Good evening lovely readers, another day another review. Technical difficulties on Tuesday nearly ruined my streak of reviews per day but with a little bit of luck all things are running smoothly once again. I was just leaving the library with a stack of books under my arm when I saw this and decided to add it to the pile. I’ve been meaning to see the film for a little while now but preference for reading books before seeing the films has caused me to put that on hold. Seeing it advertised I couldn’t help myself and picked up the copy. I’m really glad I did although I wasn’t quite sure how to review this book so I’m hoping I do it justice.
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. Follow Pat on his journey of self-discovery, love, tears and overall a burning feeling of hope.
“Life is hard … some people have it harder than [others] do and a trip through this world can be a wildly different experience, depending on what chemicals are raging through one’s mind.” The book, as described above’ follows Pat Peoples who’s had a little wobble in his life. Spending the last few years in a mental health facility, currently being on ‘apart time’ from the love of his life and wife Nikki, and failing to remember how it all went so badly wrong, things aren’t going to brilliantly. Struggling constantly to repair his physical appearance and reconstruct relationships with his family and friends, notably his father, Pat’s reappearance in reality is taking its toll. As he continues to reconnect with his old life, including his avid love of the Philadelphia Eagles and his utter hatred of Kenny G, he meets another lost soul Tiffany. Recently unemployed, widowed and seeking help from a therapist the two form an unlikely friendship. The book follows the two as they seek companionship and confidence from each other and find themselves again.
I wasn’t sure what to think when I started this book; the writing style has a feel of ‘the curious incident of the dog in the night-time,’ and to begin with it didn’t sit too well with me. However as I kept reading page after page I fell in love with the slightly childish bumbling writing style of the darling Pat. The book is overall very quirky and it moves with a lot of pace but also with care whilst dealing with the struggles of mental illness and the effects it has on the individuals loved ones. The plot uses a small number of characters, which means each is extensively built up in terms of profiling. Pat is constantly re-evaluating his life based on his previous actions with Nikki and trying to be a better and kinder person. He decides on each action very deliberately and his childlike persona makes him both loveable and utterly frustrating, but in a wonderful way. Tiffany is blunt and blisteringly honest. She is unafraid to say or do what she thinks is right. At the start I didn’t like her but as the story ran its course I thought she was also brilliant and the way that she contrasts with Pat really makes for a wonderful contrast of personality traits.
I think what I loved most about this book is that each of the characters is flawed in different ways and yet Pat is continually striving for the silver lining; the perfect movie ending. He doesn’t seem to see that the silver lining of his illness is the construction of a ring of people that love him despite his flaws. There doesn’t have to be a ride into the sunset moment because it’s already there. It’s a rather wonderful concept and after I finished the book I felt a really wonderful feeling of calm. This book is about the journey rather than the ending; it’s about finding yourself when everything seems a little lost and learning that life will always throw things at you no matter how you act, it’s how you then react that dictates our happiness.
I think the best thing to say is get a copy and give it a read; I have no idea how this will transcribe into film or whether it will be as good or better. I will let you know when I finally snuggle down to watch it. This story is warming and honest, deals with incredibly sensitive issues in an understanding and darkly humorous way. It will make you think and in the end it will leave you wanting more.