Pat Peoples has just been released from a mental health facility, back to the care of his parents. He is consumed with working out and reading through a high school syllabus of books in a vain attempt to get back his wife Nikki, who has divorced him. Through friends, he meets Tiffany, a woman who has her own issues that she’s dealing with, and who seems to become an unusual and unlikely friend.
Told from the point of view of Pat, the narrative is remarkable in making the reader think in the way that Pat’s mind is working. With the repetitive comments and his skewed take on situations, Quick does a great job at dropping us right into Pat’s state of mind. His OCD-like habits that helped him cope with troubling situations offered the reader a glimpse into what goes on in his head. All the characters were so dynamic and I really loved his relationship with his brother Jake and his therapist Cliff. It’s a bit heavy on the football at times and while I appreciate it in the context of the overall story, a lot of the jargon was a bit lost on me. The book itself is a fairly quick read, broken down into segments of small chapters (with some often-cheeky passage as the title).
I suppose it’s assumed that many people know the outcomes of some classic novels, whether they have read them or at least know the gist of it. I, however, have not read many unfortunately nor know too much about the stories so I was definitely surprised at all the spoilers from Pat as he excitedly flies through Hemingway, Scarlet Letter, Great Gatsby and more while dissecting the plots to whoever will listen. It made for some interesting and poignant observations, but given that I hate spoilers, I probably don’t ever need to read these classics anymore!
I had not seen the movie prior to reading this book, but even still, I couldn’t help but picture Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence in the lead roles the whole time. After finishing this book, I did get around to watching the movie and while it’s a very good adaptation of the book, I definitely prefer the book still. Pat’s dynamic with his father in the movie is so different from the book, and I preferred the literary version more. (Though I do admit I actually laughed out loud during Pat’s outrage at his reading material in the movie). Overall, I’d give the book a 5/5 and the movie a 4/5.