I read this book for my One Drink Minimum Book club this month. I have not read anything else by Matthew Quick and I probably won’t based on this. I know I am in the minority because many people love all of Matthew Quick’s works.
This book is about a young man (30s) who lived with his mother his whole life. She dies (no spoiler it happens in the first couple of pages) and he has to “learn” to live by himself. He finds a form letter from Richard Gere to his mother and decides to start writing to him to work his way through what is happening to him. The entire book is in the form of letters (one sided) to Richard Gere. Although it is never explicitly stated, it is clear that he on the autism spectrum somewhere.
Through his journey, he assembles a rather ragtag assortment of characters, I mean every character is quirky, I think that is supposed to be the charming?? He has a bipolar alcoholic defrocked priest, a counselor who is herself an abused woman and should be dealing with her own issues, a traumatized woman and her brother who is paranoid, delusional, believes in aliens and has a verbal tick where he says fuck in every single sentence…for the entire book.
I had a number of problems with the book: first, I felt somehow that Bartholomew’s disability was like a punchline, it seemed a wrong treatment to me. I also read The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night and I never got that sense from that book. Then, Bartholomew spends a great deal of the book trying to get to know Girllibrarian and when he does meet and talk to her, there is no sense that they have anything in common or anything to really talk about. Also, Bartholomew shows no signs of really needing help, he may be autistic but he was his mother’s caregiver, not the other way around, and he shows no signs of being grief stricken.
I don’t want to say to much more and give away everything about the plot, but this really didn’t work for me.