Title: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
Author: Matthew Quick
Genre: Young Adult | Contemporary
Summary:Leonard Peacock is turning 18. And he wants to say goodbye.
Not to his former best friend, whose torments have driven him to consider committing something tragic and horrific.
Nor to his mum who’s moved out and left him to fend form himself. But to his four friends.
A Humphrey-Bogart-obsessed neighbour
A teenage violin virtuoso
A pastor’s daughter
Most of the time, Leonard believes he’s weird and sad but these friends have made him think that maybe he’s not.
He wants to thank them, and bid them farewell.
Final Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
AimalReads Review (Spoiler-Free!)
I went into this book, pretty much completely blind. I knew it had something to do with a suicidal teen/mental health, but that was about it. And this was my first Matthew Quick novel, even though I’ve been wanting to pick up Silver Linings since I don’t even know when! It’s safe to say that I wasn’t disappointed. The plot was fantastic, gripping, heartbreaking and everything was done right. There aren’t many characters, because we are focused almost solely on the protagonist, but this was done right too. So although this was my first Matthew Quick novel, it probably won’t be my last. Remind me to go out and pick up Silver Linings ASAP!
The plot was gripping. You know that our main character has his grandfather’s P-38, and he’s about to kill his former best friend, and later, himself. As the novel progresses, you get to know what led him to this decision. As the novel progresses, the things that happen to Leonard break you because even though you know he’s about to kill someone, you can’t help but feel for him. There are several story lines (not necessarily intricate, because this is a fairly short novel) that take place in the form of flashbacks. Then there are letters from the future, and they are absolutely heart-breaking.
I will say that this novel is not a light-read, AT ALL. It deals with several hard-hitting ideas like suicide and abuse and depression. It discusses morality and religion, albeit humorously. It contains a lot of meaning, a lot of emotion, but it comes with a guarantee of tears and bouts of sadness.
There weren’t a lot of characters in this novel, and the ones that did exist only interacted with Leonard. With possibly any other book, I would have disliked this, but it works with this novel. Matthew Quick makes us focus on the main character and puts him in a very bright spotlight. He drags you through the inner workings of the protagonist’s mind, his experiences, his decisions. The interactions with other characters were very, very sad. And you see this from the first thirty pages! Having said that, Leonard Peacock himself was a great character! He was far from perfect. I don’t think I’ve liked a main character this much when the author has intended him to be so full of flaws. With Leonard Peacock, you are forced to look at the realities of life, the realities of human nature and you are forced to think about yourself within those realities. It’s kind of hard-hitting, but I think that was the point of the book. Also, I really enjoyed the teacher-student dynamic going on in the book, and I think a lot of books (especially YA books) miss that relationship between a mentor and a student. The last time I saw such a relationship was in ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ and that’s one of my favorite novels ever, so maybe this book and its character reminded me of that.
Matthew Quick’s writing is the epitome of the type of writing I like. It’s dark, gritty, humorous, straightforward, economical, brief yet packed with emotion. Of course, this is entirely subjective and some people probably don’t like this kind of writing at all. But again, it was very Stephen Chbosy-esque, and it might be crappy to compare the two, but I don’t think so. Because Stephen Chbosky convinced me of his amazing writing skills with one book, and so did Matthew Quick. But whereas Chbosky doesn’t have other books, Quick does and that’s a great thing!
Would I Recommend? Not nearly enough!
Would I Re-read? Absolutely.