus, be the good husband Nikki wants him to be, Nikki, Nikki, and Nikki. If he stays good, “apart time” will end and he will be soon reunited with his wife. He’s home, but really, how can he adapt in his present home now when people around him doesn’t want to talk about Nikki and was being referred to be “friends” with this girl named Tiffany?
In the book (or even the movie), you’ll feel yourself be annoyed and/or angry at Pat because he’s a one fucked-up person because he believes in silver linings, that there should be no room for negativity (“practice being kind, not right”), and that every thing will have a happy ending, which is really ridiculous (and somehow funny) because it is really ridiculous (and funny). His voice and his theories are too childish and immature for his age, and to be honest, he’s really a crazy dude. Regardless of how fucked up Pat can be, people around him tried to change and accept him back in their lives (hey, that’s one silver lining for you, Pat!) and if ever there are people who aren’t ready yet for him (I’m talking to you, Mr. Persons), they will come to it soon because they’ll see how Pat is doing something for his life to be better (well, sometimes, in his own fucked-up ways) and how he will realize that he has to move on with his life and stop wallowing from the past (yeah, seriously, I kind of got tired of him mentioning that Nikki over and over again). Same case with Tiffany. She was clinically diagnosed with depression because of Tommy. She’s vulnerable and sad, and instead of being cared of, she’s being taken advantage of men, but she helped herself to change too! She has an outlet for it: dancing (like Pat’s physical training/gym).
Just like in real life, there are a lot of people struggling because of their mental illness. They don’t even have the control of their emotions, feelings, and even fears, if you don’t know. That’s because there’s an imbalance of the neurotransmitters (like serotonin, dopamine, etc) in their brains that affect their moods and cognition. It’s hard for them because they don’t understand why it is happening and people around also have hard time understanding them, too. I believe that one can be healed from their illnesses if people will care, if people have the patience for them that they will change for the better, if people give them hope and faith that sooner things will be okay. In reality, there are still people who have no time for them because they are “abnormal”, or they either have childish beliefs (like Pat’s silver linings) or their uncontrollable rage or emotions. Yes, it is exhausting and tiring to deal with that every single day, but isn’t love will move you to do help them? Life is already hard, and their illnesses are making it harder than it is already, are we to add to the heaviness they already carriying? Can we spare some time, love, and care for them? (This paragraph is full of drama! I’m sorry lol)
“Life is hard, and children have to be told how hard life can be…So they will be sympathetic to others. So they will understand that some people have it harder than they do and that a trip through this world can be a wildly different experience, depending on what chemicals are raging through one’s mind.”
On the bright note: football has a lot of involvement in the story and to be honest, I’m not a fan of sports, let alone football. But I have to give Quick a good handshake for making this book talk a lot about football but not totally boring me into details or yadda yadda about it! Actually, I was amused on how football fans unite when there’s a game, how superstitious they are (I have my eye on you, Mr. Persons), or how crazy they are that they just chant whenever they bump into their fellow fans!
And also, Pat and Tiffany’s dance. I was really curious about it and was expecting it in the film but was let down by it because they changed some parts of the story and the dance was part of it. Anyway, it’s still fun because they made the dance… awkward. You have to see it because it’s worth it.
This story is heartwarming and funny. I recommend you to read and watch it (whatever comes first doesn’t really matter!). It gives hope to people who struggle with their mental illnesses and yep, that’s a silver lining!