Date Read: August 8 to 13, 2017
Rating: 5 (of 5) stars
I very much enjoyed this book. It has been awhile since I initially read it, so please forgive me for bouncing some of my commentary off of input and opinions of others. At this point, I think that’s the really the best way for me to frame my thoughts in this instance. Browsing through the top reviews on Goodreads, it seems that one of the most popular descriptions used is “fun,” which I find… interesting. I suppose I can see it, a bit. There are definitely some fun elements in the book, but that would not be my first inclination. Easy read? Sure. Funny? Definitely. But not quite haha funny, more dark comedy funny. Someone else called it “the adult Perks of Being a Wallflower.” I’m definitely more on board with that description, but still not quite there.
If I am going to boil this down into a simple statement, I will say that this book is depressingly hopeful. That doesn’t sound quite right though. Hopefully depressing? No, that’s not it either. Depressing and hopeful? I’m having a hard time hitting on the exact right words. I suppose part of that is that I think Quick did an incredible job of making these characters real.
The majority of this book contains really depressing material. Pat is obviously a mess, but is trying to put things back together with the outlook of a hopeless optimist. It’s pretty obvious to the reader that his expectations are unrealistic, but such is life. I love that we get to see two sides of his therapist– not just as a doctor, but as a real person! It’s like when you’re in elementary school, and it never occurs to anyone that teachers do anything other than live at school. Tiffany, too, is a mess, but not quite in the same way as Pat. At moments, she seems more self aware, but perhaps too far into the spectrum of pessimism. But she’s not quite a pessimist either, as we can see in her passion for the dance competition. The plot was good, a bit predictable as to where it was heading, but there were sufficient twists along the way to keep things interesting.
I suppose I should wrap this up before I give too much away. The ending was fitting for the story. I can understand why some readers were a bit frustrated with it, seemingly a bit anti-climactic. However, I think that fits with the realness of the characters. Life does not generally wrap things up nicely like in the movies. Throughout the the book, Pat tells us about the movie of his life. The ending is the final reminder that this is not, in fact, a movie. This is Pat’s real life.
Boris’s thoughts: “Good for long stretches on the couch. 4 paws!”