Published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux on October 16th 2012
Genres: Adult fiction, Contemporary, Romance
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Meet Pat. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure a happy ending for him -- the return of his estranged wife Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent time in a mental health facility.) The problem is, Pat's now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he's being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he's being hunted by Kenny G!
I liked it. Pat sort of had the mind of a child, but there was some brilliance there that was uncharacteristic. Also he was very honest and it was good.
I can’t seem to organize my thoughts about this, so I’ll be reviewing this in the form of a Q&A.
So how about Pat and Tiffany?
They reminded me a bit of myself, which is good in any story. But they were really, really honest, and I try to be. Also Tiffany was a lot like me- she would get mad and curse at little things, have mood swings, feel things intensely, and show affection in strange and sometimes endearing ways. At times I felt like both of them were pretty normal, other times they did seem a bit mental, but I never really felt like it was that serious with either of them, except maybe when Pat had his episode.
Nothing with them was really rational either. Like Tiffany’s sudden affection for Pat. Just their relationship in general, even how it works out at the end. Irrational, but sweet, I guess?
What about the writing?
I describe this as a different sort of read. It felt like Pat’s journal, so it was kind of childlike. It was sort of hard to read because of that, but I still enjoyed it.
What line or motif do you remember the most?
“Practicing being kind rather than right.” This stuck with me and bothered me a lot. I mean, yes, this philosophy of Pat’s really improved his social skills and made him kinder, but it should never replace being right, or at least how I interpret right: just. It never really caused any issues in the book, but I can’t agree with it on principle. It basically justifies lying or doing things that aren’t morally correct. White lies shouldn’t hurt, but sometimes it can go beyond that.
What about Pat’s father?
Oh man. I hate that his entire life revolved around how the Eagles were doing. His relationship with both Pat and his wife depended on stupid football. I hated that. That was so ridiculous and it doesn’t even get resolved. That’s awful. That’s like the worst father ever.
I don’t know, man. The whole thing seems pretty messed up. So many aspects of his life weren’t working. The thing with Tiffany really didn’t make much sense, but I guess it kind of worked out? I feel like this would have been a better story if more things did work out. Like, sure we can take care of this one thing, this one big issue, but there are more than that. It kind of felt like a puzzle that still looks good at the end, even if all the pieces don’t fit together right. That’s the best I can do. But I still liked it. I can’t explain it.
…And how was the movie?
The movie is so different. It’s like, good…especially every interaction between Pat and Tiffany, those are hilarious. But it’s so different. They change around the order of events, people’s names (unimportant people, but still) and songs (important ones), and they invent tons of stuff, especially dialogue. Most importantly, they completely change Pat’s father. Heck, that’s probably not even the most important. It feels to me like the screwed it over just to make a fairytale. It’s so ridiculous. And I guess if you took the movie on its own it would be good, but after the book, it’s horrible. And they left out some good scenes.