Monday, February 24, 2014

Book Review: The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick

Title:  The Good Luck of Right Now
Author: Matthew Quick
Publisher: Harper
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.

My Review:

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!
Check out the other blogs on this book tour HERE.  And connect with Matthew Quick on his website, Twitter, and Facebook.


  1. I'm excited about reading this book (come on April!) I've read all of Quick's published books and they all follow the ragtag-misfit theme. I find as long as you don't read one book right after another it doesn't get tiresome.

    1. Sounds like how I feel about Jodi Picoult. Love her stuff but it generally follows the same plot pattern and I can't read them close together.

  2. I haven't read any of his books, but I adored the Silver Linings Playbook movie, so I should probably get on that. (Except maybe I won't actually read Silver Linings Playbook... just because it makes me nervous when I like a movie that much without knowing the book.)

    1. Yes! I rarely read a book if I've seen the movie makes the reading less enjoyable for me, even if I loved the movie version.

  3. I'm incredibly excited for this book since I loved his YA novel, Forgive Me Leonard Peacock. I think it's interesting how Quick writes characters with psychological problems and how all of his characters are flawed, yet the journey that they go on is often times uplifting.

    1. Yes, I kept thinking, "Hmmm I'm laughing right now...should I be laughing?...not sure, but I'm going to keep laughing anyway." lol

  4. This is a fascinating premise! Maybe even moreso than Silver Linings (which I haven't read yet either). Great review, Kelly!

  5. Ahhhh this sounds amazing. You have a way of making want to read EVERYTHING you enjoyed!

    1. Oh good, that means I'm doing my job! Haha.

  6. I've read none of his books... I didn't see Silver Linings Playbook either (I know, it's embarrassing) but this sounds kind of amazing. Ooooh the TBR pile is groaning under the weight of another book!

    1. Haha I know all about that groaning pile...

  7. I have not read this book yet. I actually like the book Silver Linings Playbook better than the movie.

    1. Ooooh good to know. I always wonder if it's worth reading the book when I already saw the movie, but I will if a lot of people tell me the book is way better.

  8. "the unusual ability to make you laugh while you contemplate the meaning of life." That is a very unusual and appealing quality! I'm looking forward to reading this book myself.

    Thanks for being on the tour.

    1. Hope you like it! Thanks for having me.

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