The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick
I picked up this book because the cover had a picture of a cat and the description mentioned something about talking to cats. That, and because I really enjoyed Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock (book) and Silver Linings Playlist (movie), also by Matthew Quick. I like how Quick tends to portray characters with mental health issues, and Good Luck was no different. Unfortunately, I had a much harder time getting into this story than the previous two, and I was misled on the cat front.
Bartholomew Neil is a 39-year-old man whose mother has just died from brain cancer, and, as taking care of his mom is all he’s ever known, now he’s a bit lost. After finding a form letter sent by his mother’s favorite actor, Richard Gere, Bartholomew decides to confide in the actor, seeing it as a sign, and writes him a series of letters, which was an interesting format with which to tell the story, and one I enjoyed.
The philosophical messages and theories presented in this novel are thought-provoking and inspiring, and I enjoyed Bartholomew’s attempt to connect with Richard Gere by quoting the Dalai Lama to him. I also liked how he called his crush the “Girlbrarian” and, of course, his friend Max, who can “speak to cats’.
The idea of The Good Luck of Right Now, his mother’s philosophy on life, is that for every bad thing that happens, something good happens to someone else, so to relish the bad things. As someone who tries to see the bright side in everything, I really love that.
The characters are eccentric and interesting, and most suffer from some form of mental health issue. Bartholomew, though it never states it outright, seems to reside somewhere on the Autism spectrum, the Girlbrarian went through a traumatic ordeal she’s still processing, Father McNabee is bipolar, and Max is in grief counseling over his dead cat; they’re a band of misfits who find one another when they most need it. I think it is important to raise awareness of mental health issues and I love when authors use it in stories not to make a character quirky or problematic but to highlight it, and Quick does it well.
That being said, they’re almost too much. It’s too much quirk, not enough real.
The problems was that I just didn’t enjoy it all that much. I had a hard time relating to Bartholomew (which was probably intentional, as he is most likely on the Spectrum), and it just wasn’t that captivating. It didn’t help that I started this book on audiobook, and the person reading it was very slow and made Bartholomew sound very slow (mentally) as well, and I had a hard time listening to him without getting distracted. I even tried speeding it up, but that just sounded weird. I switched over to ebook about halfway through, and found the pace much faster, but still didn’t love reading it.