The Silver Linings Playbook, Matthew Quick

I am absolutely crushing on Jennifer Lawrence. This fact made me pick up The Silver Linings Playbook at Chapters the other day, when I was supposed to be shopping for Christmas presents for other people. I’ve already watched the movie, and I liked it. Since then, I’ve read quite a few interesting pieces about the movie’s portrayal of mental illness, which have all made me curious about how the book handled its subject matter.

I made some assumptions going in – I thought the book would be sadder, and maybe would lack the happy ending of the movie. I also suspected that the movie’s centerpiece, a dance competition, would not be in the book. And I was sure that I would dislike Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence’s character), since the actor made a lot of her more believable than I could see her being on paper.

I was wrong on most counts – there is a happy ending of sorts, that I preferred to the movie’s, and the dance competition was still a bargaining chip and a big deal in the novel. But Tiffany didn’t have nearly as much substance for the first half of the novel as I wanted her to. The first-person narration was pretty stilted (I believe intentionally) and I didn’t engage with Pat the way the novel would need. Because the movie presents you with some key pieces of information fairly early on in its narration, though, a lot of the suspense was taken out of the novel for me. I already knew the memories Pat was suppressing, and I already knew what Tiffany’s motivations were, and Quick’s writing wasn’t quite good enough on its own for me to click otherwise. It wasn’t bad at all; I just found it underwhelming for the potential there.

Current Total: 7

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