Luck is a very elusive word, it drives people to do a lot of crazy and unbelievable things. In Matthew Quick’s epistolary novel, The Good Luck of Right Now, it is the philosophy behind his character’s interactions as they go about their day-to-day lives after experiencing a hearth-wrenching loss.
The novel centers on Bartholomew Neil and how he copes with life after his mother’s passing, he is 39 years old and has been taking care of her most of his adult life. He grieves with the help of his counselor, Wendy, his family’s pastor, Fr. McNamee and, Richard Gere, yes the Richard Gere of Pretty Woman fame. Bartholomew writes letters to Richard Gere chronicling his life as he struggles to find meaning and consolation; he crushes on The Girlbrarian (Elizabeth), attends therapy with her foul-mouthed brother, Max; and reads the Dalai Lama’s and Carl Jung’s works in his spare time. His life is relatively simple but when life throws him unexpected curveballs, his routines are challenged and his adventure begins.
Throughout the novel, Matthew Quick emphasizes synchronicity and that everything Bartholomew does has meaning, purpose and coincidence. He crushes on The Girlbrarian only to find out her brother is Max, his friend from therapy; Fr. McNamee defrocks and takes on the role of a spiritual guide and father-figure. His life just jives and falls into place as if by coincidence, purpose or meaning.
Another aspect Matthew Quick tunes into in his novel is the idea of pretension, not pretension to do harm but to do good and to help people. All his life, Bartholomew has to pretend being Richard Gere for the sake of his dying mother, the Girlbrarian has to pretend for her simple-minded brother Max that aliens did something bad to her. Beyond these pretenses are lies that each character had to build on to live their life, to continue living in a world that seems to abandon imperfect beings. The message is strong and it resonates with the way we too have to build walls to hide our own imperfections and try to find a semblance and order in this vast world.
Once again, Matthew Quick has created a story filled with interesting, troubled but kind and big-hearted characters. Their stories send out a message that things do happen for a reason and nothing ever happens by chance. Our lives, no matter how dull, boring and mundane it is, something remarkable does indeed happen. Our own demons and tragedies may cause us to fall but there are people, who by sheer coincidence or luck, happen to come into our lives, pick us up and make us walk again. The story also connected to me personally, since I know the emptiness that comes after someone has passed away. It is hard and really a struggle but the people who come after that death renew and remind us that life goes on and we can only accept and enjoy what we have.