I need to preface this review by saying I have not yet seen the movie version of this book, and am wary of doing so because the book was such a terrific experience, and I can't quite picture Bradley Cooper as the main character (although, oddly enough, even with the age difference, I can easily see Jennifer Lawrence as her character).As The Silver Linings Playbook opens, Pat Peoples is living with his parents after a stint in a psychiatric hospital. He has no job; his mother doles out his medication as if he were still in the hospital, and he works out frequently as part of his plan to get back together with his wife, Nikki, at the end of "apart time."Along the way, he reconnects with an old friend, who introduces him to his sister-in-law, Tiffany, who is having problems of her own after the death of her husband. Pat and Tiffany form a tentative friendship, but the closer he gets to Tiffany, the more Pat realizes there's more going on than his family has been telling him.What makes The Silver Linings Playbook such an incredible book isn't the plot -- it isn't really all that complicated, and you will probably see the big twist coming from a mile away -- but the realistic portrayal of how those with mental illness are treated by their families and friends. Pat's narration is almost childlike in its simplicity; he talks about his separation from his wife as "apart time" and has simplified his plan to get back together with his wife to an almost toddler-like rote schedule.Tiffany, on the other hand, is bristly, and where Pat is coddled and too protected by his family, Tiffany's family views her as a ticking time bomb. Quick has given her a vulnerability that pokes through even in the moments when you most want to hate her. Her treatment of Pat is raw, but at the same time, it's the desperation of two people trying to swim to the surface against the tide of their families' efforts to keep them in their niches of the "mentally unstable family member."