Author: Matthew Quick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: Realistic fiction, Recipe for Awesomsauce
thank you thank you thank you harpercollins, i won’t be hating you no more
I love Matthew Quick. I’ve said multiple times and then some that a book touched me; his turn me inside out and show me what lies inside and everything else hypocritical.
Bartholomew is nearly 40, jobless, friendless, recently motherless, emotionally stunted, basically what the world thinks of as pathetic. If one saw tall, fat man with more hair on his arms than head staring at one’s happy, complete family from a corner or balcony, pervert, psychopathic and/or dangerous would the first and most persistent conclusions. Who would think this is a man who lost his mother and religion both in the space of half a year and doesn’t know who pays for his house, a man who is lonely and funny and sweet and wants to drink beer with a friend at a bar?
Wouldn’t have been me.
Quick has given us characters beautiful and different from us all, that people consider weird. But as with Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, I don’t understand people. Bartholomew keeps a notebook in which he writes down all interesting stuff he sees and hears but I do that too! So I suppose that’s why I find them more approachable than most other writers’ main characters. In a hackneyed biological analogy, Quick’s peoples are sexually reproduced organisms while most others’ are asexually reproduced, with less chances of variation and ergo, genetically inferior to the former.
This is not a story about grief but loneliness and friendship, which I’m speculating is the central theme in his books. But unlike Leonard Peacock, he’s glad not to be noticed; he doesn’t want to be found but he finds people. There are no skeletons in his closets(maybe a tiny one or two), so it’s a much lighter book than the last. Yet there is a decided lack of leprechauns and rainbows; this is not that book. The abuses and bullies have been here and gone, and it’s cleaning up time, which is sometimes much harder.
Mostly, TGLoRN deals with carving out a new life with a priest who “defrocked” himself, Max whose sister was abducted by aliens and from afar, the GirlBrarian who likes to congratulate every book she shelves. Written in letters to Richard Gere, this is how a family is born out of a roadtrip to Canada, tekenites(something or the other) and preserved parts of two anatomies. The same old story but with the additional benefit of Canada. 😛
Faith is an important part of this book, not religion. Bartholomew write letter and prayers and confessions to Richard Gere, Father McNamme meditates on his knees to hear from a God who he believes has estranged him, Max is devoted to cats and fervently tries to protect him and around him from alien abductions. The other theme rolling about in the background is synchronicity, but it’s a part of the story that exists out of it. There’s no concrete evidence to make you believe in it, in fact there isn’t any to make anyone believe in it, but Bartholomew does, because he’s seeking it, he wants and there’s no reason for me to begrudge him that. It’s part of his fairytale.
Why do most people fail to give each other the fairy tale?
As awesome as The Good Luck of Right Now theory is(which you’ll find out when you read this book), Bartholomew Neil beats it by 500 miles and 500 more, despite very much not being a superhero.