Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock- Matthew Quick

Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.

But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate, Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.

In this riveting look at a day in the life of a disturbed teenage boy, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.

My Goodreads rating: 4 stars

This book is one of those rare books that not only hits you really hard, but makes you think. The area of teenage mental illness is still a little blurred; it’s getting there, but accurate representation in literature still has a long way to go. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is book that encapsulates what it is like to be isolated, to be an outsider, to have no voice and to be eaten away by secrets. For that, and the in-depth look into Leonard’s thoughts as he plans to commit suicide, I seriously commend the book.

Not only was it harrowing to read, but it was so real. The book is a really quick read, I got it finished within a few hours. The writing is indicative of a young adult’s thought processes throughout his daily life, and because of this, his motivation for wanting to kill a classmate (and himself) takes its time to become clear. But this isn’t slow by any means. It kept me hooked, and I wanted to know exactly why Leonard felt like he needed to die.

“It’s my birthday today. No one remembered.”

When we think school shooters, we’re quick to diagnose the perpetrators as sub-human psychopaths, without considering their story first. I didn’t know what to think about Leonard when the book started, but I grew to understand him. And when you feel the pain the protagonist feels, it hurts. But that is why the book is so effective. If you have never experienced depression, then this book gives a very accurate run-down of how a depressed person thinks. It broke my heart.

End this.

Just pull the trigger.

Make it easier for everyone.

And the complicated relationships within the book, as well as the message in the end, all add to this book’s complexity. It’s well worth the read. My only complaint would be that at times, some of the characters come off as slightly unrealistic, John-Greeny (nothing against John Green, he’s super cool) and a little bit caricature-like. But despite this, the book left me reeling. Give it a try if you haven’t already read it. It’s just that important.

 


 

Somber review aside, the book is sooooo good. I honestly recommend it. That’s it for this review, thank you for reading!

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