Let me get this out of the way. I love Jennifer Lawrence. LOVE HER. But she was NOT Tiffany. Not by a long shot. I don’t care if she won awards for this role. She was never the image of Tiffany in my head as I was reading this book. Bradley Cooper, however, was. (But really, I am a JLaw fan. I just have very, VERY mixed feelings about her acting and role choices.)
I wasn’t much of a fan of the movie. I never quite got on with it. Nothing clicked for me. Reading the book is a different story. Imagine yourself running… you know, it can be a light jog or running a marathon. You start out slow, warming up, and then steadily picking up speed. Now, imagine running with a partner; the partner being the protagonist, Pat Peoples. You start jogging in place and with a push of a foot, you’re off to a direction Pat has set.
That’s what I felt when I started reading this book. Pat Peoples is a 30-something who recently got out of a mental health facility he calls the “bad place”. He’s been in there for quite some time and in those months (years?) he completely changed his lifestyle and physical appearance. He learns about “silver linings” and how life is like a movie… everybody gets their happy endings. His happy ending comes at the end of “apart time” with his wife, Nikki. But when he gets back home, trying to settle back into normal life, his friends and family are walking on eggshells around him. Since we’re seeing these situations unfold through Pat’s eyes, we have no idea what’s going on either. Think Being John Malkovich.
On this run, we meet Tiffany. She is just about as messed up as Pat, if not more. But two negatives make a positive. In her own twisted way, she helps Pat out of his funk by inviting him to be her dance partner. The song? Total Eclipse of the Heart. I admit, I lip-synched to this song many times on my breaks from reading. I love this song. And the lyrics sort of fit their situations. Eclipse = in the dark; every now and then I fall apart = psychotic episodes. Yakno’.
I liked the other characters also. They seemed so supportive of Pat and wanted him to succeed. As the reader, I wanted that also. But Pat’s dad is an asshole. There, I said it. Yeah, I know he was hurting but I think it’s more because his football team wasn’t doing well rather than actually feeling for his son. Throughout the book, I felt that he was ashamed of Pat and was too macho to accept that he wasn’t the son he wanted Pat to be. He is as mental as the other crazies in the book.
I love that Pat remains rather positive throughout the story. He definitely holds on to those silver linings, that one day, his storms will disappear and he will get his life (and Nikki) back. But eventually, he learns to accept that things changed in the time that he was in the “bad place” and they will never be the same again.
It reads like a playbook of life. It’s like daily scenes of a person’s life. A diary. A movie screenplay. How I wish the movie stayed close to the book. They even changed the song, damnit. Meh, I’ll just share with you guys the best interpretation of Total Eclipse of the Heart in the form of dance.
This is one of those books/movies where it doesn’t matter which one you check out first. The differences between them almost make it seem like two different stories. If you read the book first, don’t expect the exact Dance Away Depression scene. If you watched the movie first like I did, forget about the casting; it will only confuse you. But I still loved it. The Silver Linings Playbook is funny and very human. Pat Peoples is just a normal guy that was dealt a bad card and is trying to get his life back. It is frank and real and heartwarming. You will root for Pat from the first step to the last.