Discussion Questions

Spoiler alert: If you haven’t read the book yet, you may not want to read on.

1. If you had to be a character in THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, who would choose and why?

2. Pat thinks his life is a movie produced by God, destined to end happily, because most romantic comedies do. In sharp contrast, Pat discovers that great works of American literature almost always end on a sad note. Why are so many classic reads depressing?

3. No doubt, Pat is different. Discuss the individual ways other characters react to his idiosyncrasies. What motivates each character? In what ways can Pat be viewed as a barometer?

4. Pat gets swept up in Philadelphia’s love affair with the Eagles. How does the author use sports fanaticism as a metaphor, and what other modern preoccupations could you plug into the equation? What do your obsessions (both good and bad) say about your mental health? How do they affect your familial relationships?

5. Does Pat’s relationship with his therapist, Cliff Patel, challenge or reaffirm your view of therapy?

6. When Pat was teaching and coaching full time he was not a good husband.  Living with his parents gives Pat a chance to work on his character and affords him the ability to treat Tiffany much better than he treated Nikki. Would Pat continue being a better man if he acquired a full-time job? Is personal happiness always pitted squarely against one’s career, or are there exceptions?

7. On Pat’s road to recovery he learns to dance. How does the Dance Away Depression competition open Pat up to the healing process?

8. Pat thinks his reunion with Danny on Christmas is a miracle. Regardless of whether you believe in miracles, has serendipity ever played a role in your life? Have you had chance encounters that made you ponder fate?

9. Pat practices being kind rather than right. What do you think of his mantra? Are ‘being kind’ and ‘being right’ mutually exclusive?

10. Both Tiffany and Pat’s mother try to make Pat face his problems head-on, but they each employ very different tactics. Discuss their approaches. Considering Tiffany’s past and the state of Mr. and Mrs. Peoples’ marriage, why do Tiffany and Mom treat Pat the way they do?

11. Exercise plays an important role in the lives of Pat and Tiffany. Is their preoccupation with exercise healthy? Do you think there is a connection between mental health and physical health?

12. Some readers say they laughed all the way through TSLP. Others say they cried all the way through. What was your response? Why do you think TSLP provokes a wide range of emotions?

(There is an additional reading guide on Macmillan’s website.)