The Silver Linings Playbook
A Novel, Movie Tie-in Edition
by Matthew Quick
Sarah Crichton Books
A heartwarming debut novel, soon to be a major movie by David O. Russell
“Aawww shucks!” NPR's Nancy Pearl said. “I know that’s hardly a usual way to begin a book review, but it was my immediate response to finishing Matthew Quick’s heartwarming, humorous and soul-satisfying first novel . . . This book makes me smile.”
Meet Pat Peoples. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure him a happy ending—the return of his estranged wife, Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent several years in a mental health facility.) The problem is, Pat’s now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he’s being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he’s being haunted by Kenny G!
David O. Russell, the Oscar-nominated director of The Fighter, is helming his own adaptation of The Silver Linings Playbook. Due in theaters this Thanksgiving, the movie features Bradley Cooper (People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive) in the role of Pat, alongside Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Julia Stiles, Chris Tucker, and Jacki Weaver. As the award-winning novelist Justin Cronin put it: “Tender, soulful, hilarious, and true, The Silver Linings Playbook is a wonderful debut.”
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1. How does the book redefine happy endings? What makes Pat so determined to believe that every
cloud has a silver lining?
2. As Pat heals from his brain injuries and trauma, in what ways is he sometimes more mentally stable than his family and friends? Is his optimism—combined with his belief that God is a filmmaker—
a sign of his sanity? How was your reading affected by the fact that the “bad place” was
a neural health facility rather than a psychiatric hospital?
3. Discuss the relationships Pat and Jake have with their father, Patrick Senior. What does their
father teach them about being a man? Why is it so hard for him to show emotion?
4. How does Cliff use the Eagles’ playbook to teach Pat about the real world? How do the Eagles
bring unity to Pat’s family? What makes Hank Baskett the ideal rookie to serve as Pat’s inspiration?
5. In “A Hive Full of Green Bees,” what does Pat discover about himself during the violent incident
with the Giants fan (Steve)? How did you feel about Jake while he was taunting Steve?
6. What keeps Pat’s obsession with Nikki alive? What does Cliff ultimately help him understand
about the nature of love and attraction?
7. Tiffany and Pat’s mother, Jeanie, have different approaches to his recovery. Tiffany believes that
direct confrontation is best; Jeanie wants to protect Pat from anything that might upset him, including
his brother’s marriage to Caitlin. Which approach is better?
8. How did your impressions of Nikki and Tiffany shift throughout the novel?
9. Did Dance Away Depression have any healing effect on Pat? What did Tiffany want him to hear
when she chose “Total Eclipse of the Heart” as their song?
10. What role does Danny play, along with Aunt Jasmine, in rescuing Pat emotionally on Christmas
Day? When have you had a similar encounter with a friend who appeared at exactly the right
11. How did you react when Pat finally remembers why Kenny G pushes him over the edge? What
does his trauma have in common with Tiffany’s?
12. Discuss Pat’s take on literature, particularly The Scarlet Letter, The Bell Jar, The Adventures of
Huckleberry Finn, and The Catcher in the Rye. How does his approach to literature change as his
worldview changes? What would it be like to have Pat as a member of your book club?
13. In “An Acceptable Form of Coping,” Cliff and Pat disagree about whether sad books should be
required reading for students. Pat says that such books teach kids to be pessimistic. Cliff says, “Life is hard, Pat, and children have to be told how hard life can be . . . so they will be sympathetic
to others.” What’s your opinion? What books were you drawn to when you were younger?
14. Discuss the book’s closing scene. How has The Silver Linings Playbook inspired you in your
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"Matthew Quick has created quite the heartbreaker of a novel in The Silver Linings Playbook."
from the Kirkus First 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 of In 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 experience—the 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 of Mary and O'Neil and The 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. Quick—and the beginning, I hope, of a big career."
Dave King, author of The Ha-Ha