//Bookworm Beat / The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick

Have you ever read a story in which Richard Gere was a central figure? Neither have I--until I picked up "The Good Luck of Right Now." In this novel, an almost-40-year-old man named Bartholomew Neil has only ever known a life with his mother. They devoutly attended Catholic mass and took care of each other since Bartholomew's father was out of the picture (martyred, in fact). That is, until Bartholomew's mother passed away from brain cancer where "squidlike" tumors attacked her mind and caused her to spiral into declining health. 

Just like that, Bartholomew didn't know how to live his life. His grief counselor, Wendy, constantly urged him to go out and make friends. His longtime priest and mentor, Father McNamee, persistently told him to listen to God for any instructions. But Bartholomew wanted only two things: to have a beer with an age-appropriate friend at a bar and to have to a drink with a woman. "The woman." The Girlbrarian. As a result of philosophies telling Bartholomew that synchronicity is a pervasive force in the universe and that good and bad always balance each other out (i.e., the good luck of right now), our protagonist makes friends with Max and the Girlbrarian (who is his number one crush) and learns more about Cat Parliament than he ever expected to. But he also learned more about himself and what he is capable of.

What starts out as a sort of reliance on letters to Richard Gere and invoking his presence to overcome obstacles becomes a journey of self-discovery and confidence. Bartholomew Neil reminds me, in a way, of Forrest Gump with the exception of a higher intellect that happens to be shrouded in a lack of social skills. Bartholomew understands more than people assume of him--and in some ways, more than he assumes of himself--and his empathy is almost heartbreaking at times. You get glimpses into Bartholomew's past when his inner voice berates him and calls him names like "retard" and "moron," to the point where he almost believes it to be true.

This is a heartfelt book with humor and an interesting cast of supporting characters, even if they come off a bit flat at times in the book. Overall however, I enjoyed this novel. It was a bit of a "Quick" read (SEE WHAT I DID THERE???) which I attribute to the author's skilled writing style. The tone is somewhat casual and conversational, though that could be because it's written in first person. Either way, I liked it and I liked the ending (which isn't always the case with me). If you enjoy books featuring a protagonist you can really sympathize with and feel for, this may be your bag. If you don't like Richard Gere, don't read this. Because he is all over this book. Seriously. Richard Gere haters, heed my warning.

//Purchase this book on Amazon//

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