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The Good Luck of Right Now Hardcover – February 11, 2014
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Quick, the author of The Silver Linings Playbook (2008), provides another offbeat gem populated with eccentric, fallible, intensely human characters. After his mother’s death, 38-year-old Bartholomew Neil, a middle-aged man who has never left home, is at a crossroads in his life. Finding a form letter from Richard Gere buried in his mother’s underwear drawer, he begins a one-sided correspondence with the superstar, triggering a series of events that culminates in a life-altering road trip to Canada with a motley crew of misfits including his secret crush, the girlbrarian; her foulmouthed, oddball brother; and a Catholic priest who has fled his parish. The quartet travels northward in search of Bartholomew’s biological father, and humor, pathos, and quirky bends in the road define their odyssey, making it increasingly clear that it is all about the journey, not the destination. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Considering the megapopularity of the film version of The Silver Linings Playbook, expect high demand for this spiritually fueled midlife coming-of-age novel. --Margaret Flanagan
“A gratifying romp….Fans of The Silver Linings Playbook know Quick’s penchant for emotionally troubled, big-hearted characters, and Good Luck will satisfy those readers and new ones alike.” (People (Three Stars))
“It’s impossible not to love each of these deeply flawed characters….As funny as it is touching, Quick’s latest effort is on par with Silver Linings.” (USA Today, Four Stars)
“A page turner...Easy to read but difficult to characterize. Part fairy tale and part vision quest…[it] could more aptly be called an adult-onset bildungsroman….Quick, a master scene-setter, details Neil’s personal tragedy in prose that is simultaneously funny and devastating.” (Boston Globe)
“Original, compelling, uplifting. Quick celebrates the power of ordinary, flawed human beings to rescue themselves and each other. His writing is shot through with wit and humanity and an ultimately optimistic view of people, without ever becoming sentimental.” (Graeme Simsion, author of The Rosie Project)
“Mr. Quick ventures to the edges of society,...He rewards us with an irresistible urge to think the best of humanity, to understand not only the need to walk in someone else’s shoes but also the altruistic power attained from doing so.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
“Funny, touching, wise, and ultimately life-affirming, THE GOOD LUCK OF RIGHT NOW is quite possibly the greatest feel-good misfit-road story I’ve had the good luck to read. If you loved THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME, this book is for you.” (Garth Stein, author of The Art of Racing in the Rain)
“Winningly madcap.” (Entertainment Weekly)
“Everything I relish in a story: a flawed but sympathetic protagonist, a page-turning plot, and a cast of emotionally scarred characters for whom I rooted wholeheartedly. I loved this novel from its quirky and unconventional opening to its poignant, tear-inducing conclusion.” (Wally Lamb, author of We are Water and Wishin' and Hopin')
“A knockout of a book that has something for everyone: humor, wisdom, plot twists, wholly original characters and Richard Gere.” (BookPage)
“Life-affirming….Begins as a character study and morphs into a road novel, blending humorous set pieces-pack a Canadian hotel with UFO abductees and there’s bound to be fun-with poignant revelations about the novel’s main characters. It’s an unabashed tear-jerker.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
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Convinced that his other beloved role model, Richard Gere, is watching over him now that God no longer is, Bartholomew begins a one-way correspondence; these letters are what make up the entire novel. This fantasy relationship he creates is the only thing that still connects him to his deceased mother, considering she was Richard Gere's biggest fan, and the sole belief that he is guiding Bartholomew as if they were old friends, leads to unexpected discoveries and profound self-inquiry.
The unique narrator is what stood out to me, first and foremost. It is not a shock that Quick would write a protagonist who isn't quite normal—one who clearly suffers from a mental disorder, but internally, is the same as any and all of us: deeply, imperfectly human. Bartholomew isn't a grand hero, no, but he glows with sincerity and is a compassionate, warm character; his brilliantly observant and self-recognizing tone will capture the hearts of readers just as that of The Silver Linings Playbook did.
Matthew Quick is skilled not only at providing perspective, but also at conveying the necessity of pretending—not out of delusion, but out of self-preservation—and the sheer magic of believing—whether through faith or through faithlessness. While the book is stylistically simple, it will make you think hard and think long; Bartholomew's introspection on religion, political correctness, and the nature of existence, will make your mind turn. There are moments where you'll disbelievingly relate, and resultantly be touched—fate—and the way the story proceeds rather messily, but falls into place, piece by piece—synchronicity—will provide immense comfort; this is a story for the soul. Whether through acts of God or through coincidence, Bartholomew's life changes gradually at the discovery of an unlikely cast of new friends, and through little achievements that propel him forward further than he could imagine; it is you, the privileged reader, who gets to go along for the ride.
Pros: Requires deep thinking // Will make you reconsider the stigma of mental health disorders // Interesting perspective of a man's "delusions" // Casual, mellow style // Moves quickly; easy to read and keep reading // Story itself is synchronous as it comes into full circle // Distinct, unforgettable characters // Emotional, heartfelt
Cons: Plot isn't terribly exciting; it's more the details and Bartholomew's day-to-day observances that make it interesting // Rushed, inconclusive ending
Verdict: Pensive, honest, and appropriately quirky, The Good Luck of Right Now meditates upon the power of correspondence, the catharsis of confiding, and the definition of believing. Through writing descriptive, intimate letters to his lifelong idol—the ultimate coping mechanism—Bartholomew learns about independence, acquaintance, and ever-burning hope—a remedy for both him, and for readers all around. Fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime will rejoice in Matthew Quick's newest novel for its genuine, thoughtful reflections and its propensity for happy outcomes in the tumbling-together of stray paths.
Rating: 8 out of 10 hearts (4 stars): An engaging read that will be worth your while; highly recommended.
Source: Complimentary copy provided by publisher via tour publicist in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, Harper Collins and TLC!).
Quick wonderfully wrote a book that combined humor, intelligence, wit with a good dose of heart. I loved how it was all written in such a straightforward manner, with no long-winded, running monologue/dialogue wanting you to feel he holds the knowledge to the universe while in reality he’s just boring you to tears. The simplicity in the narrative makes a bigger impact because you can feel the truth and sincerity in Bartholomew’s observances and ideas. I was really impressed at many of those observances that Bartholomew makes both about his situation but how it relates to life in general. As simple as he puts it, when you reflect on it, you can’t help but agree with what is being said. It’s all driven home when made in connection with Bartholomew’s situation. This is the core of the story’s heart and what makes the story and its characters very moving.
Speaking of which, the book’s writing really help bring Bartholomew and the others to life. I think Quick did a great job of making Bartholomew someone that is wise beyond his station while also making it clear that he carries some major issues (I mean he has to considering he’s a 39 year old unemployed man who spent the majority of his life living and hanging out with his mom). With any other author and book, Bartholomew could easily play the role of “creepy, mentally disturbed sociopath” but Quick infuses him with a sincere and insightful nature that he endears you to himself. The same thing could be said for the others such as whiskey drinking Father McNamee, cat-loving foul-mouthed Max (my favorite and the one who made me laugh) and his withdrawn sister Elizabeth aka “The Girlbrarian”. Like Bartholomew, they all have their individual issues that could easily categorize them as “outcasts” but they each have that inner spark that makes them endearing and sympathetic people. With the kind of personalities the story contains, Quick did a wonderful job of meshing them together, creating some heartfelt, sweet and funny moments.
Books such as this one serves as a reminder that it’s good to have a story where you can root for the misfits of the world. It feels good to know that there are those who are like you (or if you prefer, there are those who have it worse off than you) and still able to find their place in the world. The Good Luck of Right was the kind of fun and smart read that I’d recommend to make you feel good and leave a smile on your face. I would especially recommend this to those who are Richard Gere fans (or even to Richard Gere for that matter Lol). I really enjoyed his previous book, Silver Linings Playbook, and this book solidified Quick as an author who I’d follow and, without any hesitation, read.
Bartholomew is smart but socially inept and is clueless as to how to move forward with his life and "find his flock" as he has been advised by counselors. His hard-drinking priest and a few new friends seem to be guiding him toward his goal. To say the brother and sister he meets are unusual would be an understatement of the highest order. The Girlbrarian, as Bartholomew calls her (she volunteers at the library) is actually Elizabeth, and her brother, Max, aside from his profanity, is wildly appealing...slightly crazy but appealing. The four of them eventually set off on a road trip to Canada - Montreal for Bartholomew and Ottawa for Max to see the Cat Parliament there for his birthday. Max has something you can honestly say is a cat fetish. I like that in a guy. This is a pilgrimage of sorts and hits its mark.
The entire story is poignant, funny and charming.