By Matthew Quick
Available now from Harper (HarperCollins)
Read my review of Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
THE GOOD LUCK OF RIGHT NOW is Matthew Quick's first adult novel since 2008's THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK. Now, I am a huge fan of his young adult novels, which are just as unconventional and challenging. But I am happy to see him returning to a story about adults, because Quick isn't the kind of writer to be boxed into writing about one thing.
Bartholomew Neil had a codependent relationship with his mother, who died recently. Now almost forty, Bartholomew is struggling to make friends his own age and to ask a woman on a date. While my life doesn't resemble Bartholomew's at all, it is a struggle I connected with. It can be really hard to meet people if you aren't in school or don't work for a big company.
Bartholomew's story is told through a series of letters written to Richard Gere. Why Richard Gere? Because his mother had a letter from him about Tibet in one of her drawers, and she called Bartholomew "Richard" while she was in the hospital. He researched Gere and his Buddhism and activism as a result, and feels a connection to the actor - that connection he's struggling to make with people in real life. It sounds incredibly off-putting as a narrative choice, but it works on the page.
The people in Bartholomew's life at the beginning of THE GOOD LUCK OF RIGHT NOW include Father MacNamee, his life-long priest, and Wendy, his grief counselor. They don't always have the same ideas about how to best help him move on and start his own life. Along the way, he meets a foul-mouthed man grieving for his cat and the man's sister, both of whom could become new family for Bartholomew.
Quick's standard touches are in play. The dysfunctional characters are not scorned at, but treated with compassion. Everything is filtered through Bartholomew's point of view, which is somewhat naive, so sometimes it's hard to completely grasp the other characters. There are lots of questions about coincidence, coping, just living life.
THE GOOD LUCK OF RIGHT NOW is a quick read, but a thought-provoking one. It's not my favorite of Quick's books, but that's a touch competition. It will definitely appeal to fans of THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK (book or movie version).