Thursday, August 8, 2013

Forgive Me Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
Release Date – August 13, 2013
Publisher Website - Little Brown/Hachette
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  288 pages
My Rating- 5/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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.
Some novels take you and put you into the head of the characters. This always makes for a connection that, as a reader, allows you to become so utterly immersed in the story that it takes over. A truly gifted writer can immerse their readers into the head of someone so flawed, so tragic, and so hurt. Matthew Quick does that with Leonard Peacock. A young man who haunts the pages of this intense read.

This novel left me feeling raw, and exposed. It drained me. I finished it feeling as if everything had been rung out of me. It exhausted me. It all comes back to the insightful, and spot on characterization of Leonard Peacock. Matthew Quick absolutely nails this character, and makes you feel everything Leonard feels.

I don't want to spoil anything, because Leonard's journey is meant to be experienced WITH him. Part of what makes this novel so insightful is learning how Leonard ends up on a mission to end not only his life, but his former best friend Asher's life as well. The actions, events and circumstances that lead up to today are crushing, and you'll ache for Leonard. You'll want to protect him from himself, and wonder how it got this far with nobody noticing. This is a perfect example of no easy answer. Whose to blame isn't black and white, and our protagonist is one of the more uncomfortable narrators that I've read.

The people in Leonard's life are rather interesting. The side characters serve a purpose in that their interaction with Leonard helps us understand him. My favourite side character, without a doubt, is Herr Silverman. A compassionate, intelligent teacher that actually enjoys his job. He obviously wants to make a difference, and uses his career to facilitate this. Walt, Leonard's next door neighbour, heartbreakingly may be Leonard's best friend. Their connection is rather sweet, and unfolds using the clever device of Humphrey Bogart. Leonard's mother infuriated me. I couldn't fathom someone who acted this way, and was a parent. More accurately, I didn't want to fathom this. It's a sad truth that people like her exist. The character who looms over everything is, obviously, Asher. We learn so much about who he is from Leonard, and you can't help but feel like someone dropped the ball when it came to him as well.

As Leonard's mental state spirals and the novel quickly reaches it's pulse pouding, breath holding dénouement I felt swept away into the Leonard's rash, desperate actions. I felt the panic, and read with wide eyed disbelief until the novels unsurprising, but unavoidable ending. It's the ending scenes that provide a rich, perfect payoff to the build up of emotions the rest of the novel teases with.

A harrowing, unforgettable novel that takes you into the mind of a self destructive teenager, who might just be crying out for help. A tough, unflinchingly read that unsettled, and impressed me. A novel that should, and hopefully will, generate conversation so that young men like Leonard won't end up as broken, and desperate as what is portrayed within these pages.

1 comment:

  1. I am so excited to read this book. I need to move this to the top of my TBR pile, it sounds beautiful. And I love that this is one book that will generate so much conversation around it. I think I'm ready for an emotional book and this will be it!


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