THE GOOD LUCK OF RIGHT NOW, by Matthew Quick. Harper, 284 pp., $25.99.
Matthew Quick, the author of "The Silver Linings Playbook" and several YA novels, has written another book for adults, "The Good Luck of Right Now." Fortunately it is already optioned by DreamWorks, and you can wait for the movie -- because the last thing you should ever do is read this deeply wacky book.
Written as a series of letters to Richard Gere after the protagonist's mother dies and he finds one of Gere's "Free Tibet" fundraising letters in her drawer, this book will certainly have a key role for that actor when it gets to the screen. At first, while his mother is still alive, Bartholomew decides to actually become Richard Gere "and give Bartholomew some well-deserved time off, if that makes any sense to you, Mr. Gere. Bartholomew had been working overtime as his mother's son for almost four decades. Bartholomew had been emotionally skinned alive, beheaded, and crucified upside down, just like his apostle namesake, according to various legends, only metaphorically -- and in the modern world of today and right now."
After the impersonation phase wraps up, the actor continues to appear to Bartholomew, who apparently has something wrong with him that has kept him home with Mom all his life, though he is too smart to be low-IQ and too empathetic to be autistic. The visiting shade of Gere says things like this: "Richard Gere knows everything about your life, Bartholomew, because Richard Gere lives at the heart of your mind, deep within, at the center of your consciousness."
In addition to this unique brand of spirituality, weird Christianity is a key feature of the book. For reasons that are supposed to be a mystery but you will figure out immediately, an alcoholic priest named Father McNamee moves in with him right after his mother's death. He leads Bartholomew and two new friends, a brother and sister who are "special" like he is, on a road trip to Canada to see the preserved heart of a martyred saint. The brother's specialness involves using the F-word so much that it makes his dialogue unreadable. As for the sister, Bartholomew puts it this way: "I am sorry you had to eat your pet rabbits and were abducted by aliens."
So what, after all, is the Good Luck of Right Now? According to Bartholomew's mother, it's the fact that "whenever something bad happens to us, something good happens -- often to someone else." No kidding! Well, look, in this case, Quick's characters suffer from domestic abuse, home invasion and gang rape -- and you get to read a silly book about it. Or better yet, wait for the movie.