ABM Book Club: The Good Luck of Right Now

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June 30, 2014 by maddieswab

The Good Luck of Right Now

After not keeping up with the ABM book club for a few months, I was so excited to get back on board in June! And the book pick for this month was just what I needed–something quick that can be read by the pool and during downtime nannying, something inspiring, and something well-written. I absolutely loved The Good Luck of Right Now by Matthew Quick! I’m going to discuss some points in the book according to Emma’s discussion guide, so don’t read on if you haven’t finished the book because there will be spoilers! And feel free to leave me your thoughts about the book if you’ve read it–I’d love to hear what you think about it! (And if you wan to join in on the fun, July’s book is #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso, something I’ve been hearing so much about on social media!)

What about you? Do you ever struggle with self-doubt (a.k.a. the little angry man in your stomach)?

I definitely find that, like Bartholomew, I struggle with self-doubt all. the. time. I’m always second-guessing what decisions I make and thinking “Is this going to please so-and-so?” “Is this a ‘normal’ thing to do?” instead of just doing what feel is right and what want to do. Throughout the book, Bartholomew learns to stop doubting himself and to just go with his gut. This is something I can definitely adapt to my own life.

Did you find the characters in this story believable? We had a bipolar priest who loses his faith, a troubled man obsessed with cats who believes his sister was abducted by aliens, a young woman who had a terrible-sounding mother (feeding her daughter her own pet rabbits for a meal) and then experiences a lot of violence as an adult, and Bartholomew and his imaginary friend Richard Gere. Was it all too much for you? Or did you find the characters believable and charming?

While there are so many different characters with different lives and stories, I did find it believable. Not everything and everyone in life is cookie-cutter perfect, and I think that this was one thing that made the book really stand out to me. Every single person in this book has a different lesson you could learn from them (always protect the ones you love even if they don’t know you love them from Father McNamee, for example) and this made the book so inspirational to me.

Father McNamee is one of those characters who can only be described as complicated, right? He’s done so much good with his life, being a priest and seeking to help others as much as he can. But then we also find out he abandoned his family for this “selfless” life. What do you make of that?

I never really thought that Father McNamee abandoned his family. He was always there for Bartholomew’s mother and you could tell that they truly loved each other. And when Bartholomew’s mother died, Father McNamee did everything he could to help Bartholomew and help him navigate what to do with his life. While his motives weren’t always clear and he had an alcohol problem that ultimately resulted in his death, Father McNamee was selfless for helping the people in his church and still managing to be there for his family, instead of choosing one.

As the story unfolds, we discover the philosophy behind “the good luck of right now.” When something terrible happens, then something wonderful is happening elsewhere, and vice versa. This seems to give hope when bad things are happening (as you can be assured good is happening elsewhere or will happen to you later on), but this is bad news if something good is happening, as you can only assume something bad is happening elsewhere or will happen to you. What did you make of the good luck of right now? Is it another version of karma?

I feel like it’s kind of another version of karma. It actually made me feel a little comforted, like it made Bartholomew feel, to think that when something bad happens to me, something good happens to someone else; it’s another way of saying that everything happens for a reason, which is something I strongly believe in. While the thought that when something good happens to you, something bad happens to someone else is a little unsettling, that’s life. Not everyone is going to have great things happening to them all of the time and you just have to accept this and keep on living your life.

What did you think of Max’s assessment of Cat Parliament—the idea that these cats don’t contribute anything important to society anymore but people still take care of them? Of course it’s hard not to recognize how Max might think he and his sister (and perhaps Bartholomew) are like those cats. But also, what do you think of this idea anyway; is it kind or just mindless charity?

I think the idea of Cat Parliament is incredibly touching, but no very realistic for most things in life. It’s hard for most people to blindly put their time, energy, and money into something or someone that isn’t going to do anything with that input. It’s one thing to be charitable and help those who are going to in turn do something with what you give them, but it’s another thing to help someone who is just going to stay the same no matter what. I think we have to recognize that not everyone can be helped but that there are those (like Bartholomew, Max, and Max’s sister) that could really use some help and can better their lives and accomplish something if they only have a little help.

White denim: from destroyed jeans to cutoff shorts in just right white. Shop it at UrbanOutfitters.com.

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