Book Review: The Good Luck of Right Now, by Matthew Quick

Originally published in the February 21st, 2014 issue of Shelf Awareness for Readers. Reprinted here with permission. If you don't already receive it, sign up here to receive a bi-weekly dose of readerly goodness in your inbox.

Matthew Quick (The Silver Linings Playbook) opens his sixth novel,The Good Luck of Right Now, with the death of Bartholomew Neil's mother--with whom the 38-year-old has lived his entire life. Suddenly, Bartholomew is on his own, uncertain of how to pay his bills, get a job, make friends or move on with his life. Somewhat illogically, he begins to write to Richard Gere, his mother's favorite actor, confiding in him about his uncertainty over what the future holds and his struggles with grief counseling. What begins as just one letter becomes a full-fledged one-sided friendship, as Bartholomew continues to write about the demise of his spiritual advisor, Father McNamee, his crush on the librarian he has dubbed "Girlbrarian" and his life goal of having a beer at a bar with a friend his own age.

As the novel unfolds, Quick builds a story with the most unlikely of characters, from a woman once abducted by aliens to a counselor in need of counseling and an angry man unable to get over the death of his cat. At their heart, they all struggle to find their way after their lives are shaken by events outside of their control. As Bartholomew's letters become more desperate and intense, this unlikely band of characters grows, contracts and learns to embrace the ups and downs life throws at us--finding comfort in the idea that the bad in life happens in order to make room for the good, and vice versa.


Thoughts from other bookworms:
Jenn's Bookshelves
A Bookish Way of Life


The Good Luck of Right Now | Matthew Quick | Harper | February 2014 | Hardcover | 304 pages


  1. I keep forgetting that you're one of the reviewers for SA for Readers (I unsubscribed to that one but I read the regular, daily SA). You're definitely a bigger fan of this book than I was, but perhaps I had unfair expectations going in to this one.

    1. Yes, I am--it's a fun change of pace to try keeping my reviews a bit more structured (and within a word count), versus the rambly, as-long-as-I'd-like style I end up with on my own blog.

      I went into this novel with NO expectations--I've never read any of Quick's previous work. While I can say I definitely did NOT expect an entire novel composed in one-sided letters to Richard Gere, the style grew on me after a while and I really got into it.


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