Hello, and welcome to Blogging A to Z 2017! Thanks for stopping by. Fellow A to Z-ers, please make sure to leave a link to your blog in the comments.
My theme this month is 26 of the Best Characters in Fiction.
The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, is a great story. The thing I liked most about this story was that it portrayed characters with mental health issues as the heroes of the story. No one comes in and saves them; they save themselves (or one another).
Pat has just gotten out of the mental hospital, and is obsessed with getting his ex-wife back. He and Tiffany are the outsiders, the crazy people that everyone in the neighborhood knows. Eventually they enter a dance competition together. Practicing together every day, they become friends.
They both do things that are problematic through the story, things not usually worthy of “real” heroes. But the point is that they’re both struggling under the weight of mental illnesses, and they’re doing the best they can to survive in a world that doesn’t get it.
When I read reviews about this book, no one mentions Tiffany, and I love her. Here’s why… Tiffany has borderline personality disorder. I’ve provided a link to what that actually means if you’re interested in the diagnosis. But in a nutshell, it means that she struggles with relationships. She wants love, is desperate for it, but pushes people away. She’s done impulsive things that have gotten her all sorts of labels (crazy, slut, etc.). She hurts herself, and looks for something, anything to fill up the emptiness.
No one ever portrays people with this disorder in a positive light, a human light. Even therapists, for some reason, often look down on people with this disorder. I mean, in real life, it’s true that someone with this disorder can be exhausting for those around them. But no one wants to be that way.
Advocacy for the destigmatization of mental illness is becoming more and more common. But while most people are aware of autism and schizophrenia and substance abuse disorders, borderline personality disorder (BPD) is one of those scary illnesses that no one seems to talk about.
Brace yourself for what I’m about to say… I liked the book, but I loved the movie. Maybe it was because Jennifer Lawrence really sold Tiffany, and her onscreen chemistry with Pat (played by Bradley Cooper) was wonderful. When they argued, sparks flew. And the sweet ending was exactly what they both deserved.
Neither of them are perfect characters, and no one is trying to pretend they are. But they’re human and worthy of having stories where they’re not the villain or a punchline.
If you’re interested in a memoir about this disorder, I can recommend two: Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl by Stacy Pershall, and Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder by Rachel Reiland.
Tiffany sounds really interesting. I never heard of the book or the movie, however.
I think I came across the movie on Netflix one night. Every once in awhile, I get lucky like that.
Having known a couple of people with BPD, i agree, they deserve to recover as much as they can and live happy lives.
I just know lots of people around me have a mental illness. But everyone accepts them as eccentric or brilliant or funny. I like the way this story kinda (kinda) mainstreams mental illness as something for us to work with. And dancing–love stories about dancing.
I saw this pop up on Netflix a while back and wasn’t sure about watching. After hearing your review it convinced me to watch it! 🙂
I absolutely loved this movie..and yeah I agree, Jennifer really sold the role. The chemistry was amazing as well. Social stigmas around mental health issues is a big problem in our day and time and people don’t seem to be talking enough about it. Thanks for sharing. Enjoyed reading your post.
Check out my recent post on Social Stigmas
And my post for the letter T: Travelogue
[…] Silver Linings Playbook, by Matthew Quick I talked about this one during my A to Z blog, so I’ll be brief. But I liked this one because Pat just got out of the mental hospital and […]