Silver Linings Playbook

Silver Linings Playbook

Every once in a while you stumble across a book which you know will stay with you forever. It’s the kind of book which draws you in and keeps you up all night because you simply can’t put it down. Matthew Quick’s Silver Linings Playbook is one of those books. The novel confronts two people’s battles with mental health, never giving up on the one you love and draws on the philosophy that “if clouds are blocking the sun, there will always be a silver lining that reminds you to keep on trying”.


Quick’s novel is told through the voice of Pat, who believes his life is a movie which is run by God. After being admitted to a mental health hospital and forcing to have “apart time” from his wife, Nikki, Pat is determined to become physically fit, practice being kind to people (even if it isn’t right) and educate himself emotionally by reading literature, all in preparation for when he is reunited with Nikki.


Pat is soon discharged from the hospital and moves back in with his parents.  At home the photos of Pat and Nikki have apparently been stolen when the house was burgled and no-one will mention Pat’s beloved Nikki. Pat’s dad won’t speak to him unless it concerns the Philadelphia Eagles, Pat’s mum is emotional and mollycoddling and Pat’s friends and his Eagles fanatic therapist are trying to set him up with the clinically depressed Tiffany who stalks Pat on his runs but never talks to him.


As the story develops, we begin to learn more about Pat’s mental illness and the situation between him and Nikki: what caused “apart time” and why (unbeknown to Pat) they have a restraining order against one another.  We soon learn that Pat’s “couple of months in the bad place” was actually a few years as he comes to terms with the fact that everyone around him has moved on with their lives apart from him. Tiffany gives Pat a chance at a silver lining by offering to exchange letters between him and Nikki on the condition that Pat does not talk about his beloved Eagles and must dance with Tiffany in a dancing competition. Knowing that reconciliation with Nikki is possible, Pat puts all his efforts into helping Tiffany win the competition whilst also desperately trying to prove to his wife that he is getting better.


You’ll be pleased to know that the book does end with a silver lining of its own. This novel is heart-warming and deals with the topic of mental illness in an intriguing yet sensitive manner. Pat is one of those characters which is easy to love. His naive yet positive outlook on life will make him wish you could either give him a hug or slap some sense into him. Certainly it is his way of telling a story which will have you laughing out loud and reaching for the tissues.


By Amber Gunn


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