The Good Luck of Right Now
I picked up Matthew Quick's new novel, The Good Luck of Right Now, because I enjoyed the academy awarding film, The Silver Linings Playbook, which Quick also wrote. Good Luck shares some similarities with the film; each presents characters that have a tenuous grasp on good mental health--or have, at least, poor coping skills--and they fall in love with equally eccentric partners and live more or less happily, ever after.
Bartholomew Neil is a late thirties guy who's lived with his mother his whole life. He's socially reclusive, never been employed, and can't drive a car. Suddenly, his mother dies and Bartholomew must begin to sort out the challenges of living independently. Along the way, he's helped by an alcoholic, bi-polar priest who's renounced his vows, a forty year old man who's most important relationship has been with a cat, and a deeply wounded woman who may or may not have been abducted by aliens.
This admittedly unpromising plot is further complicated by the novel's structure. Each chapter is comprised of a letter to the Hollywood actor Richard Gere. In these letters, Bartholomew discusses Carl Jung and the Dalai Lama, telepathy, synchronicity, faith and philosophy, and the best strategies for dealing with women. Much of his one sided correspondence with Gere focuses on the trouble 'normal' people have coping with, and accepting people on the fringe: the eccentric, the mentally ill, the absurdly individualistic. These 'letters' are summaries of his adventures in the world with the priest, the cat man, and the wounded woman.
Quick is best known as the writer of juvenile fiction. As such, his prose style is easy, unfussy, and accessible. You'll find The Good Luck of Right Now fun to read and, at it's heart, a celebration of kindness, family, and the joy of just getting by. Available at our public libraries, Amazon, and better bookstores.