Susanita (bardhlul) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Book 4 - The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick

Call it fate Call it synchronicity Call it an act of God Call it . . . The Good Luck of Right Now For thirty-eight years, Bartholomew Neil has lived with his mother. When she gets sick and dies, he has no idea how to be on his own. His redheaded grief counselor, Wendy, says he needs to find his flock and leave the nest. But how does a man whose whole life has been grounded in his mom, Saturday Mass, and the library learn how to fly? Bartholomew thinks he's found a clue when he discovers a "Free Tibet" letter from Richard Gere hidden in his mother's underwear drawer. In her final days, Mom called him Richard--there must be a cosmic connection. Believing that the actor is meant to help him, Bartholomew awkwardly starts his new life by writing Richard Gere a series of letters. Jung and the Dalai Lama, philosophy and faith, alien abduction and cat telepathy, the Catholic Church and the mystery of women, are all explored in his soul-baring epistles. But mostly the letters reveal one man's heartbreakingly earnest attempt to assemble a family of his own. A struggling priest, a "Girlbrarian," her feline-loving, foulmouthed brother, and the spirit of Richard Gere join the quest to help Bartholomew. In a rented Ford Focus, they travel to Canada to see the Cat Parliament and find Bartholomew's biological father . . . and discover so much more.

This book was on my library's adult reading list last summer, and I thought it looked ... interesting. The same author also wrote Silver Linings Playbook which I never read but did see the movie, and I detected some similarities between the stories. The setting is Philadelphia, and there is a strong focus on mental illness and grief. Like the previous book I read this year, it left me a little cold. The gimmick of the correspondence with Richard Gere got a bit tiresome, and it strained credulity to think that our hero would have time to write these long letters in the midst of living the events he was describing. Perhaps I missed the point. The characters are not particularly endearing, least of all Bartholomew's "professional" therapist who seems especially clueless, but the story itself is worthwhile. There is a twist that I should have seen coming from a mile away but only saw coming about 100 feet away, and it does serve its purpose to tie up the loose ends.
Tags: fiction, mental health

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