Six years ago I was approached by a college student about teaching a writing class. I was the director of a public library and was always interested in free programs for adults and this student proposed a short story course for adults. He needed to do this class in order to finalize his graduation with a Master’s degree. It was a win win situation for us both and after checking out his references, I agreed to his proposal. This student was very charming, bright and determined to do a good job. Once the class started, I learned how much the participants loved not only the class, but their teacher. This teacher, who was already teaching in a school elsewhere, had a dream of being an author. At this time, I had no idea how good he was, as a writer. But he had such a passion for writing, for writers and for great books. I liked him and kept in contact with him, via email, as he went back to his job and other life.
That student wrote a novel and got it published. He emailed me his big news. He asked if I wanted to see a preview of his book, months before it was coming out to the public. I was eager to read it and also, I admit, nervous. He could have been the nicest guy in the world, but what if the book was not any good? Or what if it was not the kind of book that I would enjoy? I had nothing to worry about. I read the book as soon as it arrived and I fell in love with it. I embraced the characters and the entire story.
This student was Matthew Quick and the book was THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK. I could not wait for this book to be published, as I was going to talk about this to anyone would listen. I ordered multiple copies of the book for our library and was ready for its arrival.
After the book came out, I invited Matt back to the library to talk about the book. We had two discussion groups who met to talk about his book. The passion never left Matt, it just got bigger. It is so much fun to see the excitement of a first time novelist and it is so satisfying to see such genuine and sincere talent. Since then, he has had two more books published, both of them young adult novels (that are perfect for adults to read): SORTA LIKE A ROCK STAR and BOY21.
And now the movie…by now you all know about the film THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK. If you have read the book, you know that there are differences with the screenplay, but the story remains the same. The characters are true to the original novel. I think David O. Russell did a great job adapting the screenplay, and the bottom line is that it all started with Matt. He created the plot and the characters. Russell brought the book to life on the screen and the whole shebang is quite wonderful. I wish everyone would read the book first and then see the movie, but I know that some people will do the reverse, and that is okay too.
All I can tell you is that I am so proud of Matt, not just because he is super talented, but also because he has handled this fast moving train of stardom so well. He keeps writing, he wants to tell stories and how lucky for us that he has more books coming out. In August of 2013, his next young adult book will be published: FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK. His next adult novel does not come out until the spring of 2014, but the film rights have already been purchased by DreamWorks, and that is THE GOOD LUCK OF RIGHT NOW. What a perfect title for what is going on right now for Matt, except it was not just luck but his hard work and storytelling talent that got him where he is right now. There is a lot of buzz right now swirling around him, and that is to be expected. But anyone who knows Matt, knows that he is eager to get back to writing again. And we will just wait for the next story to come from his mind and his heart.