Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
Author: Matthew Quick
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre/Themes: Contemporary, Social Issues, YA
Release Date: August 13th 2013
Page Count: 288
Format: Hardcover/Audio Book
“we can simultaneously be human and monster—that both of those possibilities are in all of us.”
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is one of those books that just took me by complete surprise. I didn’t do a lot of research before picking it up and I definitely hadn’t seen many people talk about it. I found it on sale and I decided to pick it up on a whim. I’m really glad that I did.
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.
What I Liked
The discussion of important social issues. I feel like I’ve been reading a lot of books recently that contain characters who are dealing with certain social or mental issues. I’m really glad to have been lucky enough to find multiple books that deal with these issues as I personally believe that they are extremely important. When I picked up Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, I figured that it might deal with some sort of mental illness as the synposis clearly mentions that Leonard is planning to kill a classmate and then himself. What I didn’t expect was for it to dive so deep into the reasoning behind his reasoning. I’ve read a few books now that deal with school shootings, and while they explore the perspectives of the students that are trapped throughout the school, they hardly ever tell to story from the perspective of the shooter. I am in no way implying that having the shooters reasoning justifies their actions, but I do like the idea of knowing why they are acting the way that they are. I love that this book explained Leonard’s life and issues in detail. Again, this doesn’t justify his desire to kill his classmate and then himself, but it does provide an insight into why Leonard is feeling this dark and hopeless.
The characters, major & minor. A lot of the characters throughout this book are problematic in their own way. I liked reading from Leonard’s perspective. I enjoyed learning about his lack of friends, his troubling past and his terrible home-life. I know that saying I enjoyed reading about these things might not be the best way to describe it, but it really added depth to his character. I liked reading about his relationship with his neighbour Walt and his Holocaust professor, Herr Silverman. All of Leonard’s interactions with these other characters helped to add more to his story.
The writing style. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock was extremely fast paced and I could not stop reading. Matthew Quick did an exceptional job in writing the voice of Leonard. He is definitely a memorable character with an even more memorable story.
What I Didn’t Like
The scenes with Lauren. I really don’t know why, but I just couldn’t stand any of the scenes with her. I know that these moments were important as Leonard thought that maybe finding faith in God might help him and his issues. I get why these scenes were included, but I just couldn’t stand Lauren. The interactions between her and Leonard were just a little awkward for me…
This book really surprised me. I didn’t really know what to expect going into it and it ended up surprising me in the best way possible. I look forward to reading more from Matthew Quick in the future!
About The Author
Matthew Quick is the New York Times bestselling author of several novels, including THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, which was made into an Oscar-winning film. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages and has received a PEN/Hemingway Award Honorable Mention, among other accolades. Matthew lives with his wife on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
Thank you for reading!