Book: Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, Blackstone Audio, 2008
Book Info: Audible Purchase. Running time: 7 hrs, 22 mins. Read by: Ray Porter.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Listening to Matthew Quick’s The Good Luck of Right Now recently made me want to listen to the Silver Linings Playbook audiobook. I am already a big fan of the film, but thought it was time I circle back with the source material. And whoa, I never knew the book was so completely different. Reading Quick’s book gave me additional insight into the characters, and basically a completely new story. I can’t help feeling that if you love the book and then see the movie you will be disappointed because the tone is so different, but I still think both are successful in their own way. SLP features Quick’s signature quirky style and lovable misfit characters. Now that I’ve read three of his five books I’m on a mission to complete my Quick syllabus.
I’m sure you are all familiar with the book or the movie, so I won’t bore you with a long synopsis. SLP is about Pat Peoples, a man looking for his own happy ending after some troubled times. He’s finally home after spending a few years in a mental health facility for some apart time, and life has moved on without him. He wants his estranged wife Nikki back, but meanwhile is on a self-improvement mission to make himself worthy of her. He wants to impress his English teacher wife by reading the classic books she teaches, but is frustrated by their sad endings:
SLP book vs. movie:
- Pat Solitano is Pat Peoples in the book
- The Pat-Tiffany relationship is more friendly than romantic in the book. Also, book Tiffany is a little older than Pat (Jennifer Lawrence is 23 vs. Bradley Cooper’s 39)
- The dance performance is not really a competition in the book.
- Pat spends years in the mental health facility (the bad place) in the book, vs. 8 months in the movie
- Pat does not remember what he did to land in the mental health facility in the book until the end, while movie Pat is very aware.
- Pat’s relationship with his father is much warmer in the movie.
- Pat’s trigger song in the book is Kenny G’s Songbird, while it’s Stevie Wonder’s My Cherie Amour in the movie (fun fact: Quick wanted My Cherie Amour as the song in the book but couldn’t land the rights)
Returning to the book, my heart went out to Pat who is trying so hard to be worthy of his wife. As the reader you want Pat to move on, but he is so determined to better himself through his obsessive workouts and reading lists. His workout regimen is pretty inspiring actually. Football is also a big part of the story, and Pat gets reacquainted with friends old and new through tailgate parties and watching the Eagles play.
Quick does a great job of illustrating Pat’s troubled mind and showing his coping strategies. Some of his episodes are hard to swallow, but the humor mixed in keep the tone light. There is a hopeful quality to Quick’s books, such as Pat hoping to find that silver lining in the clouds. I do enjoy Quick’s take on mental illness and the respectful way he portrays his characters. And after reading the book, I’m even more impressed with Bradley Cooper’s portrayal of Pat.
I enjoyed watching the friendships and family relationships evolve over the course of the book. Pat and Tiffany in particular have a unique friendship where they seem to be the only ones who understand what the other is going through. Their relationship is interesting to follow and it’s great to see such a satisfying non-romantic relationship develop.
Ray Porter performs the audiobook and this is my first experience with his narration. I have listened to three of Quick’s book though, and his writing translates very well to audio in general. Similar to Bradley Cooper’s interpretation of Pat, Porter’s voice is sincere and hopeful. Porter uses different voices and accents for the characters but doesn’t overdo it, and he makes the audiobook even more entertaining. The 7-hour audiobook flew by. Take a listen:
If you liked the movie Silver Linings Playbook, I think you’ll be really interested to check out the book it’s based on. Did you read the book before seeing the movie? What did you think of the adaptation?