Review: The Silver Linings Playbook

The Silver Linings Playbook
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The Silver Linings Playbook

Warning: Small spoilers in some of the gifs.

If you were following my tweets on The Silver Linings Playbook, you may have noticed how much I struggled to keep up a witty commentary for this one (see poor attempt at humour above). In part, it was because the book was good; so good that I kept forgetting to come up for air, and would have quite happily drowned in it if it weren’t for you people (I joke, I joke). However, largely I struggled because I couldn’t bring myself to make light of what is a serious topic, and one that hit quite close to home.

That’s not to say that the novel itself isn’t amusing, but it certainly slips into the “black comedy” genre like the proverbial hand into a glove. Every laugh is accompanied by a wince, a pain,the silver linings playbook a “Honey, NO!” I became incredibly attached to Pat, with his child-like voice bringing out the mother-hen in me. It was jarring, to have someone talk about such adult topics as marital separation, with such childish vocabulary as “apart time”. On the other hand, that tone was part of what made Pat feel so well-rounded; as if losing a significant chunk of his adult memory, had somehow given him back the innocent optimism that makes children so resilient. It was a necessary part of him, and a necessary part of the book.

Silver Linings rang true in many ways. I recognised many of the secondary characters; the loving and over-protective, the The Silver Lingings Playbookuntrusting, the awkward and speechless. The novel shines a light on how we treat mental health patients and shouts, “Don’t be that guy!” Obviously, having a loved one with poor mental health, can be a difficult world to navigate, but it starts with talking. It starts with truth. It starts with providing help in whatever form necessary.

I was also struck by Pat’s concept of life as a series of movies. It was something that I had been thinking about on the day of my the silver linings playbookgraduation way back in July. It felt like the end of a movie, where I had run out of plot, and had nothing left to do but watch the credits role. Quick, however, has convinced me of the danger in this concept. If we live by a some secret self-made plot, then life becomes one long series of the same day; getting up, having breakfast, exercising, etc. etc., waiting for our story to start. It is only when Pat realises that life rarely works like this, that he can begin putting himself back together.

Ultimately, The Silver Linings Playbook is one of the few books I’ve read recently that actually kept me guessing, which means it automatically gets five stars from me. It is a heart-warming narrative of healing and acceptance. I would recommend this to anyone, but in particular, those suffering with mental illness, or those looking to find a better understanding of a friend, or family member with a mental illness. It may not give you 100% clarity, but The Silver Linings Playbook is a novel that knows scars don’t always fade completely, and that’s okay.

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3 Steps to Dealing with Rejection

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3 Steps to Dealing with Rejection

Rejection is taboo subject. Nobody likes to be rejected, so often people will try to pretend it’s not happened to them, and just ignore it. Most of the time, this is fine. Dealing with the odd “Sorry, I don’t see you that way,” or “We don’t think you have enough experience,” by shaking it off and getting on with life, is usually the way to go. However, if you’re dealing with a string of break-ups, or jobs you didn’t get, it can be hard not to internalise. So this week, I offer my 3 steps to dealing with rejection, with a little help from J.K.Rowling, one of the most successful rejects of all time.

1. Accept it – Acknowledge that you’ve been rejected. This can be hard, but if you’ve got your rejection in written form, read it deal with rejectionagain. Don’t look for subtext, take everything at face value. If you’ve been verbally rejected say the words in your head. Then take a breath, and say “Okay, no worries.”

2. Process it – Take some time to yourself. Don’t listen to music, just sit quietly. You want to find the silver lining (as deluded as he was, Pat had a point). If you didn’t get the job, then that’s because you weren’t suited to it; whether it be due to your skill level, or because you didn’t get along with the people. Remember, you don’t want to end up in a job you’re not deal with rejectionsuited to. If your crush turned you down for a date, then clearly they didn’t feel that same connection, and you want someone who’s as crazy about you, as you are about them. Then put this rejection into the context of your life. This can be hard to do if you’re younger, but as an adult, when I get rejected, I like to remind myself of the number of times that it’s happened to me. Then I think about the number of times it has happened to my friends and family. Rejection is something that happens every day, to everyone. Sure it can make you feel like crap at the time, but if my first love hadn’t rejected me, I never would have taken up archery, never would have met some of my closest friends, and I currently wouldn’t have anywhere to live. Ultimately, rejection will only take you bad places if you let it.

3. Forget it – Now that you’ve got a new perspective, it’s time to move on. Pick a new destination. It might be a new deal with rejectioncareer path or job application, taking up a new hobby, or trying online dating. it might be sending your novel to yet another publisher, because you got the faith! Use the rejection to make positive changes, and move on. The further you get, the smaller it will seem, then you can forget about it with ease.

I suppose the key for me is reminding myself that life leads to crazy places. Sometimes those places are not ideal, but most of the time they’re frigging incredible. You just have to keep going.

This weekend I will be uploading my latest review, and potentially starting a new novel, so keep an eye out. In the mean time, I’d like to know what do you guys do to ward off the blues? How do you deal with rejection?

Muchas amore, mes caru.

-Mort

Now Starting: The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick

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I’ve just got in from a massive book store rampage. Still figuring out which of these beauties to keep and which to give away in celebration of reaching 100 followers! So for now, I’m going to sink my teeth into something new. Join me over on @EMLetsRead now!

The First for the Shelf

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I’ve decided to create a new rule:

If I can’t bring myself to read a novel for over a month, then that novel get’s shelved and I move on.

So unfortunately, Welcome to Sharonville by Sharon Zink, is going to be the first on that shelf.

What started off as a hopeful but clunky piece of fiction, didn’t get any stronger, and there is only so long a reader can hang on. Honestly, what finally pushed me over the edge was the description of an attractive doctor’s thumbs as “hamsters” peeping out of his pockets. It just reminds me of something I would have written in the first year of my degree, and suggests poor judgement and sloppy editing.

That being said, I was quite fond of some of the characters, and may come back to this novel when I have more time. However, at the moment I’m searching for work and writing pretty much constantly, so I need to be reading for pleasure. And that means reading something that won’t irrationally irritate me with me with hamsters.

So, as of tomorrow, Sharonville will be shelved, and I’ll be starting The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, which I’ve been gagging to read since it arrived months ago.