During his years in a neural-health facility, Pat Peoples has formulated a theory about silver linings. He believes that his life is a movie produced by God, that his mission is to become physically fit and emotionally supportive, and that if he succeeds, his happy ending will be the return of his estranged wife, Nikki.When Pat goes to live with his parents, everything seems changed: no one will talk to him about Nikki, and his new therapist seems to be recommending adultery as a form of therapy. Then, Pat meets clinically depressed widow Tiffany, who offers to act as a liaison between him and his wife - provided he agrees to a secret contract that includes giving up football and performing in the next Dance Away Depression competition.
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Matthew Quick has accomplished several amazing things here, and it's really hard to list them all. First, he has documented the nature of mental illness in general and bipolar disorder in fine detail, the first book (in my experience) to do this in novel form. Second, he has drawn a terrific, touching love story between two people who are both fragile and suffering from loss. They are both determined, nonetheless, to find the "silver linings" in life. Three, he has depicted a suffering family which is trying to cope with a deeply disturbed, isolated and enraged father. Fourth, he has portrayed the love story between a community and its football team, the Philadelphia Eagles. The passion that the fans have for their team is almost unimaginable in its ferocity, a love that many men understand and many women cannot. If you are a woman, just think of sports as male emotionality. Fifth (I am counting) he has depicted a very unusual relationship between a therapist and his patient. Cliff, the psychiatrist who follows Pat after his four-year involuntary commitment to a psychiatric hospital, is also a raving Eagles fan, who delights in jumping out of his chair and doing the Eagles chant. When Pat is puzzled by this (as who wouldn't be), Cliff says, "When I sit in this chair, I am your therapist. When I get out of this chair, I am your friend and fellow Eagles fan." Can you imagine any psychiatrist, if you know any, who could do such a thing? I have lost track of all that Mr. Quick has done here, but, trust me, it is an awe-inspiring thing. For one in the profession (I am a psychologist), it is all the more astounding. That the book works so well on all of these levels, and more, is just a pleasure. I think Mr. Quick is a young author, and I hope we will hear more from him. Mr. Porter does a great job with this challenging material. Serious mental illness is frightening, and both these men have done a wonderful job of conveying the torment that these patients suffer. Even so, the book is uplifting. If you have seen the movie, you know that it is wonderful as well, but it is quite different.. A movie has much different rules than a book, and it just can't convey the richness of this work of fiction. The book may be hard to listen to at times, as Mr. Quick does not pull any punches, so just put it down for a while and then come back to it. The book and the movie combined have contributed to the process of destigmatizing mental illness, which is all very much to the good. I am preaching here, so I will stop. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.
This book is about two subjects split right down the middle: Eagles football and mental illness, and I wish someone would have warned me. The performance was wonderful, but I almost didn't finish because I was so damned sick of hearing about Eagles football! If you don't like football, don't bother with this. The book is quite different from the movie. Also, the movie portrays the main character as bipolar. In the book, he suffers from a psychotic break, these are two very different things. Having said that, the story does excellently portray a person suffering from a psychotic break. That was the only reason I finished the book. The excess of football stats and references and the constant "AAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH" of the Eagles fight song blaring in my ears almost ruined the book for me and is the reason why I'm only giving this two stars.