Friday, 12 September 2014

The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick

The Good Luck of Right Now 

 “The universe hiccups, and we poor fools try to figure out why.”

Considering that I do no read a lot of 'contemporary fiction' and tend to stick mostly with the 'classics' or underground cult novels, I honestly don't remember what compelled me to pick up The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick. Although, I'm pretty sure boredom played a factor in my decision or was it the simple, yet expressive cover with the fortune cookie? Dunno.

The book was on display at the library with a bunch of other "popular reads" picked by library staff members and I suppose it could have been the blurb on the front cover that says "From the Bestselling Author of The Silver Linings Playbook" that sold me. Granted, I have never seen the movie adaptation with Jennifer Lawrence even though it has been highly praised by critics and recommended to be on numerous occasions. Regardless, having read this book back in March, my memory is a little hazy concerning specific plot details but I certainly recall being very disappointed. Matthew Quick's twee writing style never really gelled with me, the story rudimentary, predictable; the quirkiness overdone to the point of self-parody. If you are going to write a story about an underdog type character on a journey of self-discovery, they best be sympathetic. The author failed to give me any reason to care at all.

The story takes on an epistolary form, written entirely in letters to the famous actor Richard Gere by a 40-year old man-child named Bartholomew (Simpsons reference?) who suffers from some kind of mental condition--never really specified, but it is most likely some kind of bi-polar deficiency. Richard Gere never actually responds to Bart so the letters basically serve as a helpful method of self-reflection especially for someone who has difficulty with expressing his thoughts in a coherent manner and socializing with others. He has lived a sheltered life, nurtured and taken care of by his mother but when she dies from cancer, Bart finds himself in a troubling situation because now he has to step out alone into the scary world. He meets a bunch of other quirky friends who decide to help him out and at one point they go on a road to trip to Ottawa (much needed bonus points awarded to Mr. Quick for including Canada in his story).  For those who are unfamiliar with Canadian geography, Ottawa is our capital, the Prime Minster's main residence and Parliament Hill is the political epicenter of the city where government officials run the country. Bart and his friends decide to visit Ottawa not because they wish to see Canadian politicians in action but in search of his father. They also stop and check out the historical site of Parliamentary Cats that actually used to exist. It was a large sanctuary for roaming cats who lived on the government grounds. Pretty cool. Shame that it is closed down.

Despite my indifference, this book is a light, quick read and easy enough to get through without any difficulty. Too bad it suffers from long stretches of dullness and rendered insubstantial with very little redeeming qualities. The Good Luck of Right Now wasn't for me and it's doubtful I will pick up anything else by this author anytime soon.

1 comment:

  1. It's interesting you read Bartholomew as having bipolar; I read him as having a form of autism. I liked the detail about Cat Parliament but I found the constant use of swearing a bit cliche. The film for a Silver Lining Playbook is well worth a watch too, it's less cliche than this book.