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.”

Review:

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: ★★★★★

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Published: August 13th, 2013

“Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol. But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate, Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches. In this riveting look at a day in the life of a disturbed teenage boy, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.”

Let’s just start out by saying Matthew Quick is one of my favorite authors. So when I pick up a book of his, I have extremely high expectations. Every single time I have picked up one of his books, I have not been left disappointed. Leonard Peacock is just a young boy with a messed up brain and heart, that needs some help and guidance. His life was never as beautiful as it could have been, and therefore, he wants to kill his former best friend, and himself. I read this book in two days. Maybe even less than that. I couldn’t believe what Leonard had been through, and I wanted to know more. My favorite characters in this book would have to be Leonard, Walt (Leonard’s neighbor), and Herr Silverman (Leonard’s teacher). They have this unbreakable bond with Leonard, and their bond makes you want to keep reading to find out what happens at the end. Oh, the end, let’s talk about that. The ending of this book will make you freak out. Not so much the final sentence, but maybe the last few chapters. It had me going insane finding out what was going to happen and if things would actually pan out the way you thought. I couldn’t stop reading. I didn’t want to.

Rating: A million stars. But in reality, 5/5.

Check out my Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/62155226-lacey

Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick

Published: May 31st, 2016

Didn’t you ever just simply want to…stop? Star athlete and straight-A student Nanette O’Hare has played the role of dutiful daughter for as long as she can remember. But one day, a beloved teacher gives her his worn copy of The Bubblegum Reaper—a mysterious, out-of-print cult classic—and the rebel within Nanette awakens. As the new and outspoken Nanette attempts to insert her true self into the world with wild abandon, she befriends the reclusive author and falls in love with a young, troubled poet. Forced to make some hard choices that bring devastating consequences, Nanette learns the hard way that rebellion can sometimes come at a high price.”

The book starts out with learning about Nanette who is an awesome soccer player who is about to start her future. She’s a senior in high school, and finds herself reading a book that would change her life forever. When she reads this book, she has a crisis trying to figure out who she is and what she wants. Every Exquisite Thing was a capturing novel from the very beginning. Going through Nanette’s journey of finding herself with her was excellent. Empowering.

About the Author:
Matthew Quick (aka Q) is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including The Silver Linings Playbook, which was made into an Oscar-winning film, and The Good Luck Of Right Now. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has received a PEN/Hemingway Award Honorable Mention. Q lives with his wife, the novelist-pianist Alicia Bessette, on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

Rating★★★★★

Love May Fail by Matthew Quick

Published: June 16th, 2015

“Portia Kane is having a meltdown. After escaping her ritzy Florida life and her cheating pornographer husband, she finds herself back in South Jersey, a place that remains largely unchanged from the years of her unhappy youth. Lost and alone, looking for the goodness she believes still exists in the world, Portia sets off on a quest to save the one man who always believed in her – and in all of his students: her beloved high school English teacher, Mr. Vernon, who has retired broken and alone after a traumatic classroom incident. Will a sassy nun, an ex-heroin addict, a metal-head little boy, and her hoarder mother help or hurt Portia’s chances on this quest to resurrect a good man and find renewed hope in the human race? Love May Fail is a story of the great highs and lows of existence: the heartache and daring choices it takes to become the person you know (deep down) you are meant to be.”

To begin, the first few sentences of this book caught my attention right away. It starts with Portia, drunk in her closet, awaiting her husband to arrive with his mistress. Almost immediately, I was captivated with what would happen next.

It took me a total of two days to read this book. Usually, I am a slow reader, and I also like to take my time and see if I’m getting the full grasp of what the book has to offer. I could not put this book down for the life of me. It had me hooked the whole way through, and I’m happy that I got to experience Portia’s life.

About the Author:
Matthew Quick (aka Q) is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including The Silver Linings Playbook, which was made into an Oscar-winning film, and The Good Luck Of Right Now. His work has been translated into thirty languages and has received a PEN/Hemingway Award Honorable Mention. Q lives with his wife, the novelist-pianist Alicia Bessette, on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

My favorite thing about Matthew Quick is that he grew up right around the corner from me. All of his books take place in Philadelphia/South Jersey, and that area is where I was born and raised. The settings for his books are absolutely a bonus in my eyes.

Rating: ★★★★★