A middle-aged man with a mental disability deals with the death of his mother through a series of letters he writes to Richard Gere. Bartholomew Neil, a 40-year-old man who copes with a mental disability, must learn to survive in the world without his mother, who has just suddenly died. Since Bartholomew has lived with his mother all of his life, he finds himself alone in the world--that is, save for his only friend, Father McNamee. The Father helps to comfort and guide Bartholomew towards a life of stability on his own. He does this by hiring Bartholomew a psychologist, urging him to participate in group therapy, meeting his new social goals, and finding his real father. All the while, readers learn of Bartholomew's struggles along his journey through his letters to Richard Gere, his late mother's favorite actor.
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Bartholomew's adventures on the road to emotional healing include his experiences with two psychologists, Wendy and Dr. Devine, his secret love interest whom he calls The Girlbrarian, and her brother Max, whom Bartholomew meets at his therapy group. Together with Father McNamee, The Girlbrarian, and Max, Bartholomew tracks down the identity of his real father, helping him to find peace about his mother's death and a new sense of independence.
By expressing his innermost thoughts to Richard Gere, Bartholomew survives the greatest tragedy of his life and even learns to thrive. A life that once seemed hopeless has a new glimmer of hope by the end of the novel.
Best part of story, including ending:
I loved the humor that Quick incorporates through Bartholomew's innocent and naive musings in his letters to Richard Gere.
Best scene in story:
In one scene, Max and Bartholomew have a drink at a bar after their therapy session. Bartholomew's foray into the social setting of a bar with the crass Max makes for a hilarious coming-of-age (albeit, a bit late in life) moment.
Opinion about the main character:
I found Bartholomew's ability to express raw emotions both in his letters to Richard Gere and in his verbal conversations with the other characters both endearing and comical.