It's rare that I watch the movie before reading the novel but I love Bradley Cooper so much that I rented the movie from Redbox a few days after it came out. I also am a widow so was anxious to see how that was portrayed. (For some reason, even after seeing the previews dozens of times I never realized it was Jennifer Lawerence.) I had the book on hold at the library and was hoping it would become available sooner. Instead, I got the book the day after the I watched the movie. Another thing that rarely happens is that I liked the movie much better.
Because I saw the movie first, I've decided to post my movie review first. Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawerence were the perfect actors for the roles of Pat and Tiffany. Both of them are so damn cute and charming, even when they are acting like psychopaths you can't help but like them. I also loved Robert De Niro's character. The mom was a busybody and pretty annoying but had she not been the hilarious moments between Tiffany and Pat may have never happened.
I love this movie because it is about the recovery of two mentally ill people. It's so rare to see movies about people getting better. Usually they are about how they went crazy. At the same time, I was frustrated by the lack of background information on Pat. I was even more disappointed that Tiffany's story was barely told. But I absolutely loved the characters. They both wanted to get better. It's nice to see a movie where someone sincerely wants to recover from mental illness.
One thing made me tremendously respect the movie was the moment when Pat says he was tested for bipolar disorder but it was inconclusive. As someone who also has had inconclusive tests for mental afflictions, I felt like cheering when I saw this. Those of us that suffer from mental disorders don't always get clear cut diagnoses. Even though it was just a movie, it made me feel better knowing I'm not the only one who doesn't know exactly what is wrong with me.
I thought the dance competition and betting storylines were cute and entertaining but I was a little disappointed that the movie took such a silly turn when it was about something as serious as mental illness recovery. I understand ultimately this was a romance movie but I wish it had kept a more serious tone throughout the entire story. I loved how the movie ended and both Pat and Tiffany deserved so much to get their "silver lining."
Sigh...the book. The book was depressing. Like others I hated the way Pat was immature at times, referring to his separation from his wife as "apart time" and just overall being unable to behave like an adult. But like the movie, Pat is completely earnest about recovering from his mental illness and that makes you root for him.
If I thought Tiffany's story was barely told in the movie, it was told even less so in the book. But I loved how she stalked Pat and would run with him everyday just to be near him. The funny exchanges between Pat and Tiffany weren't funny at all in the book though. In the end, Tiffany betrays Pat and renders herself completely unlikable. Thank goodness the movie didn't follow this storyline!
I do wish in the movie they had kept the other dance competitors as being teenagers like in the book. I think that could have made for some really funny scenes. I did like that Pat didn't remember being in the mental institution for years and slowly recovered his memory throughout the book. He can't remember why he is mentally ill and it isn't completely revealed until the end of the book.
This will be a spoiler, but in the book, Pat's wife never actually makes an appearance. Pat is absolutely convinced they are going to get back together no matter what happens. He also beliefs his life is a movie. At first it's endearing but when it's clear Pat is unable to accept reality it's just really sad and frustrating to read about. Tiffany takes advantage of his lost grip on reality.
My favorite part about the book was the story of how Pat and his father recovered their relationship. This was highly touching and was really the only thing that kept me reading to the very end. While I liked how the book took a more serious approach to Pat's recovery, at times it was just too sad and depressing.
The blurb at Amazon describes it as "Matthew Quick’s heartwarming, humorous and soul-satisfying first novel." Honestly, it just wasn't that funny. Especially when you see how the humor was portrayed successfully in the movie.
Another thing that absolutely enraged me about the book was that Pat kept giving spoilers about the ending's of classic novels. I plan on reading The Great Gatsby next and was uber pissed that the author, Matthew Quick, thought it would be okay for Pat to complain about the ending! He did this about other classic novels as well but not ones I plan on reading. Also it's just really gimmicky and lazy to write about other books in your book.