Blog Tour Review: The Good Luck of Right Now

I received this book for free from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Blog Tour Review: The Good Luck of Right NowThe Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick
Published by Harper on February 11, 2014
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: TLC Book Tours
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three-stars

Call it fate. Call it synchronicity. Call it an act of God. Call it . . . The Good Luck of Right Now. From the New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook comes an entertaining and inspiring tale that will leave you pondering the rhythms of the universe and marveling at the power of kindness and love.

For thirty-eight years, Bartholomew Neil has lived with his mother. When she gets sick and dies, he has no idea how to be on his own. His redheaded grief counselor, Wendy, says he needs to find his flock and leave the nest. But how does a man whose whole life has been grounded in his mom, Saturday mass, and the library learn how to fly?

Bartholomew thinks he’s found a clue when he discovers a “Free Tibet” letter from Richard Gere hidden in his mother’s underwear drawer. In her final days, mom called him Richard—there must be a cosmic connection. Believing that the actor is meant to help him, Bartholomew awkwardly starts his new life, writing Richard Gere a series of highly intimate letters. Jung and the Dalai Lama, philosophy and faith, alien abduction and cat telepathy, the Catholic Church and the mystery of women are all explored in his soul-baring epistles. But mostly the letters reveal one man’s heartbreakingly earnest attempt to assemble a family of his own.

A struggling priest, a “Girlbrarian,” her feline-loving, foul-mouthed brother, and the spirit of Richard Gere join the quest to help Bartholomew. In a rented Ford Focus, they travel to Canada to see the cat Parliament and find his biological father . . . and discover so much more.

Having finished The Good Luck of Right Now, I know only this much:

  1. This is one of the strangest books I’ve ever read.
  2. The amount of times the word “fuck” appears rivals Boondock Saints.
  3. I have never spent so much time thinking about Richard Gere.

Here are some things I am not sure of upon the completion of this novel:

  1. How I feel about this book.
  2. How Richard Gere feels about this book.
  3. What precise mental conditions the main characters have.

As you’ve probably surmised, I feel mostly confused. The Good Luck of Right Now is so strange that I really don’t know how to feel about it. How on earth do I rate something like this? I’m not even entirely sure if I liked it, but I’m somewhat impressed, so I’m going to give this book the benefit of the doubt.

One of the things I am sure of is that Matthew Quick does have writing talent. This may not be the ideal book of his for me, as they all sound quite different, but I can see that he is capable of great things. He achieves a very unique narrative voice, and for that alone I’m deeming this novel as somewhat of a success with me personally.

Unsurprisingly, The Good Luck of Right Now is garnering comparisons to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I do see why. Both center on autistic males trying to cope in a world that they do not understand the same way others do. At the same time, though, the books are quite different. Bartholomew is nearly 40, not a teenager. He’s been living with his mother all of his life, up until her recent death from cancer. The phase of life in which the book is set makes a huge difference. Also, Bartholomew seems mostly to encounter other people with various mental issues.

In face, Bartholomew seems like he may be more than just autistic. He’s obviously an intelligent guy, and he’s certainly capable of functioning somewhat, though interacting with people is not his best thing. However, he’s developed what seems to be along the lines of voices in his head. He has two: the angry little man in his stomach who yells at him and tells him that he’s stupid, a “retard,” and Richard Gere. The former clearly was instilled by bullying throughout his life. The latter resulted from his mother’s being a big fan of the actor, and, in her dementia during her illness, calling her son Richard. His Richard voice actually counsels him on how to be better, and serves as a positive force, as opposed to the angry little man of self-doubt.

The Good Luck of Right Now is an epistolary novel. Each chapter is a letter addressed to Richard Gere from his adoring fan Bartholomew Neil. Though it’s not the point of the novel at all, I can’t help wondering what it must be like to have a popular author write a book to you like this. This premise is a seriously odd one, and I really don’t know what to make of it.

Not a whole lot really happens in The Good Luck of Right Now. It’s almost entirely plotless. Bartholomew’s trying to make his way through life without his mother with the assistance of various campanions almost as strange or stranger than he is: a defrocked priest, a man who says fuck at least once a sentence, and a girlbrarian. Each of them has serious demons. The girl’s are an almost Titus Andronicus level nightmare. They influence one another to change, in hopefully good ways. Still, I’m a bit lost to be honest. I do love the concept for which the title is named however.

I hardly know whether to recommend this or not, considering how unsure I feel about my own reaction. If you seek out original books or enjoyed Haddon’s Curious Incident, then perhaps this will be a good choice for you.

Favorite Quote:

Back before she got sick, Mom always used to say, “For every bad thing that happens, a good thing happens too—and this was how the world stayed in harmony.”

Whenever too many good things happened to us, Mom would say, “I feel sorry for whomever is getting screwed to balance all of this out,” because she believed that our good meant that someone else somewhere in the world was experiencing bad. It actually depressed her when our luck was very good. Mom hated to think about others suffering so that we might enjoy life.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

wat

8 responses to “Blog Tour Review: The Good Luck of Right Now”

  1. Alice says:

    I pre-ordered this book on my Kindle, so unfortunately I have so far skim read your review (I promise to read it properly after having finished the book). It’s funny you mention ‘how would Richard Gere feel about this book’, I don’t know what exactly that means, but it mediately made me think of Kenny G’s role in The Silver Linings Playbook.

    I’m excited by your comments on it’s strangeness, it’ll be interesting to see how I find it compared to the other two books I have read by him.
    Alice recently posted…Poetry: Beast, Book, Body by Erica JongMy Profile

  2. My favorite part of this review: “The amount of times the word “fuck” appears rivals Boondock Saints.”

    YES. Otherwise, I’m going to pass on this one.

  3. Bonnie says:

    I initially wanted to read this one after hearing it was an epistolary novel but… this doesn’t sound like a me book. It does sound weird. And any book without a distinct plot is always irritating. Might have to try a different book by Quick.
    Bonnie recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday – Cavendon Hall by Barbara Taylor BradfordMy Profile

  4. Cayce says:

    Oh my, this book sounds way too weird for my taste. I loved Boy21 (and kinda enjoyed the movie Silver Linings Playlist) so I thought about checking out his new release as well, but now I don’t think I’ll. Thank you for the great review!!
    Cayce recently posted…[Top Ten Tuesday] The One with All the SwoonsMy Profile

  5. CURIOUS INCIDENT was quite an unusual book so I can understand the comparison for sure.

    Thanks for being on the tour for this unique book!

  6. […] Wednes­day, Feb­ru­ary 12th: A Reader of Fictions […]

  7. Deborah Parris says:

    Thank you for your review. I enjoyed this book immensely.

    To answer someone’s question, the condition that Max suffers from may be this: http://www.patient.co.uk/pdf/9212.pdf (Tourettes Syndrome)

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