Completely narrated in letters to Richard Gere, this story of a man's journey of self-discovery unfurls story by story. Bartholomew is a little slow-minded and he's never had a job besides taking care of his mother, but at 38 years old he's got to stand on his own now that brain cancer has taken her. And in the course of grief counseling - and a major roadtrip adventure - his horizons begin to expand.
The book's very funny, but a little sad, and also philosophical. Bartholomew does lots of research at the library, so even though the angry man in his stomach sometimes calls him retarded, he's also thoughtful about Buddhism and Tibet (Gere's interests) and his own Catholic upbringing.
Author Matthew Quick has become a prominent voice for mental illness awareness and social understanding because he's such a master at putting the reader inside the head of his unusual and broken characters. This is the third book of his that I've read, and each has been wonderful and eye-opening for me in terms of compassion and empathy.
I really enjoyed this book and was engrossed from start to finish. It's a fairly fast read, but the story and characters will stick with you long after the final page.