Once I’ve seen the film I told myself that I also have to read the book and so I did. I’ve just finished it (a few minutes ago actually) and I can say that the movie is great and is by far one of the best movies made after a book I have ever seen.
Most of the times I’m not pleased about the films because it’s very difficult to condense in just 2 hours or so an entire book but here I can sincerely say that the book doesn’t offer too many details left aside the film.
So, here’s the trailer of the movie too:
Okay….the book is all about the silver linings, all about Nikki (the main character’s ex wife) and the reunion he so much wishes to take place, about the Eagles playing, about people trying to find themselves, about staying positive, about therapy, about love in a weird manner.
Pat Peoples is the fucked-up guy who spends 4 years in a mental hospital which he calls „the bad place”. His mother takes him out of that place and brings him home to live with her and his father. He doesn’t remember how much time has passed since he has left the real world believing it all happened just some months ago. He desperately wants to get back with his ex-wife who he really loves even if he doesn’t remember anything about their separation and everything that triggered it. He wants to become a better man and a better husband and tries to be kind to all the people around him. He works out a lot – in a way, working out is another obssesion he creates in order to get Nikki back . He also has to look good and lose the weight he had in the past for Nikki’s sake. Then he meets Tiffany and the story really unfolds.
The book is full of Eagles’ fans and their matches. I don’t know much about the Eagles and what they’re playing but really now, if their fans are like the ones described in this book I have nothing more to add than „Go, Eagles!”. Pat’s dad lives his life according to the way the team plays and his relationships with the ones near him are according to the scores the Eagles get…so yes, this team is a big deal in this book. It’s actually a character in itself.
Okay, I have to add that Robert DeNiro playing Pat’s father is the best choice the director could have done. They really needed a grumpy men who can’t communicate properly with his family.
Tiffany, on the other hand, is as fucked-up as Pat is. The difference is she’s more into the real world and probably she doesn’t believe in silver linings the way he does. Her story is sad and more impressive than that of Pat. I liked her a lot mainly because she doesn’t use many words and their relationship builds itself in this comfortable silence. Of course, more things happen on the way but I’m not going to tell them all here as I don’t want to spoil the rest of the book if you want to also read it…or watch the film, for the same matter.
Going into some of the details of the book I have to say that I loved the way in which Pat spoke about the novels he read in order to impress Nikki. His ex-wife was an English teacher so that he decided it would be good for him if he just read the entire American literature syllabus she taught at school so that when „apart time” would be over he would be able to drop some knowledge now and then in order to impress Nikki.
His visions about the novels are frank and naive. He is naive as well, in a kind way that makes you smile.
„When I read about the actual story- how Gatsby loves Daisy so much but can’t ever be with her no matter how hard he tries- I feel like ripping the book in half and calling up Fitzgerald and telling him his book is all wrong, even though I know Fitzgerald is probably deceased. Especially when Gatsby is shot dead in his swimming pool the first time he goes for a swim all summer, Daisy doesn’t even go to his funeral, Nick and Jordan part ways, and Daisy ends up sticking with racist Tom, whose need for sex basically murders an innocent woman, you can tell Fitzgerald nerver took the time to look up at clouds during the sunset, because there’s no silver lining at the end of that book, let me tell you.”
„I know we were assigned Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter back in the high school, and if had known the book was filled with so much sex and espionage, I might have read it when I was sixteen (…) But I did realize that no one really appreciated Hester for who she was until it was too late. When she needed help most, she was abandoned- and only when she offered help to others was she beloved. This sort of suggests that it is important to appreciate the good women in your life before it’s too late, which is a pretty good message to give high school kids. I wish my high school teahcer had taught me that lesson, because I certainly would have treated Nikki differently when we first married.”
He also read The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath:
Esther loses her vrginity, hemorrhages during the process, and almost bleeds to death- like Catherine in A Farewell to Arms– and I do wonder why women are always hemorrhaging in American literature.
I actually rip the book in half and throw the two halves at my bedroom wall.
Some excerps from his talks with Cliff, his therapist:
„Do you like foreign films?”
I hate those types of films.
Me too, Cliff says. Mostly because-
No happy endings.
Exactly, Cliff says, pointing a brown finger at my face. So depressing most of the time.”
„She’s just a weird woman, I say in response.
Aren’t they all? Cliff replies.”
At the end of the post I will add a song, Kenny G’s Songbird that makes Pat go wild and mad everytimes he listens to it or hears people talking about it. You have to read the book if you want to find out why! 😉
P.S. if you’re not much the reading type you can only watch the movie. 😉 I can make ammends this time when it comes to watching a movie without reading the book first or…afterwards. The movie is excellent.