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The Silver Linings Playbook: A Novel

Quick, Matthew

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An enchanting first novel about love, madness, and Kenny G.

The Silver Linings Playbook is the riotous and poignant story of how one man regains his memory and comes to terms with the magnitude of his wife’s betrayal.

During the years he spends in a neural health facility, Pat Peoples formulates a theory about silver linings: he believes his life is a movie produced by God, his mission is to become physically fit and emotionally supportive, and his happy ending will be the return of his estranged wife, Nikki. When Pat goes to live with his parents, everything seems changed: no one will talk to him about Nikki; his old friends are saddled with families; the Philadelphia Eagles keep losing, making his father moody; and his new therapist seems to be recommending adultery as a form of therapy.

When Pat meets the tragically widowed and clinically depressed Tiffany, she offers to act as a liaison between him and his wife, if only he will give up watching football, agree to perform in this year’s Dance Away Depression competition, and promise not to tell anyone about their “contract.” All the while, Pat keeps searching for his silver lining.

In this brilliantly written debut novel, Matthew Quick takes us inside Pat’s mind, deftly showing us the world from his distorted yet endearing perspective. The result is a touching and funny story that helps us look at both depression and love in a wonderfully refreshing way.

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About the Author:

In the six months that followed his leaving teaching and the Philadelphia area, Matthew Quick floated down the Peruvian Amazon and formed ‘The Bardbarians’ (a two-man literary circle), backpacked around Southern Africa, hiked to the bottom of a snowy Grand Canyon, soul-searched, and finally began writing full-time.

Matthew earned his Creative Writing MFA through Goddard College. He has since returned to the Philadelphia area, where he lives with his wife and their greyhound.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One
An Infinite Amount of Days Until My Inevitable Reunion with Nikki
I don’t have to look up to know Mom is making another surprise visit. Her toenails are always pink during the summer months, and I recognize the flower design imprinted on her leather sandals; it’s what Mom purchased the last time she signed me out of the bad place and took me to the mall.   Once again, Mother has found me in my bathrobe, exercising unattended in the courtyard, and I smile because I know she will yell at Dr. Timbers, asking him why I need to be locked up if I’m only going to be left alone all day.   “Just how many push-ups are you going to do, Pat?” Mom says when I start a second set of one hundred without speaking to her.   “Nikki—likes—a—man—with—a—developed—upper—body,” I say, spitting out one word per push-up, tasting the salty sweat lines that are running into my mouth.   MATHEW QUICK   The August haze is thick, perfect for burning fat.   Mom just watches for a minute or so, and then she shocks me. Her voice sort of quivers as she says, “Do you want to come home with me today?”   I stop doing push-ups, turn my face up toward Mother’s, squint through the white noontime sun—and I can immediately tell she is serious, because she looks worried, as if she is making a mistake, and that’s how Mom looks when she means something she has said and isn’t just talking like she always does for hours on end whenever she’s not upset or afraid.   “As long as you promise not to go looking for Nikki again,” she adds, “you can finally come home and live with me and your father until we find you a job and get you set up in an apartment.”   I resume my push-up routine, keeping my eyes riveted to the shiny black ant scaling a blade of grass directly below my nose, but my peripheral vision catches the sweat beads leaping from my face to the ground below.   “Pat, just say you’ll come home with me, and I’ll cook for you and you can visit with your old friends and start to get on with your life finally. Please. I need you to want this. If only for me, Pat. Please.”   Double-time push-ups, my pecs ripping, growing—pain, heat, sweat, change.   I don’t want to stay in the bad place, where no one believes in silver linings or love or happy endings, and where everyone tells me Nikki will not like my new body, nor will she even want to see me when apart time is over. But I am also afraid the people from my old life will not be as enthusiastic as I am now trying to be.   Even still, I need to get away from the depressing doctors and the ugly nurses—with their endless pills in paper cups—if I am ever going to get my thoughts straight, and since Mom will be much easier to trick than medical professionals, I jump up, find my feet, and say, “I’ll come live with you just until apart time is over.”   While Mom is signing legal papers, I take one last shower in my room and then fill my duffel bag with clothes and my framed picture of Nikki. I say goodbye to my roommate, Jackie, who just stares at me from his bed like he always does, drool running down off his chin like clear honey. Poor Jackie, with his random tufts of hair, oddly shaped head, and flabby body. What woman would ever love him?   He blinks at me. I take this for goodbye and good luck, so I blink back with both eyes—meaning double good luck to you, Jackie, which I figure he understands, since he grunts and bangs his shoulder against his ear like he does whenever he gets what you are trying to tell him.   My other friends are in music relaxation class, which I do not attend, because smooth jazz makes me angry sometimes. Thinking maybe I should say goodbye to the men who had my back while I was locked up, I look into the music-room window and see my boys sitting Indian style on purple yoga mats, their elbows resting on their knees, their palms pressed together in front of their faces, and their eyes closed. Luckily, the glass of the window blocks the smooth jazz from entering my ears. My friends look really relaxed—at peace—so I decide not to interrupt their session. I hate goodbyes.   In his white coat, Dr. Timbers is waiting for me when I meet my mother in the lobby, where three palm trees lurk among the couches and lounge chairs, as if the bad place were in Orlando and not Baltimore. “Enjoy your life,” he says to me—wearing that sober look of his—and shakes my hand.   “Just as soon as apart time ends,” I say, and his face falls as if I said I was going to kill his wife, Natalie, and their three blondhaired daughters—Kristen, Jenny, and Becky—because that’s just how much he does not believe in silver linings, making it his business to preach apathy and negativity and pessimism unceasingly.   But I make sure he understands that he has failed to infect me with his depressing life philosophies—and that I will be looking forward to the end of apart time. I say, “Picture me rollin’” to Dr. Timbers, which is exactly what Danny—my only black friend in the bad place—told me he was going to say to Dr. Timbers when Danny got out. I sort of feel bad about stealing Danny’s exit line, but it works; I know because Dr. Timbers squints as if I had punched him in the gut.   As my mother drives me out of Maryland and through Delaware, past all those fast-food places and strip malls, she explains that Dr. Timbers did not want to let me out of the bad place, but with the help of a few lawyers and her girlfriend’s therapist—the man who will be my new therapist—she waged a legal battle and managed to convince some judge that she could care for me at home, so I thank her.   On the Delaware Memorial Bridge, she looks over at me and asks if I want to get better, saying, “You do want to get better, Pat. Right?”   I nod. I say, “I do.”   And then we are back in New Jersey, flying up 295.   As we drive down Haddon Avenue into the heart of Collingswood—my hometown—I see that the main drag looks different. So many new boutique stores, new expensive-looking restaurants, and well-dressed strangers walking the sidewalks that I wonder if this is really my hometown at all. I start to feel anxious, breathing heavily like I sometimes do.   Mom asks me what’s wrong, and when I tell her, she again promises that my new therapist, Dr. Patel, will have me feeling normal in no time.   When we arrive home, I immediately go down into the basement, and it’s like Christmas. I find the weight bench my mother had promised me so many times, along with the rack of weights, the stationary bike, dumbbells, and the Stomach Master 6000, which I had seen on late-night television and coveted for however long I was in the bad place.   “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” I tell Mom, and give her a huge hug, picking her up off the ground and spinning her around once.   When I put her down, she smiles and says, “Welcome home, Pat.”   Eagerly I go to work, alternating between sets of bench presses, curls, machine sit-ups on the Stomach Master 6000, leg lifts, squats, hours on the bike, hydration sessions (I try to drink four gallons of water every day, doing endless shots of H2O from a shot glass for intensive hydration), and then there is my writing, which is mostly daily memoirs like this one, so that Nikki will be able to read about my life and know exactly what I’ve been up to since apart time began. (My memory started to slip in the bad place because of the drugs, so I began writing down everything that happens to me, keeping track of what I will need to tell Nikki when apart time concludes, to catch her up on my life. But the doctors in the bad place confiscated everything I wrote before I came home, so I had to start over.)   When I finally come out of the basement, I notice that all the pictures of Nikki and me have been removed from the walls and the mantel over the fireplace.   I ask my mother where these pictures went. She tells me our house was burglarized a few weeks before I came home and the pictures were stolen. I ask why a burglar would want pictures of Nikki and me, and my mother says she puts all of her pictures in very expensive frames. “Why didn’t the burglar steal the rest of the family pictures?” I ask. Mom says the burglar stole all the expensive frames, but she had the negatives for the family portraits and had them replaced. “Why didn’t you replace the pictures of Nikki and me?” I ask. Mom says she did not have the negatives for the pictures of Nikki and me, especially because Nikki’s parents had paid for the wedding pictures and had only given my mother copies of the photos she liked. Nikki had given Mom the other non-wedding pictures of us, and well, we aren’t in touch with Nikki or her family right now because it’s apart time.   I tell my mother that if that burglar comes back, I’ll break his kneecaps and beat him within an inch of his life, and she says, “I believe you would.”   My father and I do not talk even once duri...

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Quick, Matthew Author
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2008)
ISBN 10: 0374264260 ISBN 13: 9780374264260
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Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: "Matthew Quick has created quite the heartbreaker of a novel inThe Silver Linings Playbook." from theKirkusFirst Fiction Issue"Matthew Quick is a natural storyteller, and his SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK--honest, wise, and compassionate--is a story that carries the reader along on a gust of optimism. Without shying away from the difficulties of domestic life, it charts a route past those challenges, and leaves us with a lingering sense of hope. More than a promising debut or an inspiring love story, this novel offers us the gift of healing." Roland Merullo, author ofIn Revere, In Those Days"You don't have to be a Philadelphia Eagles' fan (or even from Philadelphia) to appreciate talented newcomer Matthew Quick's page-turning paean to the power of hope over experiencethe belief that this will all work out somehow, despite the long odds that life deals us. Tender, soulful, hilarious, and true, THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK is a wonderful debut." Justin Cronin, PEN/Hemingway Award-winning author ofMary and O'NeilandThe Summer Guest"The hero of Matthew Quick's first novel is Pat Peoples, amnesiac optimist and absolute original, whose dysfunctional journey takes him from big-league fandom to competitive dance and a host of other modern preoccupations. This is a funny, touching performance on the part of Mr. Quickand the beginning, I hope, of a big career." Dave King, author ofThe Ha-Ha"Entertaining and heartfelt and authentic,The Silver Linings Playbookmagically binds together love, madness, Philadelphia Eagles football, faith, family and hard-earned hope into a story that is both profound and wonderfully beguiling. This is a splendid novel, written by a big-time talent." Martin Clark, author ofThe Many Aspects of Mobile Home LivingandThe Legal Limit"I lovedThe Silver Linings Playbook. It is warm, funny, and moving." Shawn McBride, author ofGreen Grass Grace. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0374264260

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Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux, U.S.A., 2008. Soft cover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. 12mo - over 6¾ - 7¾" tall. RARE Advance Reading Copy-Uncorrected Proof-Not For Sale. 1st-Edition-Stated. 1st Printing-Full # Line. New copy. Never read. There is a tiny discoloring on the lower binding and a pencil point size on the front cover. Could be from the printing process. Top and binding and around to front cover has a tiny indentation. BEAUTIFUL copy of Book & Cover. ONLY ARC on Abe-RARE. COLLECTOR'S COPY. Bookseller Inventory # 002162

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Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. First Edition. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0374264260

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