“The Good Luck of Right Now” a book review by Michelle Welch

“The Good Luck of Right Now” – a book review by Michelle Welch

Bartholomew Neil is a thirty-eight-year-old man who has never lived away from his mother’s house when he is suddenly confronted with her death. Though he claims not to be grieving, he gathers a group of unlikely friends around him in the attempt to cope with his loss: a bipolar and alcoholic priest, a man with Tourette syndrome and his sister, who claims to have been abducted by aliens, and an imaginary version of Richard Gere, whose organization once sent his mother a letter about their campaign to free Tibet.

This connection, through Richard Gere, to Buddhism is what has brought Matthew Quick’s novel The Good Luck of Right Now to the attention of some Buddhists, including the book reviewer for the Shambhala Sun. Bartholomew looks at Buddhism from the outside, an unusual trait of his imaginary actor friend, even as he internalizes some of Buddhism’s themes. He calls on lessons in compassion as he tries to comfort the troubled people around him. He describes his lingering feelings of self-doubt as an angry little man in his stomach calling him a failure. And he ultimately gains his greatest comfort from his mother’s philosophy in the good luck of right now: trusting the goodness and balance of the present moment. Quirky, funny, and poignant, the novel is a meditation on grief and happiness.