Matthew Quick, author of The Silver Linings Playbook, delivers more warm-and-fuzzy feels.
Bartholomew Neil is 39 years old, friendless, and has always lived with and cared for his mother. Her death leaves him at a loss, unable to cope with life alone.
Out of this need for support begins his one-sided correspondence with none other than Richard Gere. The story is narrated through Bartholomew’s letters to Gere, who was his mother’s favourite actor. Although the connection may seem tenuous at first, Quick makes it work. Bartholomew sees Gere almost as his opposite – someone who is successful, handsome and confident – and this is a persona he attempts to channel as he struggles to find his feet. Bartholomew also draws parallels between Gere’s Buddhism and his mother’s personal philosophy, the ‘Good Luck of Right Now’ – the belief that for every bad thing that happens to you, something good happens to someone else, and vice-versa.
Bartholomew is quickly joined by his recently defrocked Parish Priest, Father McNamee, and later by new friends Max and Elizabeth. Quick’s characters are misfits, and all are grappling with their own personal issues. Their lives connect and change course at a critical time for all of them, supporting Bartholomew’s belief that nothing happens purely by coincidence.
The beauty of this book is its detail, especially in the character of Bartholomew. Quick balances tragedy and humour as the hero falteringly comes to grips with the loss of his mother, and finds comfort in his new friends.
Quick seems to have stuck to familiar ground in The Good Luck of Right Now – echoes of The Silver Linings Playbook come through in the characters and their internal struggles – but nonetheless it is approachable, uplifting and well worth a read. Or if you’re not much of a reader (ew, why are you even here?), rest assured that the film adaptation is already underway.
Words by TOM LODEWYKE