The Good Luck Of Right Now

Paperback | February 11, 2014

byMatthew Quick

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“Funny, touching, wise and ultimately life-affirming, The Good Luck of Right Now is quite possibly the greatest feel-good misfit road story I’ve had the good luck to read.” —GARTH STEIN, AUTHOR OF THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN

For almost four decades, Bartholomew Neil has done nothing but live with his mom. When she begins calling him Richard—for reasons unknown—and then dies, Bartholomew is woefully unprepared. A clue comes in the form of a “Free Tibet” letter he finds in his mother’s underwear drawer, and so Bartholomew awkwardly starts his new life, writing Richard Gere a series of highly intimate fan letters. Jung’s theory of synchronicity, the mystery of women, the Dalai Lama’s teachings, alien abduction, cat telepathy and the Catholic Church are all explored in depth by Bartholomew’s epistles—but mostly the letters outline one man’s heartbreakingly earnest attempt to assemble a family of his own.

A struggling priest, a “girlbrarian,” her foul-mouthed brother and Richard Gere (well, sort of) join the quest. In a rented Ford Focus, they travel to Canada in search of Bartholomew’s biological father and end up finding so much more.

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From the Publisher

“Funny, touching, wise and ultimately life-affirming, The Good Luck of Right Now is quite possibly the greatest feel-good misfit road story I’ve had the good luck to read.” —GARTH STEIN, AUTHOR OF THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAINFor almost four decades, Bartholomew Neil has done nothing but live with his mom. When she begins calling him R...

MATTHEW QUICK (a.k.a. Q) is the author of one adult novel,The Silver Linings Playbook, which was made into an Academy Award– winning film. His young adult titles includeSorta Like a Rock Star;Boy 21, finalist for theL.A. TimesBook Prize; andForgive Me, Leonard Peacock. His work has been translated into more than twenty languages and ha...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pages, 8.75 × 6.35 × 1 inPublished:February 11, 2014Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1443425850

ISBN - 13:9781443425858

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Good Luck of Right Now I read the first line of this book and knew I had to keep reading: "Dear Mr. Richard Gere." I mean, how could you not keep reading after that? The main character, Bartholomew Neil, is a 38-year-old who lived with his mother his whole life. After her death, Bartholomew finds a "Free Tibet" letter from Richard Gere in his mother's drawer, and this letter sets off the sequence of events that leads Bartholomew to stretch beyond his geographical and relationship boundaries. We readers learn about the events through letters Bartholomew writes to his mother's hero, Richard Gere. His mother had a theory—the "Good Luck of Right Now" theory. By her theory, when someone wins, someone else has to lose, and if some people get rich, others must stay poor. By her theory, in order for one person to be considered smart, others must be average or below intelligence, and the beautiful can only be considered so if there are homely people by which to compare them. In other words, one person's joy is another's suffering. When good things happened to Bartholomew and his mother, she says: "I feel sorry for whoever is getting screwed to balance all this out." The Good Luck of Right Now comes from believing that when bad things happen to you, you can celebrate that someone somewhere is having a great day. "Believing—or maybe even pretending—made you feel better about what had happened, regardless of what was true and what wasn't." Armed with this theory, a little Catholicism, some Richard Gere Buddhism and the unus mundus (One World/One Mind) philosophy of Carl Jung, Bartholomew makes his way through life without the mother who raised him, loved him and protected him. His journey takes him away from his hometown Philadelphia north to Montreal and then Ottawa. (I'm from Ottawa, so I delighted in Bartholomew's visit to Cat Parliament on Ottawa's Parliament Hill even though, sadly, it's no longer there.) There isn't a "normal" character in this book. They could open a "Dysfunctions R Us" store. But they are all endearing in their own cracked ways. Quick manages to make likable characters out of a socially awkward 38-year-old, a damaged social worker, an alcoholic Catholic priest, a traumatized library volunteer and her potty-mouthed brother. Matthew Quick consulted some Canadian friends about our country, so maybe I shouldn't quibble about the stereotypical "eh" sprinkled through the language during the Canadian portion of Bartholomew's travels. I can only guess those Canadian friends gave him different advice than I would give. Personally, I think references to "eh" weren't necessary, didn't add anything to the story, and they set my teeth on edge just a little. Quick tries redeem himself by acknowledging that "That's a stereotype that will offend the locals." Right, so why even go there? But non-Canadians won't be bothered by such things—or might even have a laugh at our expense—so they can read gamely on without clenched teeth. They can adopt some of those Buddhist and Jungian philosophies and go along on Quick's mystical ride. And if they don't like the book, they can take some comfort in believing that, by the Good Luck of Right Now theory, someone else somewhere is really enjoying a good read.
Date published: 2014-04-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This is Good! I guffawed out loud at unsuspected funny bits, and got a little misty-eyed too. Author Quick has written about four flawed loveable, quirky souls looking for their lives. Through letters written to a movie star, Bartholomew tells how his priest, his secret love and her brother help steer each other to their fate. Funny and unique, this was a great read.  
Date published: 2014-03-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Good Luck of Right Now Good book and a nlce story, enjoyed it thoughly!
Date published: 2014-03-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Quirky is good Matthew Quick's last novel The Silver Linings Playbook was turned into an award winning movie. His newest book The Good Luck of Right Now gives us another wounded protagonist to root for. Bartholomew Neil is nearing forty when his mother dies from cancer. Having never held a job, lived on his own and with no friends, he is unsure of what to do next. He starts to puzzle things out in letters written to actor Richard Gere. (Mom's favourite) These missives are heartbreaking in their honesty. " I get sidetracked easily by interesting things, and for this reason, people often find it hard to converse with me, which is why I don't talk very much to strangers and much prefer writing letters, in which there is room to record everything, unlike real-life conversations where you have to fight and fight to fit in your words and almost always lose." Bartholomew and his mother were faithful church goers and he does find some solace from parish priest Father McNamee. But he's not too sure about his grief counsellor Wendy, although they do set a life goal for Bartholomew - to have a drink with a friend in a bar. What Bartholomew would really like to do is meet the Girlbrarian at the library he frequents every day. Bartholomew is a great believer of Synchronicity by Carl Jung. Some might call it coincidence or destiny. Bartholomew's mother had her own twist on it - "For every bad thing that happens, a good thing happens too - and this was how the world stayed in harmony." Whatever way you choose to look at it - Bartholomew's life seems to be full of coincidences that may help him find his place in the world. Quick has written another great book full of decidedly quirky characters and odd situations. I'm not sure why, but I am drawn to characters that are outside of the mainstream view of life. Their struggle to fit in and find a place for themselves. Most of all, it is their optimism, their steady one foot in front of the other, their acceptance of everyone that appeals to me. Bartholomew embodies all that. As he says..."Well, if there weren't weird, strange and unusual people who did weird things or nothing at all, there couldn't be normal people who do normal useful things, right?" The Good Luck of right now is an unusual narrative told from a decidedly different character - one that you shouldn't spend too much time analyzing or trying to fit into a mold. The situations and connections are just as different - but who's to say they couldn't happen? Just go with it - and see where Bartholomew ends up. I quite enjoyed The Good Luck of Right Now - maybe it was meant to land in my mailbox?! (PS There's one scene in the library involving a patron viewing questionable material - I was laughing out loud. As a employee of a public library, I can tell that Quick did not exaggerate this scene!)
Date published: 2014-02-19

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Editorial Reviews

"Has everything I relish in a story: a flawed but sympathetic protagonist, a page-turning plot and a cast of emotionally scarred characters for whom I rooted wholeheartedly. I loved this novel from its quirky and unconventional opening to its poignant, tearinducing conclusion." -WALLY LAMB, AUTHOR OF THE HOUR I FIRST BELIEVED AND THE FORTHCOMING WE ARE WATER