DRAMA ROMANCE FAMILY
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, CHARLIE BARTLETT, TOUCHED WITH FIRE
• MAGGIE HOVIS: 20S, MANIC, OVERACHIEVER, DAMAGED
• SAM: 20S, CUTE, NORMAL, INFLEXIBLE, MAGGIE’S EX-FIANCÉ
• NICK: 20S, GORGEOUS, SUCCESSFUL, SUPPORTIVE, MAGGIE’S LOVE INTEREST
• STEPH: 20S, SWEET, FUN, MAGGIE’S COUSIN AND BEST FRIEND
• AMY: 30S, PRACTICAL, TALENTED, MAGGIE’S SISTER-IN-LAW AND FRIEND
• ELLA: DECEASED, FAMILY SECRET, MENTALLY ILL, MAGGIE’S GREAT AUNT
Law student Maggie Hovis battles an enemy she cannot escape—her own brain. When her fiancé moves out, she knows there is only one way to get him back—control her moods.
Target Gender: Universal
Based on a True Story
Status: Yes: with a Publisher
Publisher: Black Opal Books
Year Published: 2014
After suffering through her mood swings, Maggie's fiancé,Sam moves out when she throws a shoe at him. The only way to get him back—control her moods. She defies her family & enters therapy. Her diagnosis kicks of a journey into family secrets & mentally ill relatives, convincing her she is defective
Maggie learns bipolar 2 disorder is not curable but manageable. It doesn't define her or make her unlovable. She learns Sam couldn't see beyond the disorder, but Nick loves all of her. She forgives her family, knowing they didn't abandon Ella in a mental hospital.Ella was just a victim of her time.
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Hard Copy Available
Mature Audience Themes
Plot - Other Elements
Meaningful Message, Twist, Philosophical Questions, Happy Ending,,Happy Ending,Philosophical Questions
Plot - Premise
Main Character Details
Name: Maggie Hovis
Key Traits: Secretive, Modest, Faithful, Educated, Crazy, Desperate, Beautiful, Complex, Insecure, Sexy, Honorable,Adventurous,Aspiring,Charming,Sexy,Complex,Engaging,Honorable,Strong Moral Code,Insecure,Underdog
Additional Character Details
Name: Nick DeCarlo
Key Traits: Charming, Beautiful, Complex, Engaging, Confident, Educated, Masculine, Badass, Heartthrob, Honorable, Sexy, Skillful, Blunt, Unapologetic, Romantic, Sophisticated, Seductive, Decisive, Empathetic, Funny, Perseverance,Masculine,Modest,Complex,Confident,Sexy,Decisive,Blunt,Engaging,Faithful,Funny,Romantic,Heartthrob,Educated,Honorable,Unapologetic
Additional Character Details
Name: Stephanie Hovis
Key Traits: Outspoken, Adventurous, Beautiful, Charming, Confident, Educated, Faithful, Funny, Unapologetic, Blunt, Decisive, Sexy, Romantic,Charming,Complex,Confident,Decisive,Engaging,Empathetic,Educated
Additional Character Details
Name: Amy Hovis
Key Traits: Gracious, Honorable, Leader, Perseverance, Selfless, Strong Moral Code, Empathetic, Faithful, Blunt,Adventurous,Aspiring,Modest,Charming,Complex,Confident,Sexy,Decisive,Blunt,Empathetic,Engaging,Outspoken,Faithful,Educated,Honorable,Strong Moral Code,Leader,Unapologetic
Fans of Silver Linings Playbook will like this story. Bipolar 2 Disorder is the little know step sister of Bipolar Disorder. More and more people are coming forward acknowledging their struggle with this mental health disorder. This book is about a smart woman who must come to terms with her diagnosis and learn that she is more than a diagnosis. Many films about mental illness portray the dramatic symptoms of the illness and grave scenes of mental hospitals. This story was written to show that people with mental illness can be successful and have fulfilling lives. If this story is made into a film, it would present mental illness in a different light. One that offers hope and ultimately helps end the stigma that surrounds mental illness.
Maggie Hovis's life changes when she is finally correctly diagnosed with Bipolar 2. She is able to graduate law school and reunite with her true love, who happens to be a man who is not her fiance. In her research she finds out a long complex family history of mental illness and hopes her treatment will be different.
Authors Writing Style: GOOD
Franchise Potential: FAIR
Accuracy of Book Profile
Yes the book profile accurately portrays Maggie as becoming successful in life despite the misconceptions and stigma of her mental illness diagnosis. There is a typo in the short summary where "of" should be "off."
Draw of Story
Maggie's first hand account of her episodes as a sufferer of Bipolar 2 were quite intriguing. The comparison between her acceptance and the prior treatment of her great aunt in the past work well to show the progress in treating mental illness, but accurately reflect how much work is left to do in the medical field and against social stigmas.
The idea that Nick is the end goal feels rushed as he does not become a major competition player until far later in the book. It is difficult to understand why the family is so callous and secretive about their history of mental illness without examples of the ramifications of why it must be kept secretive in the modern era where less stigma exists.
Use of Special Effects
THE STORY DOES NOT RELY ON SPECIAL EFFECTS
Primary Hook of Story
The hook is that Maggie is actively seeking to mental health to realign her life. Having mental illness, one's own brain be the protagonist, is a fresh take on the self v. self conflict and a highly intriguing antagonist.
This could have quite a large fanbase as it would appeal to most adults, but with adults suffering not only from mental health issues but the stigma around mental health. It deals with a social issue that is relevant but personal.
Yes given the proper representation the social issue of getting proper treatment for mental illness and reducing the stigma this could be catnip to the awards circuit. Maggie's "two sides" provide a rich texture to her character that is then further deepened in range for the actor via their brain's adaptation to normalcy with medication. There are a lot of acting parts full of nuance that could garner acting awards. The period piece portion of Ella also adds potential for the same acting reasons as well as design elements.
Similar Films/TV Series
SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, HOMELAND, THE HOURS, GIRL INTERRUPTED, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, STILL ALICE
What’s New About the Story
The originality of the story is showing the evolution of mental health treatment along with its stigma and the normal life of Maggie as a person with mental illness.
Maggie is interesting in becoming her own self-advocate and her kindness in bringing her family healing over their history of mental illness and its treatment within their ranks. She is very driven and accomplished which makes her episodes chilling despite also being a part of her.
Uniqueness of Story
This could be a rare gem as mental illness is rarely shown so positively while not taking away the struggles of the illnesses. However, the idea of a fulfilling life having to include a male partner as the ultimate climax is less original.
Film - Indie, Film - Streaming, Film - Studio
WORK IN PROGRESS
While the story has many positive points, it has room for improvement (see possible paths below). If you can't change the story at this point, my suggestion is using your notes as a guide to highlight the best aspects of it when taking the next steps, either putting a pitch page together, a treatment, or a presentation.
Tips for Improvement
The side characters would need more agency and Maggie deserves a climax greater than a romantic partner as her ultimate goal for a fulfilling life. Further explanation as to why the family and others place such a stigma on mental health would also help explain the family problems more easily.
A smart and high strung law student, suffers from wild mood swings that have alienated her from others. Upon learning she suffers from Bipolar Disorder, she has to come to terms with her heredity and embrace a healthier life.
What We Liked
- The book comes at the subject of mental illness in a realistic and relatable way. Treating a stigmatized subject with grace and aplomb takes a special sort of approach. This author gets it right.
- This would also be perfect as a romantic drama in a film adaptation. Not only is the love story appealing, but the focus on mental illness provides a top notch character arc for a leading lady.
- The story could be adapted into a limited run television series that would not only be entertaining, but could bring awareness to the fact that every day people can suffer from mental illness and still be contributing members of society.
- Key points: Well researched; Brings awareness of mental illness; Strong female leads; Marketable; Positive ending
Maggie Hovis is a smart and ambitious law student. She suffers from extreme mood swings that interfere with her relationships. After throwing a shoe at her fiancé, Sam, she comes home one day to find him moving out of their apartment. He can longer handle her unpredictability and breaks up with her. She knows that her only chance of winning Sam back is to get her moods under control which won’t be an easy task.
Heartbroken over the break up, Maggie confides in her sister-in-law, Amy. She recommends that Maggie see her therapist friend, Karen. The therapist suspects that Maggie is suffering from bipolar disorder and refers her to a psychiatrist. He confirms the diagnosis of Bipolar 2 Disorder and starts Maggie on medication right away.
Maggie starts to feel loads better and begins to pull her life together. There is mental illness throughout her family tree and she identifies closely with her cousin, Justin, who also suffers from the same disorder. Justin tells her that she won’t ever be able to have a normal life because of her defective genes. She takes him at his word.
As Maggie opens up to her Great Aunts, Mildred and Rose, about the illness, she learns of their hidden sister, Ella. She was kept a secret from the extended family since she suffered from mental illness and lived her entire life in a mental institution. Maggie becomes a bit obsessed with Ella and her life and plans to honor her with a special cemetery headstone once she receives her first paycheck as a lawyer.
Maggie’s cousin and best friend, Steph, tries to convince her to forget about Sam. Steph reminds Maggie of Nick, a gorgeous guy with whom she had a summer fling. Maggie feels that he is completely out her league and writes him off.
Nick comes back into the picture just as Maggie is about to graduate from law school. He is in love with her and wants to continue their relationship where they left off. Maggie, thinking she is still in love with Sam, rebuffs Nick and breaks his heart.
Maggie sets up a meeting with Sam in hopes of winning him back. Though Sam is happy that Maggie has a diagnosis and is much better now, he is engaged to someone else and not willing to take a chance on her. After some soul searching, Maggie realizes that she is really in love with Nick and she has been all along. She apologizes for breaking his heart. Nick accepts Maggie just the way she is and they happily reconcile.
With Nick and her family and friends in tow, Maggie has Ella’s headstone set. This is a cathartic act for Maggie and it brings some comfort and closure for the entire family. Though she isn’t cured, Maggie can now control her moods and looks forward to a healthy and happy future.