Originally at The Secret Life of a Bookworm
When I first started reading this book, I wasn't sure whether I was actually going to like it or not. It took me about 50 pages before I actually started connecting with the story line and the characters, and then I started to really enjoy this book.
The story follows our main character Pat who was in a psychiatric hospital for a while, and he's finally being allowed to go home. Pat is determined to change himself and become a better person so that he can reconcile with his wife Nikki. And then Pat meets Tiffany. Tiffany becomes a sort of friend for Pat, and then Tiffany gives Pat something he's been wanting for ages - a way to connect with his wife, and Pat will do whatever it takes to get that chance.
So, like I said, it took me a while to get interested in the story. It all came down to Pat though. His whole life before he went in to the psychiatric hospital was a mystery to us. The reader (and Pat) has no idea why he was put into the psychiatric hospital and what the reasons behind Nikki's absence are. I was very intrigued by Pat. He had an unhealthy obsession with exercising to get himself in shape and keep fit which led him to exercising for hours every day. He also had an unhealthy obsession with doing things that would make Nikki proud to be with him. He read all the books on her class syllabus, and it worried me how deep his obsession went. There was clearly something that he wasn't being told and something that was being hidden from him, which made me think that something definitely happened between him and Nikki before he ended up in the hospital. Don't get me wrong, I thought Pat was a sweet character. He was naive, emotional and such a nice guy, he just had some unhealthy obsessions.
And then we have Tiffany. Boy, is she one messed up chick. She'd fly off the handle sometimes and I'd be sitting there like, 'Whoa, was that really necessary?'. But she was good for Pat. Everyone was always warning him against Tiffany, and sure, she did some crazy and messed up stuff. But in the end, she helped Pat a hell of a lot throughout the book. She was there for him; she motivated him and most of all, she helped him move on. Tiffany lost her husband and dealt with her grief the wrong way, but her friendship with Pat not only helped him, it helped her a lot too.
Football was a major part of this book. I'm not a massive football fan, and it did annoy me how much this book was centered around it but it was major part of the book and Pat's family. Pat really only has a relationship with his brother and his father through their shared love of the Philadelphia Eagles. Anytime the Eagles lost, Pat's dad would have a fit and refuse to talk to his son of his wife. I felt so bad for Pat that his relationship with his father relied on the the Eagles winning their games.
The Eagles were what also connected Pat to his therapist Cliff. They maintained a professional and a personal relationship. Cliff was a fantastic therapist and he definitely helped Pat a lot.
I was annoyed at the amount of secrets that Pat's family were keeping from him. They were constantly lying to him and giving each other weird looks, so I knew that things were worse that Pat thought. He'd been away for much longer that he thought, so there were a lot of things that his family were keeping hidden. I think Pat would have been able to deal with it all if they'd introduced it slowly instead of lying to him. But I do understand why they did it.
The big reveal of what Pat did to get himself into a psychiatric hospital was shocking. I understood why his brain blocked it out, because it was a major source of pain for him. It broke his heart, and he almost did something unforgivable. But I'm glad that Pat managed to remember everything, and start to move on with his life.
I was so happy at the end that everything managed to work out. I'm positive that Pat will be able to get his life back on track and his obsessions will die down, and he'll be able to lead a normal life again.
Overall, this was such an amazing book. I loved finding out about Pat and Tiffany and seeing their journey throughout the book. It's was brilliant.