About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick – My older son, Jonathan, had raved to me about the book saying that he and his girlfriend had loved it. I expressed polite interest. Undismayed he sent the book to me as a Father’s Day present.

I was drawn in by the end of the first page and raced through the book. Pat Peoples narrates the story in an engaging style.

Pat is in a mental institution, Collingwood, sometimes described as a neural health facility in the book. Pat simply calls it the bad place.

(We live in an age that has chosen obfuscation rather than description. Statutes dealing with mental health problems have undergone great changes in Saskatchewan over the 37 years I have been a lawyer. When I began practising law mentally ill people were dealt with under The Lunacy Act.  A few years later it was The Mentally Disordered Persons Act. It then became The Dependant Adults Act. Currently I deal with The Adult Guardianship and Co-decision-Making Act. Whether the changes of name for the statute have benefited the mentally ill I have no comment. Certainly you can no longer determine the purpose of the Act from its name.)

Pat’s mother, Jeannie, offers him the chance to come home and he thinks:

I don’t want to stay in the bad place, where no one believes in silver linings or love or happy endings, and where everyone tells me Nikki will not like my new body, nor will she even want to see me when apart time is over. But I am also afraid the people from my old life will not be as enthusiastic as I am now trying to be.

Nikki was Pat’s wife when he was institutionalized and his goal in life is to be reunited.

Pat returns home. Convinced Nikki will want to be with him if he loses excess weight and becomes fit he obsessively weight trains and runs every day.

Life is challenging with his father, Patrick, isolating himself from the family and uninterested in talking with Pat.

At the same time Jeanie's love and patience with Pat is inspiring.

His friend, Ronnie, and Ronnie’s wife, Veronica, introduce him to her sister, Tiffany, who is also living with her parents and struggling with her own mental health issues. While far from encouraging her Pat finds Tiffany joining him on his long daily runs.

Wanting to improve himself as a person, Pat practises being kind.

His therapist, Cliff Patel, is remarkable at putting Pat at ease while he draws out Pat’s emotional turmoil and desperate desire to be better.

As Pat tries to resume life outside the bad place the passion of the Peoples’ men and the residents of Philadelphia for Philadelphia Eagles football brings Pat back into his family and community. They do not judge him as a recent mental patient. He is a fellow Eagles fan.

Quick evokes the emotional bonds of sports fans as well as anyone has ever written about them. Living in Saskatchewan where Rider Pride draws our province together I could vividly relate to the joys and sorrows of the Eagles fans. Even readers uninterested in sports must be stirred by the devotion to the Eagles.

Quick has created a wonderful character and voice in Pat who has returned to the innocence and simple intensity of youth. Yet Pat struggles with his return to the real world. He hallucinates. He has emotional outbursts that can be violent and self-destructive. He cannot recall lost years.

I found myself anxious to know whether this broken young man, so convinced there are silver linings in the clouds of his life, could recover his mental well being.

Having read the book I am now eager to watch the movie made from the book for which Jennifer Lawrence won the 2013 Oscar for Best Actress.

It is a book to be read when life is grim and dark clouds are all around and you need some silver linings in your life.  

I will no longer doubt Jonathan if he highly recommends a book to me. (July 6/13)


  1. Bill - Thanks for posting about this. I can recommend the film, although I'll confess I've not yet read the book, so I don't know how true it stays to the book. Still, I think it was excellent. Now I must read the book, I think...

  2. Bill, thanks, indeed, for reviewing this inspiring book. I didn't know about it though I knew about the Bradley Cooper film.

  3. I liked this book very much, Bill, and the film too in a different way - I very much agree with you.

  4. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I hope you read the book. Not a mystery but a very good book.

  5. Prashant: I hope a copy of the book finds its way into the shops of your city. I believe you would enjoy it.

  6. Moira: Thanks for the comment. Saying you enjoyed the movie in a different way has further encouraged me to look up the movie.