Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick

Bartholomew Neil is thirty-eight years old and has always lived with his mother until she passes away from cancer. Left with his grief and really no strong emotional ties left in his life, Bartholomew strikes up a sort of imaginary mail correspondence with Richard Gere--his mother's hero. He does seek counseling from a student who encourages him to make some goals for his life such as "going out and having a beer with a friend."

Bartholomew's letters are full of the events of his life and the things that happen in his therapy as well as details of his internal life and thoughts. Like all of Quick's protagonists he's quirky and gentle and good hearted even if he is what we would strongly consider in the mainstream to be " a loser!"

Bartholomew makes some new friends and tries to help others to varying results. He ponders the things that Richard Gere holds important in his fight for Tibet and how they relate to life. And he seeks answers to some of the biggest questions in his own life.

I guess this is an epistolary novel, but it's all one sided--Richard Gere doesn't write back!

I really enjoyed it and sometimes I feel like a broken record but it's for many of the same reasons I have loved Quick's other books. They are gentle and good-hearted. EW said the book aimed to please more than explore any real pathos, which sort of made me think they just wanted to gape openly at how weird people can be. But...what I appreciate about Quick's books and what I think makes them stand out is that instead of counting people out, he includes them. No one is somehow less than human for whatever burdens they carry, everyone has their own charm and contributions to make. There is never any situation that is hopeless or any life story that is not worth telling. There's a kind of hope in all of that alone.

So...if you like offbeat characters and gentle humor than I think you'd enjoy The Good Luck of Right Now.

(Please note there is excessive profanity due to the way one character talks...I haven't included things you might want to know in a while, but it is pretty excessive in this book)


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