Title: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
Author: Matthew Quick
Series Status: Standalone
# of pages: 275
My rating: 3/5 stars
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 look at a day in the life of a disturbed teenage boy, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.
This book is not one you should pick up for light reading. There are trigger warnings for suicide, depression, sexual assault, and rape within this book. While I was excited at the prospect of getting to see accurate representation of these within a book I don’t know if they were or not. I’ve seen many mixed reviews on this topic and I honestly don’t know myself.
So what I did like about this book is that at least it is bringing to light issues that people can face within everyday life and showing how what someone is going through may not be seen by others. This book does a good job of portraying these events with realistic outcomes to them.
I felt like Quick’s character development was a little short sighted and possibly one dimensional because we are seeing such an obscure view of Leonard. I wished that this book either progressed with flashbacks to this day or had moments with the events leading up to this specific moment in the story.
One thing I loved were the letters that are placed throughout the book that come from “the future” this helped offset some of the one dimensional character build and create a better vision of what Leonard was like and what he was going through.
Possibly my favorite thing about this book was the fact that it brings up man-to-man rape and how it does exist. Many people seem to think that this is not a real thing or that if a man fought back things like this simply wouldn’t happen. I felt like Quick brought up this topic and managed give light to something that is otherwise seriously ignored.
However my problems with this book are that most of the major issues continued to get glossed over. There is no clear writing that helps the reader see that this problem is actively being solved or acknowledged by most. This is seen mostly at the end of the book where it is given no clear resolution to me. I don’t know if this was purposeful to create an ending where you imagine the rest but I would have liked the ending to wrap up things better.
Overall this book is important because it brings to light so many issues that are not talked about in modern society.