The Reason You're Alive
By Matthew Quick
Harper. 240 pp. $25.99
Reviewed By David Martindale
In The Reason You're Alive, Matthew Quick performs a nifty literary magic trick.
The author of The Silver Linings Playbook introduces readers to David Granger, a politically incorrect Vietnam veteran who takes pride in the fact that he's basically too ornery to die.
By book's end, everyone will wind up loving the camouflage-wearing, knife-carrying sociopath.
Turns out he's really not such a bad guy once you get to know him.
Granger tells us his life story: going rogue and committing atrocities in the Vietnam jungle, coming home to a military psychiatric facility, marrying a woman more unstable than he is, and always at odds with his now-grown, "ignorant" liberal, art-dealer son.
Our protagonist ultimately goes on a mission to atone for an old transgression. He feels compelled to return a knife he stole nearly 50 years ago from his Vietnam nemesis: Clayton Fire Bear.
When readers make it to the Capra-esque final pages, they are almost certain to shed a feel-good tear or two. Our hero would bust their chops for all the "boo-hooing" and "girly-man behavior," but so be it.
This review originally appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.