From the author of The Silver Lining's Playbook comes a new story about a band of quirky misfits struggling to find their way in the world. When 38-year-old Bartholomew Neil loses his mother to cancer, he isn't quite sure how to cope. Bereft and alone in the world, his days are spent in the company of Wendy, his grief counselor, and Father McNamee, a priest at his church and a close friend of his mother.
After discovering a "free Tibet" letter from Richard Gere in his mother's room (she was a devoted fan), Bartholomew begins writing to the actor. At first, he recounts stories from his past, talking often about his mother and her illness. As his letters progress, they become less about the past as Bartholomew's life begins to gain momentum. He writes to Gere when Father McNamee abruptly defrocks himself and leaves the church in order to care for Bartholomew, how he moves in to Bartholomew's home and prays for hours on end, drinking full bottles of Jameson Irish Whiskey for reasons unknown to him. He begins to suspect that his grief counselor, Wendy, is involved in an unhealthy relationship. He finds a friend in Max, a man desperately upset over the death of his cat, at a group counseling session, and another in Max's sister, who just happens to be the "Girlbrarian" at his public library, a woman who caught his eye many months before for her extra-careful book handling and precise shelving habits.
After clues emerge that his biological father is alive and well in Montreal, the characters in Bartholomew's story begin to converge. The story takes shape as Bartholomew, Father McNamee, Max and the Girlbrarian embark on the trip of a lifetime to find Bartholomew's father and perhaps swing through Ottawa to see cat parliament (clearly Max's idea). At once hilarious and touching, this is a coming of age story that should not be missed. Matthew Quick's latest comes highly recommended by this "Girlbrarian".