Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Review: The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick

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I received this book for free from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew QuickThe Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick
Published by HarperCollins on February 11th 2014
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Source: HarperCollins
Buy on Amazon

Call it fate. Call it synchronicity. Call it an act of God. Call it . . . The Good Luck of Right Now. From the New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook comes an entertaining and inspiring tale that will leave you pondering the rhythms of the universe and marveling at the power of kindness and love.

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.

What a strange little book this was. I have to be honest right up front and say that I wasn’t sure how I felt about The Good Luck of Right Now for most of the time I spent reading it. It was strange, it had characters that I couldn’t relate to; but as I sat there reading I realized that I couldn’t put it down. Bartholomew and the people that came into his life wormed their odd little ways into my heart and I truly cared about their well-being and had to see where everything went for them.

Right off the bat the thing that stands out in this novel is the way in which it is told. Each chapter in The Good Luck of Right Now is a letter that our MC Bartholomew Neil has written to Richard Gere. Yes, the Richard Gere of Pretty Woman fame, among others. I had thought that maybe it was just the first chapter that was going to be told in this way but nope, it was the whole novel. At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about that at all but looking back I have to concede and say that it worked. See, every time I put this novel down for a few moments I would be floored at how much of the novel I had ploughed through. It became a one day read for me, which is so weird because I can’t really pin point my feelings on it at all.

What I can say, is that I loved the characters. No I could not relate to them and no I didn’t agree with much of the choices they made in the pages but they became people that I cared about. Mostly so Bartholomew. Though his mental issues are never really touched upon heavily in the novel I am assuming he was (at least a touch) autistic. When we meet him he is a 39 year old man who has never had a job and has spent his life taking care of his mother. In the aftermath of her death he isn’t sure how to deal at all. He doesn’t know how the bills are being paid, but they are, and he doesn’t really know how to go about meeting people. In steps the priest that he has grown up with Father McNamee. McNamee moves in with Bartholomew and is quickly revealed to be fighting his own mental issues. The living situation this led to was odd to say the least. They had daily communions, daily drinking sessions (that usually ended up with McNamee drinking so much that he was spewing his guts in the bathroom for much of the night), but they found a way to look out for one another. Was it healthy? No. Did it work for them? At the time, yes.

Adding to this already strange cast of characters is the boy Bartholomew meets at one of the few therapy sessions that he goes to, Max. This guy was a character, he had an intense obsession with cats and I do believe he was incapable of spitting out a sentence that didn’t have the f-word in it (usually multiple times.) Max seems like this unhealthy addition to Bartholomew’s life (just as McNamee does) but he really gets him to come out of his shell and even helps him meet some of the personal goals he set for himself in therapy. The most Max added to Bartholomew’s life was letting him meet his sister, Elizabeth, who just so happens to be the librarian Bart (I’m so tired of typing his full name!) has been watching for a while and wanting to meet.

Here is where the theme of the story comes into play. It’s all about synchronicity; the good balancing out the bad, the ups balancing out the downs, the ugly balancing out the beautiful etc. The way the pieces of this novel come together and the way that the story plays out really leads you to believe that everything does happen for a reason, even when the things happening are as bad as you think they can get. This is an incredibly well put together novel, it is unique and it drives home it’s point in a fantastic way. Despite my flip-floppiness on my feelings for it all I think I need to just look back at the experience and realize how well it worked for me. Quick has hit it out of the park yet again with The Good Luck of Right Now and has cemented his place on my auto-read list.


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18 Responses to “Review: The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick”

  1. Michelle

    Oh I didn’t realize this came out today!!! I want to read it for sure! It sounds…. different. And that could be good!! I really loved Leonard Peacock and Silver Linings Playbook was pretty good too! Cool review.

  2. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    I love strange books like these, Jenni. I read The Paradox of Vertical and really enjoyed it despite not connecting with any of the characters. I think I’m going to enjoy this.
    Thanks for the lovely review, Jenni!

  3. Bethzaida (bookittyblog)

    This sounds incredibly good even though I think it’s out of my comfort zone. What intrigues me the most is the why he’s writing to Richard Gere (which I’ve had a crush on since I watched An Officer and a Gentleman). Great review Jenni!

  4. Mary @ BookSwarm

    I haven’t read/seen Silver Linings Playbook but I hear it’s wonderful — really not sure about this one. Odd little books aren’t usually something I read, though you never really know about a book until you pick it up.

  5. Megan

    This one sounds bizarre. But is a good way? I don’t know. Sounds like it’s worth a try just to see.

    Wow, I feel like this comment made no sense. Sorry. I just got off my 7th night shift. Anyway, great review Jenni!

  6. Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain

    Wow it sounds like the ending is a really rewarding one that makes you really contemplate life and everything. I love the sound of the characters as well, and how strange and unique they were. I definitely know what you mean about not relating to the characters but still loving them. I love when even though I don’t identify with a character I still manage to love them. Fantastic review. Jenni! <33

  7. Siiri

    It’s adult? O.o It seems like a MG novel based on the cover lol. I find it often that characters make or break the story for me and I’m glad that even though you didn’t relate, you still came to care about them. “(I’m so tired of typing his full name!)” Haha. I’m glad you enjoyed this novel, Jenni! 🙂

  8. kimbacaffeinate

    Awesome review Jenni and I know exactly what you mean about the characters and the vibe you experienced while reading this. If I can understand their motives or what drives them then I can form attachments or care.

  9. Melliane

    wow this one sounds really original, it’s the first review I read about it and it’s really intriguing. LOL a book to Richard Gere? What a funny idea. And I’m gladyou liked it depite you weren’t able to relate to the characters, it’s pretty impressive because it’s often a problem for me.

  10. Lauren

    Wow, letters to Richard Gere? Definitely strange, but I’m glad to hear it worked! I have this on hold at my library, can’t wait to get to it. Lovely review!

  11. Wendy Darling

    Ah hah. I haven’t read any Matthew Quick books but I’ve heard a lot about him. I’ve mostly been suspicious (is it terrible that really quirky illustrated covers make me think the content may be too clever for my taste? and is it terrible I’ve used the word “suspicious” both here and on Giselle’s review just now? how many more questions can I ask you? eh?) because I wasn’t sure if his writing style would mesh well with my taste, but your review makes me very hopeful! I may have to pick this up from the library sometime.

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