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.

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  • Karen  On January 20, 2013 at 11:32 pm

    I’m so proud of him too, Jane. I haven’t asked him yet, but I am hoping that he will autograph some books and donate them to our Silent Auction at the Gale Free Library for the fall, 2013. We’re having a large fundraiser in the hopes of raising $125,000. I’m sure you’ve heard.

  • Leslie  On January 21, 2013 at 3:08 am

    Great to hear the history of your relationship. Thanks, Jane. Les

  • zeldesse  On January 21, 2013 at 5:52 am

    Wow, klinkt goed, ik heb The Silver Linings Playbook meteen gereserveerd bij de bieb. Jammer dat er nog geen van zijn young adult boeken in het Nederlands vertaald zijn. Ben altijd op zoek naar goede boeken voor mijn dochter.

  • Jennifer  On January 21, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    There have been a lot of articles about him in the Telegram and Gazette lately. I don’t know if you still keep an eye on that paper. Your personal contact with him makes it an even more interesting story. Thanks for sharing. -Jennifer (Zabelle D’Amico’s daughter)

  • Annelies  On January 22, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    What a nice story Jane!

  •  On January 22, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Jane- Just wanted you to know that I sent this post to several people, all of whom also forwarded it. We talked about it at swimming this AM. marci still hadn’t seen it. I love having your blogs come directly nto my email. that way I can’t neglect to read them/be in touch with you. This was an especially great entry because of the local connection. Even tho’ he’s gotten press locally, I wasn’t interested until I reD YOUR ENTRY. SEVERAL PEOPLE HAVE NOTED HOW GREAT THEMOVIE WAS. I’LL GO TRY TO GET THE BOOK NOW. ZABELLE PS Went to Coatepec, Mexico last week on one of my husband’s eyecare missions. We took our 13 year old granddaughter. It was a great experience for her so I’m glad she was able to miss school in order to participate.

  • Jean Langley  On January 26, 2013 at 4:57 am

    I figured you knew this author. I just saw the movie this week, so now I’d like to read the book (I agree it’s better to do the reverse). My neighbor went with me and didn’t care for the movie, but I could see all the potential for discussions. I loved seeing Jennifer Lawrence in another role, too.
    How great that Quick has found success and an appreciative audience.

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