Rea­son You’re Alive is a feel-good ex­pe­ri­ence

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The Hamilton Spectator - - BOOKS - DAVID MARTINDALE Fort Worth Star-Tele­gram

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.

“The Rea­son You’re Alive” is Granger telling 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 “boohoo­ing” and “girly-man be­hav­iour,” but so be it.

Quick is adapt­ing his book into a screen­play. Film rights were sold last year to Mi­ra­max.

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