The Silver Linings Playbook is the riotous and poignant story of how one man regains his memory and comes to terms with his wife's betrayal. After returning home to Philadelphia from several years in a mental health facility, Pat Peoples tries to make sense of his new and disorienting life. Matthew Quick takes us inside Pat's mind, deftly showing us the world from his distorted yet endearing perspective. The result is a touching and funny novel that helps us look at both depression and love in a wonderfully refreshing way.
"Pat People is the protagonist and the narrator of The Silver Linings Playbook. I found him compelling and fascinating, and I found myself not only caring about him but rooting for him unashamedly, which, for an author is, I believe, what they mean by scoring a tour de force. Pat Peoples' author is Matthew Quick. This is his debut novel and, as the professionals like to say, it suggests promising 'promise.'"—Bill Lyon, The Philadelphia Inquirer"There are a slew of debuts out there that propelled their unknown authors to greatness: think Bright Lights Big City, Fight Club, Mysteries of Pittsburgh. The Silver Linings Playbook, the first effort from former Philadelphia teacher Matthew Quick, may do the same for this author. At times heartbreaking and funny, the book opens with the narrator, Pat People, leaving a mental health facility in Baltimore with little recollection of how he got there. Taking up residency in his parent's house, he lives in the basement, spending most of the day working out to get into top physical shape for what he hopes will be a reunion with his wife. Pat slowly starts to allow other activities to seep into his life, like following the Philadelphia Eagles and establishing upon a friendship with a fellow survivor of emotional breakdown, the widow down the street. Quick has a true talent for storytelling. Not since One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest has an author to tackle mental illness with as much humor and humanity. Though it tough to color the topic of life-changing emotional breakdowns with laughter, he pulls it off effortlessly. Though we're only nine months into 2008, it seems pretty obvious that Quick has turned in one of the year's best debut novels. (A)"—Insite magazine"Pat Peoples' mother has brought him home from the 'neural health facility' where he's been staying during 'apart time' from his wife, Nikki. Pat doesn't know why they are separated, believes their reunion is inevitable and thinks he's been gone a few months; in reality it's been four years. He tries to stay upbeat: 'I don't want to stay in the bad place, where no one believes in silver linings or love or happy endings . . . but I am also afraid the people from my old life will not be as enthusiastic as I am now trying to be.' His mother sets him up with a therapist, Dr. Patel. The first hint at a reason for apart time appears in the doctor's waiting room, when Pat hears Songbird by Kenny G, and the 'evil bright soprano saxophone' sends him into a rage, screaming, flipping over chairs, yelling at the receptionist. But Pat likes Dr. Patel, who turns out to be a major Philadelphia Eagles fan—he goes to tailgate parties in a bus labeled 'Asian Invasion' with a portrait of Brian Dawkins painted on the hood. Being an Eagles fan is important to Pat, whose father's moods revolve around the team. He also witnesses his mother's pain, as she waits to see what temper her husband will be in based on a game's outcome. His father's mania is not unusual in Philadelphia, where Eagles fandom is a blood sport, something Pat gets caught up in at a tailgate party, when he attacks a Giants fan while defending his brother Jake. Soon after his move back home, Pat is befriended in an odd and cautious way by Tiffany, who silently waits for Pat when he comes out to run (he works out 10 hours a day), and follows him at a distance. They begin a wary alliance, and she tells him she's scouting his work ethic, his endurance and his ability to persevere, but won't tell him why. Friendship, family, connection and discovery intertwine in a marvelous way in this appealing novel. Pat thinks that just when a movie's main character believes all is lost, something surprising happens, leading to a happy ending, so he continues to hope that he'll be reunited with Nikki, that God will not let him down. As Pat doggedly practices being kind rather than right, grace enters his life in unexpected ways ('Miracles happen on Christmas, Pat. Everybody knows that shit.'), and he realizes that life is not a movie. In refusing to be defeated by pessimism, Pat learns about true silver linings, not pretty happy endings."—Marilyn Dahl, Shelf Awareness
Matthew Quick earned his M.F.A. in creative criting at Goddard College. He lives in the Philadelphia area with his wife and their greyhound.
Tiffany's Head Floating over the Waves: a chapter from THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK: A Novel by Matthew Quick (Sarah Crichton Books / Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2008).
Author Matthew Quick appeared on TV in Philadelphia speaking about his debut novel The Silver Linings Playbook.