[Review] The Good Luck of Right Now - Matthew Quick

Title of Book: The Good Luck of Right Now
Author: Matthew Quick
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Year: 2014
Language: English
Format: Paperback
Pages: 304

“Funny, touching, wise and ultimately life-affirming, The Good Luck of Right Now is quite possibly the greatest feel-good misfit road story I’ve had the good luck to read.” —GARTH STEIN, AUTHOR OF THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN
For almost four decades, Bartholomew Neil has done nothing but live with his mom. When she begins calling him Richard—for reasons unknown—and then dies, Bartholomew is woefully unprepared. A clue comes in the form of a “Free Tibet” letter he finds in his mother’s underwear drawer, and so Bartholomew awkwardly starts his new life, writing Richard Gere a series of highly intimate fan letters. Jung’s theory of synchronicity, the mystery of women, the Dalai Lama’s teachings, alien abduction, cat telepathy and the Catholic Church are all explored in depth by Bartholomew’s epistles—but mostly the letters outline one man’s heartbreakingly earnest attempt to assemble a family of his own.
A struggling priest, a “girlbrarian,” her foul-mouthed brother and Richard Gere (well, sort of) join the quest. In a rented Ford Focus, they travel to Canada in search of Bartholomew’s biological father and end up finding so much more.


Bartholomew Neil has been living with his mother and taking care of her his whole life. Then his mother got terminally ill and died, leaving him unprepared with no job and no friend besides a priest called Father McNamee from the church that his mother and he used to go to. Grieving and nearing the age of 40, Bartholomew was appointed to see a grief counselor named Wendy. After a few sessions, he had a new goal in life, have a drink with people his age and go on a date with a girl he saw at the library whom he called the girlbrarian. Things started to take turn when Father McNamee held another Mass in Bartholomew’s mother’s honor and decided to defrock himself. Father McNamee left the church and lived with Bartholomew instead. Apart from this, Wendy suggested Bartholomew to join a group session with another counselor named Arnie. There he met a man named Max who recently lost his cat. Bartholomew formed an unexpected bond with Max and managed to tick off one of his life goal. He went on an adventure with Max, Max’s sister, and Father McNamee to meet his biological father and help fulfilling Max’s dream.

The Good Luck Right Now is written in epistolary form. Each chapter is a letter addressed to Richard Gere. This started when Bartholomew’s mother’s condition degraded and she kept calling him Richard. Bartholomew figured that the Richard her mother meant was Richard Gere after he found a letter to the actor in his mother’s underwear drawer. So he made Richard Gere his confidant by writing letters to him. Though it’s unclear whether or not he actually posted the letter, his letters are honest and raw. From his letters we can see his attempt at figuring life and finding people to share it with. It’s touching and heartbreaking at the same time. We can’t help but feel for him as he explained the meaning of his mother’s theory, the good luck of right now.
We don’t know anything. But we can choose how we respond to whatever comes our way. We have a choice always. Remember that!
Other than Bartholomew, there are also other characters with their own quirks. There is Father McNamee, who can’t seem to stop drinking and praying after leaving the pastoral life, probably filled with the guilt of a secret that he has been keeping for years. There is Wendy, the grief counselor slash student who has her own problem and actually in need of rescuing herself. There is Max who has deep affection towards feline species and has to insert profanity in every sentence coming out from his mouth. Then there’s Max’s sister whom we’ll find out later is someone that Bartholomew already knew. These misfits found solace in one another and connected to each other adorably.

Overall this book in my opinion is charming and touching. The relationship between Bartholomew and his mother is moving and heartbreaking at times. Other than that, the mystery of who Bartholomew’s father is, kept me guessing with little hints here and there throughout the book. The Good Luck of Right Now is the book that you need to read if you’re looking for a heartwarming read. Bartholomew’s story might help you realize that whenever something bad happens to you, there’s still good out there.
The word normal would lose all of its meaning if it didn’t have an opposite.

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