Review: The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick

This might be a total cliche, but this book is quirky and charming.

good luckIt also contains the most F-bombs per square inch of any book I’ve ever read.

I got this book from the library, choosing it because of its cover, which displays the title on a long ribbon which appears to be coming from a fortune cookie. I have a thing for fortune cookie fortunes. I keep them. I try to make sense of them. Someday I will create some kind of art piece with all my fortunes, I think.

Quick also wrote ‘Silver Linings Playbook,” which became a movie which gave Jennifer Lawrence an Oscar AND a Golden Globe for Best Actress, and saw many other nominations for the gold statuettes. Not to mention a ton of other awards and critical accolades. I have not personally read this book or seen this movie, but after reading The Good Luck of Right Now, I definitely plan to.

Bartholomew, our main character, tells the story through a series of letters to actor Richard Gere. See – I told you it was quirky! He believes his mother, in her final days, was calling him Richard Gere due to her dimentia and confusion. Gere was his mother’s favorite actor, and after her death, Bartholomew copes with his loss by writing. It’s unclear what Bartholomew’s deal is – but he seems to have lived a sheltered life under the care of his mother. Is he slightly mentally disabled? His writing is extremely intelligent and insightful, so that seems unlikely. Socially, he is isolated, so perhaps he suffers from Aspbergers or maybe just has not been allowed to interact with others because of his mother.

In any case, now that she is gone, Father McNamee, a priest with a penchant for whiskey, declares himself to be defrocked and comes to live with Bartholomew. He prays on his knees by day and drinks himself to sleep by night, waiting for Bartholomew to get a sign from God.

Bartholomew meets Max through his therapist, with whom he is meeting to get support from his mother’s death. Max is responsible for nearly all the F-bombs in the novel. His standard greeting seems to be ‘What the fuck, hey?” but he uses this phrase to express anger, wonderment, or just a lull in conversation. Then he uses the F word to pepper his sentences – liberally. On pages where Max is speaking a lot, I felt myself slowing down to try to navigate the F-bomb activity. Max is grieving the loss of his cat, and in fact, seems to be obsessed with cats.

That’s just a taste of what you’ll get when you read this book. At under 300 pages, you will be able to fly through the book. Its chapters are short, and have funny titles such as, “Sadly, I do not think I am telepathic” or “There were indeed patterns to the universe.”

Finally, the message you will take away from this novel: the good luck of right now. It’s Bartholomew’s mother’s theory that for every bad thing happens in the world, there is a good thing that happens – this balances out the world. What happens to us might not make sense at the time, and might not ever make sense. Taking into account the Buddhist beliefs of Richard Gere, Bartholomew tries to understand the chaos in his life through that lens.

Would definitely recommend this one, if you can handle all the f-bombs.

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