Review: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

2 September, 2013 Reviews 9 comments

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew QuickForgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
Series: Standalone
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on August 13th 2013
Pages: 288
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Amazon Good BooksBook Depository

In addition to the P-38, there are four gifts, one for each of my friends. I want to say good-bye to them properly. I want to give them each something to remember me by. To let them know I really cared about them and I'm sorry I couldn't be more than I was—that I couldn't stick around—and that what's going to happen today isn't their fault.

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 book, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.

Recently, I’ve been reading really depressing books that have both horrified and fascinated me. But out of all of them, Charm and Strange and now Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock takes the cake for tackling tough, taboo issues. In this case, suicide. Now, the last suicide book I’ve read was Thirteen Reasons Why and this book can easily be compared to that. But instead of the story being told from tapes from the deceased and another MC, Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is told play-by-play from Leonard himself. His voice is real, broken, hurt, confused and relatable. He wants to be seen, remembered. He wants people to acknowledge his existence. So on his 18th birthday he takes his grandfather’s war gun trophy and sets out to kill his former best friend and himself.

When we are introduced to Leonard, he immediately fills the reader in on his plans, though the ultimate reason why is revealed along the course of his day as he gives away personal items or gifts to four people he regularly interacts with. While Leonard calls them friends, we find that this doesn’t accurately describe those relationships. Two mostly tolerate or accept his presence in their routine, but unlike most of his peers, they communicate with him in some way despite being weirded out by his differences. Leonard is vastly different from his classmates and that is quickly apparent in his reasonings and speech. He sees the world and challenges things normal teenagers wouldn’t think about. This doesn’t do Leonard any favors regarding his popularity, but he brushes this off as ignorance on their part.

The thing about Leonard is that he’s such a smart character, but he never comes across as pretentious like some characters from other equally morbid novels. (This is me giving The Fault in Our Stars the stink eye.) It’s easy to see why he’s misunderstood and underestimated, but such a shame to read about such a lonely kid. His situation depressed me on a serious level and I just wanted to give this guy hug. He doesn’t have friends his age or even the support of his family. His mother spends her days in New York, living her dream working as a designer and his father is nowhere to be seen, leaving Leonard to mostly fend for himself. Thankfully, Leonard is not entirely alone and when the climax hits, he does begin to see there are people who care about him.

If there is one piece of criticism I do have it was the way the Letters From the Future were introduce. In certain chapters of the book, the narrative and setting switches and their isn’t any notice. I’ll admit to be completely caught off guard to this and confused as to how it held any relevance to the story until after his teacher mentioned them in class. Leonard also has moments when he references footnotes in his narration, which is generally not a style that I love since it causes me to flip back and forth from the footnotes to the story. Word to the wise, reading this one on your kindle might be a royal pain in the ass.

All in all, I’m really glad I decided to check Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock out. It’s a very different story, the kind I’m not used to reading. But just like Thirteen Reasons Why and Charm and Strange, it’s one I’ll probably be thinking about for a while. Highly recommended.


ARC was provided by the publisher for an honest review. Thank you!

Have you read this one yet? Are you equally as fascinated and disturbed at these types of novels as I am?

Steph Sinclair

Steph Sinclair

Co-blogger at Cuddlebuggery
I'm a bibliophile trying to make it through my never-ending To-Be-Read list, equal opportunity snarker, fangirl and co-blogger here at Cuddlebuggery. Find me on GoodReads.

9 Responses to “Review: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick”

  1. Mel @ thedailyprophecy

    Most of the times, I don’t read these type of books, but from all the things I’ve heard I’m willing to give it a shot. Leonard sounds like an interesting and understandable character and I can’t wait to see the ending of this book 🙂 Great review Steph.

  2. Neyra

    I haven’t read this one yet, but I am drawn to these types of books for personal reasons. I like how it tells the story in a way you can care for the character and sympathise with him. Liking forward to reading this. Great review Steph.

  3. Lottie Eve

    Read this book about a week ago, and I am still thinking about it (and angry at Leonard’s mother). Leonard is such a sad character and his story hurt my heart. But like you said, thankfully Leonard finds out that some people are there  for him. The only thing I was really bothered by was  the open ending– it was so, so frustrating!
    Great review!
    Oh, and yes, I am fascinated and disturbed by these type of novels. You can learn so much from them, even though they can be really depressing…

  4. AnimeJune

    I read this for the Forever Young Adult Bookclub last month. It was a LOT better than the horrific 13 Reasons Why (where a psychotic and manipulative teen girl psychologically scars people from beyond the grave), and I felt for Leonard, and I really liked how his intended final acts on earth were to give presents to people who meant something to him. Spreading positivity.

    Certainly better than blaming an innocent and hardworking school counsellor FOR YOUR SUICIDE (yes I still hate 13 Reasons Why and find it a horribly offensive book and I’m kind of glad that Hannah’s dead and burning in Fictional Character Hell).

    At the same time, though, I did feel that Leonard was a little pretentious. I liken him to Holden Caulfield from Catcher in the Rye, in which he rants about how everyone else is a poser and a phoney and he’s a Special Truth-Seeing Snowflake. I also thought his treatment of the evangelical Christian girl was hella creepy. Even then, however, his actions and thoughts were still believable as coming from a self-obsessed teenager. I just didn’t end the book liking him very much.

  5. Albert

    The review of “Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock” by Matthew Quick is a compelling and insightful analysis that truly does justice to the depth and complexity of the book. The author of the review demonstrates an exceptional ability to convey the emotional nuances of the story and the development of its characters. Their thoughtful critique not only showcases their keen literary sensibilities but also provides a valuable perspective for potential readers. This review is a testament to the reviewer’s genuine appreciation for the author’s narrative and their skill in conveying it to a wider audience. It’s a well-crafted and engaging critique that undoubtedly adds value to the reader’s experience. Well done!

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