Read the book. See the film. Meet the author. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick is this year’s selection for Princeton Reads, Princeton Public Library’s town-wide literacy and literary celebration held every other year.
The reading program is bound to get everyone talking about the issue of mental illness as it is depicted in Mr. Quick’s novel; meanwhile the library will offer plenty of opportunity for discussions on this and other aspects of the book in the coming weeks.
Princeton Reads begins Sunday, October 20, with a pep rally of family-friendly activities inspired by “silver linings,” and culminates in an appearance by Mr. Quick at John Witherspoon Middle School on Friday, November 15, at 7 p.m. The author will discuss The Silver Linings Playbook and his latest young adult novel Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock.
Besides mental health and “silver linings”, The Silver Linings Playbook explores the importance of family and community as well as the role of classic literature through the story of its main character, Pat Peoples, a former high school history teacher who has been recently released from a mental health facility. Mr. Quick, who likes to go by the moniker “Q,” drew upon personal experiences as a former teacher of literature and film at Haddonfield Memorial High School and as a behavioral therapist working with individuals who had suffered traumatic brain injuries. Originally from Philadelphia, he was raised in Oaklyn, New Jersey and now lives in Massachusetts.
With this book, the Princeton Public Library has taken the opportunity to create a community forum on the subject of mental health with film screenings and discussions, including one with representatives from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
As Mr. Quick’s character Pat tries to win back his estranged wife by adopting a philosophy of being “kind instead of right,” he finds his life transformed through a series of encounters with relatives and friends old and new. His path leads from the stands of Philadelphia Eagles home games to the floor of an unusual ballroom dance competition.
“The selection of ‘The Silver Linings Playbook’ is a catalyst for the community to have a discussion about the stigmas and hardships faced by both sufferers of mental illness and their families,” said Leslie Burger, executive director of Princeton Public Library. “We hope the book, and the many scheduled programs and events associated with it, create awareness about helping people get the diagnoses and treatment they need.”
The film adaptation of Mr. Quick’s book was nominated for no less than eight Academy Awards earlier this year. Described as “super engaging, warm and sharply funny” the film starred Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Chris Tucker. Ms. Lawrence won the Oscar for best actress.
“This is the sixth time we’re doing Princeton Reads, and this book is kind of different for several reasons,” commented Tim Quinn, the library’s marketing and communications director, citing the book as “accessible” and with many aspects to promote active discussions. It also involves football and is the first Princeton Reads selection with a major movie tie-in.
One other reason to add might well be the chance to include some fun family activities such as the Garbage Bag Run involving Mayor Liz Lempert, Princeton High School Principal Gary Snyder, John Witherspoon Middle School Principal Jason Burr, and other Princeton notables leading a run from Princeton High School to Hinds Plaza on Sunday.
The run will begin at 10 a.m. and end around 11 a.m. Garbage bags like the one worn by the main character in The Silver Linings Playbook will be provided at the starting line. Children 10 and under are welcome to ride scooters and bikes. Strollers and wagons are welcome, too. Everyone taking part in the run will be entered into a drawing for tickets to a 2013 Princeton University football home game of their choice. Winners will be selected at the pep rally following the run.
The day’s activities will include marching bands, a tailgate party, prizes and more. In addition to 50 pompoms, Princeton University has donated 100 tickets to its November 2 game against Cornell for distribution during the pep rally and at other Princeton Reads programs.
At around 12:30 p.m. there will be a Football Fanatics Competition of participants dressed in support for their favorite teams. Face paint, jerseys, and imagination are encouraged. Then at 1 p.m., the Philadelphia Eagles/Dallas Cowboys showdown will be screened in the library’s Community Room. This game between division rivals has special significance in Mr. Quick’s book.
Other related events include a screening of the film Silver Linings Playbook on Friday, November 1, at 6:30 p.m.; a discussion of the book led by librarian Janie Hermann on Sunday, November 3, at 3 p.m.; a second screening and a discussion with representatives of the Mercer County chapter of NAMI, about how mental illness is depicted in the film, on Saturday November 9, at 3 p.m.; and a “Story Slam” focused on the “silver linings” experiences of participants who are asked to bring along a prepared story or poem of three minutes or less to share on Tuesday, November 12, at 7 p.m.
For more information, visit: www.princetonlibrary.org.