Title: The Good Luck of Right Now
Author: Matthew Quick
Publication Date: February 11, 2014
Source: copy received for honest review through TLC Book Tours
Plot Summary from Goodreads:
For thirty-eight years, Bartholomew Neil has lived with his mother. When she gets sick and dies, he has no idea how to be on his own. His redheaded grief counselor, Wendy, says he needs to find his flock and leave the nest. But how does a man whose whole life has been grounded in his mom, Saturday mass, and the library learn how to fly?
Bartholomew thinks he’s found a clue when he discovers a “Free Tibet” letter from Richard Gere hidden in his mother’s underwear drawer. In her final days, mom called him Richard—there must be a cosmic connection. Believing that the actor is meant to help him, Bartholomew awkwardly starts his new life, writing Richard Gere a series of highly intimate letters. Jung and the Dalai Lama, philosophy and faith, alien abduction and cat telepathy, the Catholic Church and the mystery of women are all explored in his soul-baring epistles. But mostly the letters reveal one man’s heartbreakingly earnest attempt to assemble a family of his own.
A struggling priest, a “Girlbrarian,” her feline-loving, foul-mouthed brother, and the spirit of Richard Gere join the quest to help Bartholomew. In a rented Ford Focus, they travel to Canada to see the cat Parliament and find his biological father . . . and discover so much more.
This is my first foray into Matthew Quick's novels, though I have seen the movie version of Silver Linings Playbook. (I know, it's sacriligious to use the movie in place of the book, but it won lots of Oscars and was awesome, so I'm hoping it's somewhat close to the novel?) I did find it interesting that The Good Luck of Right Now seemed to have many similar elements to Silver Linings Playbook...namely, a ragtag group of characters who are all battling some form of...psychiatric challenge, shall we say? They get thrown together, not very willingly, and end up helping each other more than they could have originally imagined. I won't say it's repetitive to the themes of SLP (again, assuming the movie and book version are similar), but it does have a similar feel. And as you get to know each character's specific challenges, you can't help but get attached to them...they really are a unique bunch.
Bartholomew's perspective is alternately heartbreaking and heartwarming (and occasionally hilarious, too). He's grieving for his mother's death, but it quickly becomes apparent that he led a very sheltered life under her wing (that's the heartbreaking part). Watching him come into his own is awesome (that's the heartwarming part). And he does it all while writing confessional letters to Richard Gere? That's a good start for the comic relief. (And hey, Richard Gere, if this ever gets made into a movie, you totally need to be a good sport and play your role in it.)
The end result: I'm impressed by Quick's ability to create such endearing characters, because even when their struggles are many, he still manages to make you laugh as they figure things out. Lighthearted despite its sometimes-heavy topics, The Good Luck of Right Now has the unusual ability to make you laugh while you contemplate the meaning of life.
As always, much thanks to Trish and TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour!
HERE. And connect with Matthew Quick on his website, Twitter, and Facebook.