I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
Published by Headline Review on January 16, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, Young Adult
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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 A teacher
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.
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is similar to The Silver Lining Playbook in many ways. Similar to Pat where the characters are considered to be strange, yet understand life and its rules better than the normal person. This book is told in the first narrative, allowing the reader into Leonard’s inner thoughts about the day. Also the unusual quirk of having footnotes enables the reader to get a greater sense of Leonard’s personality and insight into his mind, as well as giving extensive background detail.
In the beginning, Leonard was not a likeable character and it was very difficult to relate to him. He is arrogant and condescending of his classmates. When you first read there appears to be no reason for his aloofness. But then, as the story progresses we find out he was abandoned by his drunkard father, his neglectful career-obsessed mother and then one secret left until the very end…
The idea that Leonard has four friends is deceptive. From the narrative it is clear that two of these ‘friends’ only tolerate Leonard’s presence or have a hidden agenda. Yet these are the people who are willing to tolerate him or, at least, prove he can be saved.
His teacher – Herr Silverman – produces an undercurrent of hope throughout the book. His encouragement of Leonard writing letters from his future self to his present self is heartbreaking as he imagines the person he could become and the family he could have. These letters are counteractive to Leonard’s suffering and shows the person he really wants to be. They also make his impending suicide more sad as he is determined not to reach adulthood.
Overall Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is a lovely coming of age book. Despite not liking Leonard in the beginning, I was drawn into his narrative and interested in his story.