Author Matthew Quick probably is tired of hearing the word “quirky,” but it really is the singularly best way to describe his storytelling. After his first novel, The Silver Linings Playbook, was adapted into an Oscar-nominated movie starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, Quick delivers a new story featuring Bartholomew Neil, a uniquely likeable protagonist who at nearly 40 has lived with his mother his entire life.
Bartholomew might be a little stunted—he’s never had a girlfriend or, really, any friends other than his local priest—but he has a good heart and takes good care of his mom. When brain cancer leaves his mom confused and disoriented, she begins referring to Bartholomew as “Richard.” Bartholomew assumes she is confusing him with her idol, actor Richard Gere.
The Good Luck of Right Now is told in the form of Bartholomew’s letters to Gere after his mom’s death. It’s a risky approach that pays off big: The book is witty, funny and real, and Bartholomew’s voice is candid and innocent. The grieving Bartholomew slowly ventures out into the world, befriending another misfit in group therapy and taking in his priest, Father McNamee.
Bartholomew sets a few life goals, like having a beer in a bar with an age-appropriate friend and pursuing Girlbrarian, the lovely but withdrawn woman who shelves books at his local library. “Her long brown hair . . . covers her face like a waterfall can cover the entrance to a mysterious cave,” Bartholomew writes.
The story reaches its zenith when Bartholomew, his friend from therapy, Father McNamee and Girlbrarian take a revealing road trip to Montreal that is both hilarious and heartbreaking. The Good Luck of Right Now is a knockout of a book that has something for everyone: humor, wisdom, plot twists, wholly original characters and Richard Gere.