Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Good Luck of Right Now - Matthew Quick

Matthew Quick's last novel The Silver Linings Playbook was turned into an award winning movie.

His newest book The Good Luck of Right Now gives us another wounded protagonist to root for.

Bartholomew Neil is nearing forty when his mother dies from cancer. Having never held a job, lived on his own and with no friends, he is unsure of what to do next. He starts to puzzle things out in letters written to actor Richard Gere. (Mom's favourite) These missives are heartbreaking in their honesty.

" I get sidetracked easily by interesting things, and for this reason, people often find it hard to converse with me, which is why I don't talk very much to strangers and much prefer writing letters, in which there is room to record everything, unlike real-life conversations where you have to fight and fight to fit in your words and almost always lose."

Bartholomew and his mother were faithful church goers and he does find some solace from parish priest Father McNamee. But he's not too sure about his grief counsellor Wendy, although they do set a life goal for Bartholomew - to have a drink with a friend in a bar. What Bartholomew would really like to do is meet the Girlbrarian at the library he frequents every day.

Bartholomew is a great believer of Synchronicity by Carl Jung. Some might call it coincidence or destiny. Bartholomew's mother had her own twist on it - "For every bad thing that happens, a good thing happens too - and this was how the world stayed in harmony." Whatever way you choose to look at it - Bartholomew's life seems to be full of coincidences that may help him find his place in the world.

Quick has written another great book full of decidedly quirky characters and odd situations. I'm not sure why, but I am drawn to characters that are outside of the mainstream view of life. Their struggle to fit in and find a place for themselves. Most of all, it is their optimism, their steady one foot in front of the other, their acceptance of everyone that appeals to me. Bartholomew embodies all that.

As he says..."Well, if there weren't weird, strange and unusual people who did weird things or nothing at all, there couldn't be normal people who do normal useful things, right?"

The Good Luck of right now is an unusual narrative told from a decidedly different character - one that you shouldn't spend too much time analyzing or trying to fit into a mold. The situations and connections are just as different - but who's to say they couldn't happen? Just go with it - and see where Bartholomew ends up.  I quite enjoyed The Good Luck of Right Now - maybe it was meant to land in my mailbox?!

(PS There's one scene in the library involving a patron viewing questionable material - I was laughing out loud. As a employee of a public library, I can tell that Quick did not exaggerate this scene!)

See what others on the TLC book tour thought. Full schedule can be found here.

Matthew Quick is the author of The Silver Linings Playbook, which was made into an Academy Award-winning film, and the young adult novels Sorta Like a Rock Star, Boy21, and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock. He is married to the novelist-pianist Alicia Bessette. You can find Matthew Quick on Facebook and on Twitter.

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