Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Silver Linings Playbook

“She looks sad. She looks angry. She looks different from everyone else I know—she cannot put on that happy face others wear when they know they are being watched. She doesn’t put on a face for me, which makes me trust her somehow.” 

“Life is random and fucked-up and arbitrary, until you find someone who can make sense of it all for you— if only temporarily.” 
“The only way to beat my crazy was by doing something even crazier. Thank you. I love you. I knew it from the moment I saw you. I'm sorry it took me so long to catch up.” 
Life is random and fucked-up and arbitrary, Matthew Quick tells us in The Silver Linings Playbook, a story about Tiffany and Pat, one a depressive patient the other bipolar.  In Quick's novel, Nikki, Pat's ex-wife, cheats on him, hits over the head with a cd player, and then divorces him.  Yet poor Pat, who suffers from mental illness and memory loss (obviously), still loves his wife and is waiting for their "apart time" to end.  Tiffany's, on the other hand, is reeling from her husband death which she handles by sleeping with everyone in her office.  The narrative centers around how these two fucked-up people learn to cope with their losses and find solace in each other.  Now, in my opinion, what makes this particular book so beautiful is Quick's attention to the inner workings of his character's minds.  For example, we spend much of our time reading Pat's inner dialogue.  His confusion at Tiffany's attention.  Her hurt and growing attachment to him.  Both are struggling to move past pain.  And because Silver Linings is something of a feel good novel, eventually these characters do work through some of their issues (nobody's perfect), and Tiffany and Pat come together in their own screwed-up way.  And, you know, I think that might be what love is.  Looking past the baggage, and seeing someone you care about whether that person is up or down.  The person you stop putting on that happy face for.  The one you let see the real you, tears, anger, and all. Maybe instead of asking ourselves "who seems perfect?" before entering a relationship or "who won't we let down?", we should ask: "who do you want to sit in the emergency room with?"  Because, Kids, life isn't a romance novel.  Just doesn't play out that way.  Don't get me wrong, I think maybe we are given a few chances at some happiness now and again.  But even those are confusing.  We rarely fall for one another at the same time.  We will let each other down.  Its part of being human.  But who do you care about anyway.  And even if you know, remember, somebody is always "catching up" to the other's feelings.  And, Gawd, but taking that leap is scary, especially if you're a Tiffany, whose feelings are stronger at the beginning then the other person's.  But “Let me tell ya. You gotta pay attention to signs. When life reaches out with a moment like this it's a sin if you don't reach back... I'm telling you.” 

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