We Are Going to Play This One By The Book. The Silver Linings Playbook, That Is!

In Books on January 20, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Before I begin, this is a review concerning the book The Silver Linings Playbook and not the amazing movie, which, hopefully, I will be fortunate enough to watch tonight.

The Silver Linings Playbook was written by Matthew Quick and details the rough recovery of Pat Peoples, what a ridiculous name, and Tiffany who are both recovering from a severe mental health breakdown for both very different reasons. Pat returns home determined to reunite with his wife while living in the basement of his parent’s house doing a series of workouts involving a dizzying amount of pushups, pullups, situps, and chest press, all of which are covered in detail, but thankfully not too much detail. Pat eventually meets Tiffany at a dinner he attends at his friend’s Ronnie’s house. Right off the bat, Tiffany strikes Pat as odd but this does not stop him from going on silent runs with her or sharing a bowl of bran cereal. While at home, Pat tries to reconnect with his Eagle’s obsessed Father, his prodigal-son brother, and his crazed football obsessed friends,  all the while trying to recover from the incident that put him in the mental health facility. Pat tries to help his mother as much as he can while also supporting Tiffany with the issues that she is recovering from, sometimes so much so, that it puts Pat’s own mental health in danger.

The Silver Linings Playbook is well written depicting, what I care to believe, an accurate portrayal of mental health and the recovery from a serious traumatic event. Pat will often use the voice of a child to describe what is occurring, something that is not typical of a 3o year old man, but something that is very typical of an individual within the mental health system. Pat tries to understand what has happened to him without revealing too much, which would only result in pain. When these moments occur, Pat reacts realistically often exploding at those around him and himself as well. Tiffany also appears to act quite realistically to her own traumatic event, resorting to ways that are less aggressive but still very detrimental to her own well-being.

The home life for Pat is also worth mentioning because it is an aspect of this book that the author appears to have some experience with, because of how real it appears. As a mental health professional, I can say that the individual’s who need treatment the most, often do not have the familial social support that they deserve and many believe is readily available. The interaction between Pat and his parent’s displays this quite well, showing moments when Pat wishes to come closer to his father only to be pushed away by an ignorant imbecile who doesn’t understand what has happened. Tiffany’s relationship with her respective family is also quite rough, often using her mental health status to hurt her. I am here to tell you that this does happen more than you think and that this section of the book should not be considered fiction.

The relationship that Pat established with his therapist may have caught many readers off-guard, due to its liberalness. I believe that man individual’s think that a psychologist should have firm boundaries and they should abide by them. That is true, for specific cases. Pat’s therapist, Cliff Patel, knows that these boundaries do not need to be enforced and, given the state of Pat’s home, Cliff knows that Pat will often need a friend more than a doctor. I know plenty of therapists who believe that the relationship Cliff established with Pat is one of great value and should be one in which the standard is set.

So, this book is worth it. It is a quick read, keeps you entertained/on the edge of your seat till the very end, and it inspired the movie. So, before you see the film, read the book!


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