This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers on August 13, 2013
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(Last Updated On: May 30, 2022)
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.
I had heard awesome reviews about Matthew Quick’s novels, so when I saw a copy of Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock for five dollars at my local bookstore, I knew that I had to pick it up. Boy, am I glad that I did.
What I loved about this book
Leonard Peacock. He is such a deep, emotional character with so many layers to him. It’s such a real and deep depiction of loneliness and depression that so many kids today feel. I just really enjoyed learning more about him and what led him to be who he is today as the story unfolded.
I loved how much we got to learn about Leonard and what he is feeling and going through in such a short amount of time. I feel like by the end of the book I knew Leonard and his story better than I knew other characters who I had long series to get to know.
Herr Silverman. He was Leonard’s Holocaust professor, and I enjoyed reading about his relationship with him. I think that he is a great example of what a teacher should be. His relationship with Leonard is so important and is one of the most genuine connections that Leonard has in his life.
Even though Herr’s relationship with and influence on Leonard didn’t stop the tragedy that transpired that day, you were still able to feel the full weight of their relationship and how much it really meant. Herr was one of the few people that Leonard made the effort to see that day and give a present before going through with his ultimate plan.
The writing style. I felt like there was never a dull moment in this book. His writing was so powerful and perfectly encapsulated such a heavy topic. You really felt like you were bearing the weight of everything Leonard was going through and Quick didn’t shy away from making us feel EVERYTHING.
The story also has a whole bunch of little footnotes throughout it, where Leonard inputs some of this thoughts, which added a bit of humor and life to a very depressing story. There was so much about Leonard and his life that we learned about through those short footnotes.
It was such a clever way of adding even more thoughts and feelings and emotions into the book without making it seemed very long-winded or off topic. We also got to see that under all of the hurt and pain that he was feeling, there was just a kid.
This book discusses an important social issue, and it does so in a very strong way. Quick was not one to shy away from the heavy topics and presented them in such a beautiful way. He didn’t just present Leonard as a “bad kid” and leave it at that.
We got to feel the gravity of everything that Leonard was feeling but we also got to see why he felt that way. Leonard didn’t just wake up one day and decide that this is what he wanted to do. It was years of struggles that transformed him from a happy normal kid to someone who can’t bear that weight of his life anymore.
Leonard’s experience isn’t one that should be ignored. So many kids today are going through the same exact thing and I think that it is important to see it portrayed in such a raw way like it is here.
The pacing. I read this book so quickly, and it was because I stayed emotionally invested in this heartbreaking story through every page. Even though the whole book takes place basically over one day, it doesn’t feel like it is moving slow or that there is a bunch of unnecessary filler text.
You really are invested in everything going on and there is so much anticipation that is built up through the entire book that you really can’t put it down.
What I didn’t like about the book
Honestly nothing. I loved this book, and I recommend it to everyone. It is a super heavy book and talks about some very important topics but it does it in such a beautiful and haunting way.
You feel like you are carrying the weight of everything that Leonard is going through and can feel it get heavier and heavier as you learn more about him throughout the book. It definitely isn’t a light read emotionally but it is such an important story that needs to be told.
I highly recommend Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, especially if you’ve never read anything by Matthew Quick before.
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