The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick

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.

 

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Resolution & A Brush with Death

Resolution is the third book in the Garnethill trilogy by Denise Mina.  I would highly recommend reading this series in order…or you will be completely  lost.

It is hard to discuss too much about this book without giving away spoilers to the first two in the series, because this plot wraps up events from those books.  On the whole this is a dark, gritty, violent series.  It covers a gamut of issues from childhood sexual abuse, alcoholism, family dysfunction, infidelity, drug abuse, rape and of course murder.  The protagonist, Maureen, as a drunken, self destructive incest survivor drives this whole trilogy.  The closest character I can compare her to is Lisbeth Salander of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo fame.

The negatives with the books, all of them, for me occur whenever Maureen interacts with the police officers. Those scenes seem to range from unrealistic to cartoonlike, especially by book 3 in the series.  Has Maureen learned nothing about the criminal justice system and dealing with police by that time??  Overall, a good trilogy with character development and growth over the course of the arc, an excellent sense of place, and  a nicely woven plot, if perhaps a little too neatly tied up in the end.

 

A Brush with Death is the second in the Penny Brannigan series set in Wales.  This book picks up right where the first one  left off.  Penny is living in the cottage she inherited from her close friend, Emma.  She stumbles upon a mystery from Emma’s past and feels compelled to follow it to the end.  I quite enjoyed the first in this series, however this one fell  somewhat flat for me.

The positives are the character descriptions and the setting.  Well executed to the point that the reader can “see” the people and the town.  There are a couple new characters that are introduced that I assume will be recurring because of the time spent developing them.  The mystery was interesting and I definitely had the culprit wrong, however there was information withheld from the reader until the reveal, so I don’t suppose you could solve it completely.

The negatives are that the romantic subplot didn’t really work for me. I didn’t get a sense of chemistry between the characters, but that is not a huge element in a mystery.   The dialogue was often stilted or on the other had silly.  The mystery seemed almost secondary, a bit emphasis in the book was the examination of change in social issues.  Although the portrayal of attitudes and the connection to a possible murder motive made this pertinent, it felt overshadowing to me.

I really did like the first book, so I might pick up the third one given the opportunity.