I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick. And I’m glad I didn’t have Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro in my head when I did it. Whenever a book is made into a movie it’s easy to be disappointed in one of them, probably influenced the most by wherever we begin. Books make me want to see the movie, and movies make me want to read the book, and then the comparisons from one to the other keep me awake at night. Okay, not really. Mostly it’s just mildly entertaining thinking about our dissimilar thought processes and how differently things can be interpreted and how something can be dissected and twisted to end up with a wildly divergent result and a new meaning that never would have crossed my mind. And then I can make up ridiculously long sentences about the concept.
This book was a brilliant look inside the head of a man with a lot of mental issues, and the story is told almost exclusively from his point of view. Pat has lost what he thinks is only a few months (but turns out to be four years) of his life in “the bad place” spending “apart time” from his wife Nikki. He is back living with his parents and working hard on continuing to improve everything about himself so there will be a reconciliation with Nikki and his own personal “movie” will have a happy ending. He is obsessed with working out, has a therapist who shares his love of football, freaks out whenever he hears Kenny G, and is being pursued by Tiffany, who may be even more messed up than he is. His father mostly ignores him, his mother dotes and smothers, and his brother and best friend just want him to snap out of it and be normal. It’s obvious to the reader that Pat is not going to get the silver lining/happy ending he’s counting on. But he’s easy to root for, and endearing in his struggles.
I have not seen the movie in its entirety, but I’ve watched enough trailers and scenes and clips to know there are a myriad of differences. For one thing, Robert De Niro has more lines in one snippet than Pats father had in the entire book. In the book we see the world according to Pat. In the movie we get to see it from somewhere else entirely – not just our own perspective but that of the screen writers and the director and the actors themselves. It looks to be very different, but I don’t know how it could be otherwise.
This could be a first, where I’m less likely to prefer one over the other, but able to enjoy both for whatever diverse and peculiar reasons. Maybe the whole comparison thing in this case is just a silly waste of time.