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Call it synchronicity...
Call it an act of God...
Call it…The Good Luck of Right Now.
For 38 years, Bartholomew Neil has lived with his mother. When she gets sick and dies, he has no idea how to be on his own. His redheaded grief counselor, Wendy, says he needs to find his flock and leave the nest. But how does a man whose whole life has been grounded in his mom, Saturday Mass, and the library learn how to fly?
Bartholomew thinks he's found a clue when he discovers a "Free Tibet" letter from Richard Gere hidden in his mother's underwear drawer. In her final days, Mom called him Richard - there must be a cosmic connection. Believing that the actor is meant to help him, Bartholomew awkwardly starts his new life by writing Richard Gere a series of letters. Jung and the Dalai Lama, philosophy and faith, alien abduction and cat telepathy, the Catholic Church and the mystery of women, are all explored in his soul-baring epistles. But mostly the letters reveal one man's heartbreakingly earnest attempt to assemble a family of his own.
A struggling priest; a "Girlbrarian"; her feline-loving, foul-mouthed brother; and the spirit of Richard Gere join the quest to help Bartholomew. In a rented Ford Focus, they travel to Canada to see the Cat Parliament and find Bartholomew's biological father…and discover so much more.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By JoAnn on 02-17-14
This was easily the best book I've read (well, listened to) in recent memory. The words are tender, humorous, thought-provoking, quirky, and positive. Bartholomew Neil is an kind and innocent man, likely on the autism spectrum, who has lived through some unspeakably sad events. The book opens up with him in the wake of his mothers death and chronicles his healing process in series of letters to (who else?) Richard Gere. Bartholomew's pain is so beautifully tragic and is foiled through supporting characters including a physically abused grief counselor, alcoholic priest, introverted librarian, and potty-mouth who is grieving the loss of his cat. While I actively cried at multiple parts of this book, I left the reading feeling an overwhelming sense of positivity. I had previously enjoyed Silver Linings and enjoyed the similarities of these two novels (i.e., healing after loss, quirky characters, Philly grit), but feel as though this book was far superior.
The narration was the best I've heard in my history of Audible and will become the standard by which I measure future audiobooks. I am SO happy I *listened* to this book and cannot imagine my brain would be able to bring the characters to life the way Mr. Wyman did.
11 of 11 people found this review helpful
By The Reading Date on 03-06-14
Matthew Quick’s latest book, The Good Luck of Right Now, is a coming of age about a man learning to live on his own after his mother’s death. Bartholomew is pushing 40 but has missed a lot of social milestones, like making friends, having a drink with a girl at a bar, or getting a job. He’s working on his personal growth strategy by writing letters to Richard Gere, an actor his mother admired.
Like Quick’s other books, The Good Luck of Right Now is offbeat and filled with quirky characters, with a focus on mental health, religion, and personal discovery. It’s happy, sad, heartwarming, strange, and very entertaining.
Bartholomew Neil’s story plays out through his letters to Richard Gere. He spends his time going to church, talking with family friend, the recently “defrocked” Father McNamee, and studying up on Buddhism at the library. His crush on the “Girlbrarian” is another reason that Bartholomew needs a lot of study time.
Bartholomew also has an angry voice inside of him that eats at him and he has a lot to work through. Bartholomew’s grief counselor wants him to work on his self-improvement goals, and to be more independent. He meets a kindred spirit at a support group. Max is grieving his beloved cat, and his Tourette’s means the f-word appears almost every other word in his scenes. In what Bartholomew would call synchronicity, it turns out Max is the girlbrarian’s brother.
The action shifts from Philadelphia to Canada when the group of misfits leave town on an important cat/dad finding mission.
The title plays very much into the philosophy of the story, and refers to the flip side of bad luck. Bad, terrible things occur to the characters in the book, and Bartholomew’s mother taught him to put a positive spin on bad luck. Maybe their bad luck means someone else will have good fortune. It’s a theme that comes up time and again.
Oliver Wyman does an outstanding job with the audiobook narration, and really inhabits the characters. His Bartholomew is kind and sincere, but Wyman also brings that angry voice to life as well. I also really enjoyed his voice for the cat obsessed, foul-mouthed Max. The book is so cinematic in feel like Quick’s Silver Linings Playbook and benefits from Wyman’s skilled narration.
Though this book is written with an adult audience in mind, I think that it definitely has YA appeal, with its unconventional coming of age story. I really liked this offbeat story, and since there is a movie in the works, I’m already trying to cast it in my head. I hope Richard Gere makes a cameo at least! If you like quirky, heartwarming books about road trips, mental illness, and self-discovery, or Matthew Quick’s other books, this one might be right up your alley.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful