I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Good Luck Of Right Now by Matthew Quick
Also by this author: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, Love May Fail, Every Exquisite Thing
Published by Harper Collins on February 11th 2014
Genres: Fiction, General
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For almost four decades, Bartholomew Neil has done nothing but live with his mom. When she begins calling him Richard—for reasons unknown—and then dies, Bartholomew is woefully unprepared.”
A clue comes in the form of a “Free Tibet” letter he finds in his mother’s underwear drawer, and so Bartholomew awkwardly starts his new life, writing Richard Gere a series of highly intimate fan letters. Jung’s theory of synchronicity, the mystery of women, the Dalai Lama’s teachings, alien abduction, cat telepathy and the Catholic Church are all explored in depth by Bartholomew’s epistles—but mostly the letters outline one man’s heartbreakingly earnest attempt to assemble a family of his own.
A struggling priest, a “girlbrarian,” her foul-mouthed brother and Richard Gere (well, sort of) join the quest. In a rented Ford Focus, they travel to Canada in search of Bartholomew’s biological father and end up finding so much more.
I am such an obnoxious fan of Matthew Quick’s work. I’ve yet to read a book by Quick that I do not like. The Good Luck Of Right Now contains all the hallmarks of Quick’s other works. There’s mental illness. There’s a Philadelphia setting. There’s characters who are a bit odd. The story definitely is off the beaten path. However, I enjoyed just about every minute of this book — even if it is a bit different from my typical sort of read.
The Good Luck Of Right Now is an adult fiction book (I know a change of pace for me!) about a man named Bartholomew Neil who has lived at home with his mother for all of his thirty eight years and never held down a job. He served as a caretaker for his mother toward the end of her life. However, now Bartholomew is dealing with his grief but also with integrating more fully into the community. He’s got a crush on a librarian whom he has deemed the girlbrarian. He is in therapy. He’s also quite active in his church.
Bartholomew has the small goal of going out to the bar for a beer with an age appropriate friend. And so, as the book goes on and develops he meets an appropriate friend at group therapy. This friend always says things like “what the fuck, hey” and certainly has some delusions. His friend, FYI, is in therapy because of the death of his cat Alice. I can’t fault him that. Pets are important and when one passes, it can be hard to adjust and go forward.
There’s also a priest who plays a pivotal role. He basically also helps Bartholomew in his journey but also kind of brings everyone together. There’s some big reveals involving the priest. In all honesty, I loved the different scenes with him. I won’t give away any spoilers, but I just really felt like he brought a lot of kindness into Bartholomew’s life. There’s a scene that is especially touching – as it takes place during an event that would be traumatizing. It shows the importance of community and caring.
Matthew Quick’s main character, Bartholomew, is a bit hard to get a read on at first. He’s definitely not neurotypical. Still, you just get such a positive sense of Bartholomew. Although he’s not had many age appropriate friends, he’s loyal to the ones that he makes. He cares deeply about his mother, then she passes. He cares about the priest. He even cares for his therapist, Wendy. I loved that a neuroatypical character gets to be essentially the hero of The Good Luck Of Right Now.
The Good Luck Of Right Now is written in epistolary style. The story takes the form of letters from Bartholomew to Richard Gere. It is a short book overall. However, the journey it takes you on is absolutely worth it. I loved the progression of Bartholomew as he begins to heal and finds kindness in others. He also finds his way to give kindness to others and strives to be a genuinely good person.
Other reviews of The Good Luck Of Right Now by Matthew Quick:
- My Shelf Confessions – “makes you feel your humanity and your place in it“
- Xpresso Reads – “What a strange little book this was.“
- Queen Of Contemporary – “I have very mixed feelings on this novel“