Author: Matthew Quick
Genre: general fiction
Published: February 11 2014
Source: ARC from TLC Book Tours for review
Call it fate. Call it synchronicity. Call it an act of God. Call it . . . The Good Luck of Right Now. From the New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook comes an entertaining and inspiring tale that will leave you pondering the rhythms of the universe and marveling at the power of kindness and love.
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.
Chances are, if you're a bookishly-inclined sort of person, that you've heard of Matthew Quick sometime in the last year. Whether it was concerning his book-turned-movie The Silver Linings Playbook or his heart-wrenching novel Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, Quick is becoming known for his unique characters, strong storylines, and his ability to effectively capture different voices in different genres. His work is immediately identifiable in the vein of John Green: quirky characters who act out an unlikely, but fun and occasionally touching, plot. Through even the most outlandish roadtrip I've ever read, Quick manages to imbue heart into his characters and story from start to finish.
The Good Luck of Right Now is a different sort of book, much like how Bartholomew Neil is a very different kind of protagonist. At times, both the narration and Barty felt... overly quirky to me. I like a character who stands out, but Bartholomew definitely takes the cake for being a memorable character. I can see it/his general Bartholomew-ness being too much for some readers, but Quick reins it in when it's needed. It also helps that as you keep reading and adjust to his unique worldview and perception, Bart grows on you. His voice and inner monologue take an adjustment initially, but it's impossible not to warm to this naive but sheltered man when you start to understand how he thinks and acts.
When I say that The Good Luck of Right Now boasts the oddest roadtrip story I have ever read please know that is totally earnest and true. Somehow, Quick rounds up a group of characters - from a profanity-loving cat enthusiast, to a defrocked bipolar Catholic priest, to a Girlbrarian who was abducted by aliens - and takes them on a trip to Canada, to see "Cat Parliament" and meet Bartholomew's father. It sounds ridiculous, and it is. But so is real life, and Quick captures the feel of really living, experiencing with these characters. And despite the outlandish nature of the trip and its travellers , it's also endearing, sweet, and honestly funny.
These struggling people, whom a lot would call "damaged goods" forge friendship and family together in the messiest, most believable way. The Good Luck of Right Now can sometimes trade on the merit of the obvious parables (differences should be celebrated/normal has no meaning if we are all the same), but when Quick delves into his characters and makes you care so much about them, well that's when the book really shines.
Tuesday, February 11th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Wednesday, February 12th: A Reader of Fictions
Thursday, February 13th: Chronicles …
Friday, February 14th: Ageless Pages Reviews
Monday, February 17th: A Bookish Way of Life
Tuesday, February 18th: Bibliotica
Wednesday, February 19th: A Bookworm’s World
Thursday, February 20th: Man of La Book
Monday, February 24th: The Well-Read Redhead
Tuesday, February 25th: A Librarian’s Library
Wednesday, February 26th: BoundbyWords
Thursday, February 27th: Drey’s Library
Monday, March 3rd: Kritters Ramblings
Tuesday, March 4th: Books à la Mode
Wednesday, March 5th: Snowdrop Dreams of Books
Thursday, March 6th: The Avid Reader
Monday, March 10th: In Bed with Books
Tuesday, March 11th: Oh! Paper Pages