The Reason You’re Alive by Matthew Quick

Published: July 4th, 2017
Publisher: HarperCollins

“The New York Times-bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook offers a timely novel featuring his most fascinating character yet, a Vietnam vet embarking on a quixotic crusade to track down his nemesis from the war.

After sixty-eight-year-old David Granger crashes his BMW, medical tests reveal a brain tumor that he readily attributes to his wartime Agent Orange exposure. He wakes up from surgery repeating a name no one in his civilian life has ever heard—that of a Native American soldier whom he was once ordered to discipline. David decides to return something precious he long ago stole from the man he now calls Clayton Fire Bear. It might be the only way to find closure in a world increasingly at odds with the one he served to protect. It might also help him finally recover from his wife’s untimely demise.

As David confronts his past to salvage his present, a poignant portrait emerges: that of an opinionated and goodhearted American patriot fighting like hell to stay true to his red, white, and blue heart, even as the country he loves rapidly changes in ways he doesn’t always like or understand. Hanging in the balance are Granger’s distant art-dealing son, Hank; his adoring seven-year-old granddaughter, Ella; and his best friend, Sue, a Vietnamese-American who respects David’s fearless sincerity.

Through the controversial, wrenching, and wildly honest David Granger, Matthew Quick offers a no-nonsense but ultimately hopeful view of America’s polarized psyche. By turns irascible and hilarious, insightful and inconvenient, David is a complex, wounded, honorable, and loving man. The Reason You’re Alive examines how the secrets and debts we carry from our past define us; it also challenges us to look beyond our own prejudices and search for the good in us all.”


The Reason You’re Alive involves a sixty-eight year old Vietnam veteran who has a brain tumor. Once he gets his surgery, things in life seem to matter more now than they did before. He has a son named Hank who has a daughter named Ella. He doesn’t like Hank so much, but Ella is his world. He is an honest American man, who doesn’t like any other race than his. He hates how America is run, especially since he’s a veteran. During the time of his brain tumor, he learns the truth about family and friends, and how to continue life in a happy way.

Matthew Quick did it again. I love him and his books so much. I might be a little biased because he is a local from where I am from, so he always puts different things about Philadelphia and South Jersey in his books. This book was the longest I’ve ever taken to read one of his books. However, once I sat down and really got started, I couldn’t stop.

David Granger is a man who no one really would like in today’s society. He seems like he would be one of the guys in the Facebook videos you keep seeing when people record racists. He doesn’t care. He fought for the country. He only wants Americans. I really had a problem liking David. I had to keep putting this book down, taking deeeeeeep breaths, and returning to it. I think that it’s really important to acknowledge that I’m not giving this a bad rating because I didn’t like the character. A book is about feeling a way towards something or someone; it’s about bringing forth knowledge on a topic that you didn’t really know about. Matthew Quick made me feel for David. He made me hate him. He made me switch my mind. He made me watch him see all of these important lessons and epiphanies at age sixty-eight. I think only a really good author can do that.

There were times where I really felt like David was my grandfather. I felt like I was reading a handwritten story for future generations to read. The writing style that Matthew Quick had David portray really made him feel realistic. I felt like I was waiting for a phone call from him.

Lastly, being a Philly girl, I love all of the acknowledgements towards Philadelphia. I love that he brought up going to Phillies games as a kid, hating the Dallas Cowboys, going over the Ben Franklin Bridge, etc. It’s all so real to me. I love that he does that in every book he writes. It’s like he doesn’t forget where he’s from, and when you become a celebrity of sorts, its important to remember that.

Overall, I love this book. I finished it and was very happy with how everything was in the end. Matthew Quick hasn’t failed me yet, and I’m excited to see his next book, whenever that may be.

Rating: ★★★★★

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