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 wasthat I couldn't stick aroundand that what's going to happen today isn't their fault.
Today is Leonard Peacock's birthday. It is also the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather's P-38 pistol. Maybe one day he'll believe that being different is okay, important even. But not today.
About the Author
Matthew Quick (aka Q) is the author of The Silver Linings Playbook (Sarah Crichton Books / Farrar, Straus & Giroux) and three young adult novels, Sorta Like a Rock Star, Boy21, and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock (Little, Brown & Co.). His work has received many honorsincluding a PEN/Hemingway Award Honorable Mentionbeen translated into many languages, and called "beautiful...first-rate" by The New York Times Book Review. The Weinstein Company and David O. Russell have adapted The Silver Linings Playbook into a film starring Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence. Matthew lives in Massachusetts with his wife, novelist Alicia Bessette. His website is www.matthewquickwriter.com.
Read an Excerpt
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
By Matthew Quick
Little, Brown Books for Young ReadersCopyright © 2014 Matthew Quick
All rights reserved.
The P-38 WWII Nazi handgun looks comical lying on the breakfast table next to a bowl of oatmeal. It's like some weird steampunk utensil anachronism. But if you look very closely just above the handle you can see the tiny stamped swastika and the eagle perched on top, which is real as hell.
I take a photo of my place setting with my iPhone, thinking it could be both evidence and modern art.
Then I laugh my ass off looking at it on the miniscreen, because modern art is such bullshit.
I mean, a bowl of oatmeal and a P-38 set next to it like a spoon—that arrangement photographed can be modern art, right?
But funny too.
I've seen worse on display at real art museums, like an all-white canvas with a single red pinstripe through it.
I once told Herr Silverman about that red-line painting, saying I could easily do it myself, and he said in this superconfident voice, "But you didn't."
I have to admit it was a cool, artsy retort because it was true.
Shut me the hell up.
So here I am making modern art before I die.
Maybe they'll hang my iPhone in the Philadelphia Museum of Art with the oatmeal Nazi gun pic displayed.
They can call it Breakfast of a Teenage Killer or something ridiculous and shocking like that.
The art and news worlds will love it, I bet.
They'll make my modern artwork instantly famous.
Especially after I actually kill Asher Beal and off myself.
Art value always goes up once the artist's associated with fucked-up things such as cutting off his own ear like Van Gogh, or marrying his teenage cousin like Poe, or having his minions murder a celebrity like Manson, or shooting his postsuicide ashes out of a huge cannon like Hunter S. Thompson, or being dressed up as a little girl by his mother like Hemingway, or wearing a dress made of raw meat like Lady Gaga, or having unspeakable things done to him so he kills a classmate and puts a bullet in his own head like I will do later today.
My murder-suicide will make Breakfast of a Teenage Killer a priceless masterpiece because people want artists to be unlike them in every way. If you are boring, nice, and normal—like I used to be—you will definitely fail your high school art class and be a subpar artist for life.
Worthless to the masses.
Everyone knows that.
So the key is doing something that sets you apart forever in the minds of regular people.
Something that matters.
I wrap up the birthday presents in this pink wrapping paper I find in the hall closet.
I wasn't planning on wrapping the presents, but I feel like maybe I should attempt to make the day feel more official, more festive.
I'm not afraid of people thinking I'm gay, because I really don't care what anyone thinks at this point, and so I don't mind the pink paper, although I would have preferred a different color. Maybe black would have been more appropriate given what's about to transpire.
It makes me feel really little-kid-on-Christmas-morning good to wrap up the gifts.
Feels right somehow.
I make sure the safety is on and then put the loaded P-38 in an old cedar cigar box I kept to remember my dad, because he used to enjoy smoking illegal Cuban cigars. I stuff a bunch of old socks in to keep my "heater" from clanking around inside and maybe blasting a bullet into my ass. Then I wrap the box in pink paper too, so that no one will suspect I have a gun in school.
Even if—for whatever reason—my principal starts randomly searching backpacks today, I can say it's a present for a friend.
The pink wrapping paper will throw them off, camouflage the danger, and only a real asshole would make me open up someone else's perfectly wrapped gift.
No one has ever searched my backpack at school, but I don't want to take any chances.
Maybe the P-38 will be a present for me when I unwrap it and shoot Asher Beal.
That'll probably be the only present I receive today.
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.
I don't want them to stress over what I'm about to do or feel depressed afterward.
My Holocaust class teacher, Herr Silverman, never rolls up his sleeves like the other male teachers at my high school, who all arrive each morning with their freshly ironed shirts rolled to the elbow. Nor does Herr Silverman ever wear the faculty polo shirt on Fridays. Even in the warmer months he keeps his arms covered, and I've been wondering why for a long time now.
I think about it constantly.
It's maybe the greatest mystery of my life.
Perhaps he has really hairy arms, I've often thought. Or prison tattoos. Or a birthmark. Or he was obscenely burned in a fire. Or maybe someone spilled acid on him during a high school science experiment. Or he was once a heroin addict and his wrists are therefore scarred with a gazillion needle-track marks. Maybe he has a blood-circulation disorder that keeps him perpetually cold.
But I suspect the truth is more serious than that—like maybe he tried to kill himself once and there are razor-blade scars.
It's hard for me to believe that Herr Silverman once attempted suicide, because he's so together now; he's really the most admirable adult I know.
Sometimes I actually hope that he did once feel empty and hopeless and helpless enough to slash his wrists to the bone, because if he felt that horrible and survived to be such a fantastic grown-up, then maybe there's hope for me.
Whenever I have some free time I wonder about what Herr Silverman might be hiding, and I try to unlock his mystery in my mind, creating all sorts of suicide-inducing scenarios, inventing his past.
Some days I have his parents beat him with clothes hangers and starve him.
Other days his classmates throw him to the ground and kick him until he's wet with blood, at which point they take turns pissing on his head.
Sometimes he suffers from unrequited love and cries every single night alone in his closet clutching a pillow to his chest.
Other times he's abducted by a sadistic psychopath who waterboards him nightly—Guantánamo Bay–style—and deprives him of drinking water during the day while he is forced to sit in a Clockwork Orange–type room full of strobe lights, Beethoven symphonies, and horrific images projected on a huge screen.
I don't think anyone else has noticed Herr Silverman's constantly clothed forearms, or if they have, no one has said anything about it in class. I haven't overheard anything in the hallways.
I wonder if I'm really the only one who's noticed, and if so, what does that say about me?
Does that make me weird?
(Or weirder than I already am?)
Or just observant?
So many times I've thought about asking Herr Silverman why he never rolls up his sleeves, but I don't for some reason.
Some days he encourages me to write; other days he says I'm "gifted" and then smiles like he's being truthful, and I'll come close to asking him the question about his never-exposed forearms, but I never do, and that seems odd—utterly ridiculous, considering how badly I want to ask and how much the answer could save me.
As if his response will be sacred or life-altering or something and I'm saving it for later—like an emotional antibiotic, or a depression lifeboat.
Sometimes I really believe that.
Maybe my brain's just fucked.
Or maybe I'm terrified that I might be wrong about him and I'm just making things up in my head—that there's nothing under those shirtsleeves at all, and he just likes the look of covered forearms.
It's a fashion statement.
He's more like Linda than I am.
End of story.
I worry Herr Silverman will laugh at me when I ask about his covered forearms.
He'll make me feel stupid for wondering—hoping—all this time.
That he'll call me a freak.
That he'll think I'm a pervert for thinking about it so much.
That he'll pull an ugly, disgusted face that'll make me feel like he and I could never ever be similar at all, and I'm therefore delusional.
That would kill me, I think.
Do my spirit in for good.
It really would.
And so I've come to worry that my not asking is simply the product of my boundless cowardice.
As I sit there alone at the breakfast table wondering if Linda will remember today's significance, knowing deep down that she's simply not going to call—I decide to instead wonder if the Nazi officer who carried my P-38 in WWII ever dreamed his sidearm would end up as modern art, across the Atlantic Ocean, in New Jersey, seventy-some years later, loaded and ready to kill the closest modern-day equivalent of a Nazi that we have at my high school.
The German who originally owned the P-38—what was his name?
Was he one of the nice Germans Herr Silverman tells us about? The ones who didn't hate Jews or gays or blacks or anyone really but just had the misfortune of being born in Germany during a really fucked time.
Was he anything like me?
I have this signature really long dirty-blond hair that hangs over my eyes and past my shoulders. I've been growing it for years, ever since the government came after my dad and he fled the country.
And my long locks piss Linda off something awful, especially since she's into contemporary fashion. She says I look like a "grunge-rock stoner" and back when she was still around caring about me, Linda actually made me submit to a drug test—pissing into a cup—which I passed.
I didn't get Linda a good-bye present, and I start to feel guilty about that, so I cut off all my hair with the scissors in the kitchen—the ones we usually use to cut food.
I cut it all down to the scalp in a wild orgy of arms and hands and silver blades.
Then I mash all of my hair into a big ball and wrap it in pink paper.
I'm laughing the whole time.
I cut out a little square of pink paper and write on the back.
Here you go.
You got your wish.
I fold the square in half and tape it to the gift, which looks quite odd—almost like I tried to wrap a pocket of air.
Then I stick the present in the refrigerator, which seems hilarious.
Linda will be looking for a chilled bottle of Riesling to calm her jangled nerves after getting the news about her son ridding the world of Asher Beal and Leonard Peacock too.
She'll find the pink wrap job.
Linda will wonder about my allusion to Samson and Delilah when she reads the card, because that was the title of my father's failed sophomore record, but will get the joke just as soon as she opens her present.
I imagine her clutching her chest, faking the tears, playing the victim, and being all dramatic.
Jean-Luc will really have his professionally manicured French hands full.
No sex for him maybe, or maybe not.
Maybe their affair will blossom without me around to psychologically anchor poor Linda to reality and maternal duties.
Maybe once I'm gone, she'll float away to France like a shiny new silver little- kid birthday balloon.
She'll probably even lose a dress size without me around to trigger her "stress eating."
Maybe Linda won't return to our house ever again.
Maybe she and Jean-Luc will go to the fashion capital of the world, the City of Light, auw-hauh-hauw!, and screw like bunnies happily ever after.
She'll sell everything, and the new homeowners will find my hair in the refrigerator and be like What the ...?
My hair'll just end up in the trash and that will be that.
Or maybe they'll donate my locks to one of those wig-making places that help out kids with cancer. Like my hair would get a second shot at life with a little innocent-hearted bald chemo girl maybe.
I'd like that.
I really would.
My hair deserves it.
So I'm really hoping for that cancer-kid-helping outcome if Linda goes to France without coming home first, or maybe even Linda will donate my hair.
Anything's possible, I guess.
I stare at the mirror over the kitchen sink.
The no-hair guy staring back at me looks so strange now.
He's like a different person with all uneven patches on his scalp.
He looks thinner.
I can see his cheekbones sticking out where his blond curtains used to hang.
How long has this guy been hiding under my hair?
I don't like him.
"I'm going to kill you later today," I say to that guy in the mirror, and he just smiles back at me like he can't wait.
"Promise?" I hear someone say, which freaks me out, because my lips didn't move.
I mean—it wasn't me who said, "Promise?"
It's like there's a voice trapped inside the glass.
So I stop looking in the mirror.
Just for good measure, I smash that mirror with a coffee mug, because I don't want the mirror me to speak ever again.
Shards rain down into the sink and then a million little mes look up like so many tiny minnows.
I'm already late for school, but I need to stop at my next-door-neighbor Walt's so that I can give him his present.
Today, I knock once and let myself into Walt's house because he has to walk slowly with one of those gray-piped four-footed walkers that has dirty tennis balls attached to protect his hardwood floors. It's difficult for him to get around, especially with bad lungs, so he just gave me a key and said, "Come in whenever you feel like it. And come often!"
He's been smoking since he was twelve, and I've been helping him buy his Pall Mall Reds on the Internet to save money. The first time, I found this phenomenal deal: two hundred cigarettes for nineteen dollars, and he proclaimed me a hero right then and there. He doesn't even have a computer in his home, let alone the Internet. So it was like I performed a miracle, getting cigarettes that cheap delivered to his doorstep, because he was paying a hell of a lot more at the local convenience store. I've been bringing over my laptop—our Internet signal reaches his living room—and we've been searching for the best deals every week. He's always trying to give me half of what he saves, but I never take his money.
It's funny because he's rich, but always keen on finding a bargain. Maybe that's why he's rich. I don't know.
A "helper" comes and takes care of him most days, but not until nine thirty AM, so it's always just Walt and me before school.
"Walt?" I say as I walk through the smoky hallway, under the crystal chandelier, toward the smoky living room where he usually sleeps surrounded by overflowing ashtrays and empty bottles. "Walt?"
I find him in his La-Z-Boy, smoking a Pall Mall Red, eyes bloodshot from drinking scotch last night.
His robe isn't shut, so I can see his naked, hairless chest. It's the pinkish- red sunset color of conch-shell innards.
He looks at me with his best black-and-white movie-star face and says, "You despise me, don't you?"
It's a line from Casablanca, which we've watched together a million times.
Standing next to his chair with my backpack between my feet, I answer with Rick's follow-up line in the film, saying, "If I gave you any thought I probably would."
Then I follow it with a line from The Big Sleep, saying, "My, my, my. Such a lot of guns around town and so few brains," which feels pretty cool and authentic considering I have the Nazi P-38 in my backpack.
Excerpted from Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick. Copyright © 2014 Matthew Quick. Excerpted by permission of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A brilliant, yet lost, alone and angry young man tells his painful story of how he ended up deciding to commit murder and then suicide. His tale is emotionally torturous and he feels like a non-person in the eyes of most of the world, including his self-absorbed mother. Only two people seem to truly care about him, his next door neighbor, an aging old man with two addictions, cigarettes and Bogart/Bacall movies. The other is his Holocaust teacher, Herr Silverman. Having made his decision to die, Leonard chose his eighteenth birthday as his final day on Earth, to make his statement to the world, reveal his pain and hopefully find peace. Can anyone save him? What secrets has he kept hidden for so many years? Does he want to be saved? As Leonard says good-bye to the world in his own cryptic way, his mental dialogue is angst-filled and raw. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick is a gritty and bleak look into depression, loneliness and what happens when a child fails to thrive emotionally in a world that doesn’t seem to care about him. Matthew Quick has done an amazing job of bringing Leonard to life, warts and all. I instantly felt for this young man, because his pain was evident, the reasons revealed in small bits, one rejection after another. I felt I was in Leonard’s mind, listening to him, and frankly, agreeing with him, he definitely got the short end of the stick throughout most of his life, even Leonard recognized when it all began to go bad and the joy of being an innocent child was sucked out of him. Mr. Quick’s writing style is very descriptive, dark and foreboding, perfectly aligning with the theme of suicide and depression in a young man crying out internally for help, to be wanted and needed. This should be a MUST read for all, especially those who merely shake their heads in disgust that suicide is the coward’s way out, then turn their backs on the topic. This isn’t a piece of fluff, Matthew Quick has written a thoughtful piece, fiction or not, that will carve your heart out with a dull blade. An Arc edition was provided by NetGalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers in exchange for my honest review.
I saw this book had a review of only 3 stars and realized people were unfairly ignoring it. This is one of the BEST BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ IN MY LIFE! It's truly life changing and worth every penny. I stayed up all day and all night just to know what would happen next. Days after finishing it i still find myself thinking of poor Leonard and comparing the book's characters to real people in my life. As the last review said, this is a must read for all. The ending was a bit cryptic, but it allowed me to continue thinking about it and decide for myself what should happen and what would happen with the loose ends. I believe Mr. Quick made it that way to allow you to think and to make your own decisions. Though this book is a great standalone, and i don't know how you could make a good sequel, i do wish i knew a little more about the ending. But like I said, that is how we're supposed to feel. Regardless, if you have not read this book, and have not even considered reading it, think again. It's worth every penny and more.
I love Matthew Quick's style of writing. He doesn't try to glorify his characters or justify the things they think or do. He embraces the crazy side of them, and I love that. I was actually bawling because, in my 14-year-old-self-kind-of-way, I understood Leonard in his loneliest moments. Leonard was ready to commit suicide, he wanted to murder someone he used to be close friends with, but most of all, even if he didn't say it aloud to anyone, he wanted someone to realize that deep down he was not okay. So many people overlook small things, and at first "direct eye contact" or "a friendly conversation a day" seems so small and unimportant, but all of these "unimportant small things" build up overtime. Leonard was another character with a dsyfunctional family, a bad history with a former friend, and a talent for things nobody but his teachers care about. Who knows if his dad is alive, or if his mom is off sleeping with her French boyfriend, and if anyone actually remembered his 18th birthday? The author doesn't try to force down our throats at the end of the story something cheesy like "life WILL get better after you finish school" or that "a suicide hotline is only a call away!!!!". What I learned from this story was not that being different is okay, nor was it that teenage angst is just a phase, but rather that nobody feels happy all of the time. We are all capable of experiencing somewhat psychotic feelings and emotions, and that's what makes us normal. Looks can be deceiving, and while it is so easy to get lost in oblivion and ignorance, sometimes you need to stop and read between the lines. My favorite parts were when Leonard wrote himself letters from the future, as if there was really something worth living for, and my hope that Leonard would realize he was not alone, that I was by his side and that I understood his pain, has rendered me physically and emotionally incapable to finish any homework tonight. I found myself hoping for more at the end, but that was only because Nook said the novel was 215 pages, when it was actually only about 180 with the rest being acknowledgements and an excerpt from another book. Be warned that you might not be able to sleep at night because Matthew Quick has a way of writing about (slightly) crazy people and making you almost believe that, for a moment at the least, you are the character in the story and you want for them what they want for themselves. For a moment at the least you will feel like the character's problems are your problems and you can't help but just cry over them, but in the back of both the character's mind and yours you are hoping for a bright outcome, because even the craziest of people want that bright outcome, that happiness, that relief of knowing that no more worrying has to be made on anyone's part. I'm probably blabbering but my point is, this is a beautiful book, and I'm sure Leonard would appreciate your becoming of a reader of his story and world.
This book is amazing. Just read this book
Weird weird book but brillant. Didnt go they way thatni.excpected which is good i enjoyed it read it within 24 hrs. I really didnt exspect leonard to hold a gryge toward asher for that reason. I really love the relationship between leonard and his teacher.leonard was somone who didnt care about peoples opinions but he cared about others feelings, if u know what i mean,and i really liked that about him and he was clever, and thats somthing that brought the story together.honestly i love the ending which is rare so yeah
I was really interested in reading Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by author Matthew Quick the moment I finished reading the description of the novel. It sounded like a novel that would stir up emotion in me, thrill me and keep me on the edge of my seat. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock did all of those things and then some. I absolutely adored and loved this read so much I can’t even put my thoughts or emotions into words. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock takes place on the main character Leonard Peacock’s birthday, it’s a very special day for Leonard because he is going to kill his ex-best friend with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol and then kill himself. However Leonard first plans on going to see the people who matter to him most and give them a goodbye present so that when they learn about the crime he plans to commit after he commits it they won’t have a bad final memory of him. Leonard goes to visit the four people who mattered to him most: His neighbor Walt, one of his musically inclined classmates, the girl he has a crush on and his teacher Herr Silverman. As Leonard goes to visit each of these people (and times moves toward the moment when he will pull of his murder-suicide) Leonard begins to give away the plan he is will put into action and the events that led him to make this decision. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock was a novel that I fell in love with right from the start. It was a dark and haunting read that broke my heart, took me on an emotional roller coaster and had me hoping that Leonard would change his fate before it would become too late. The writing style stirred up far too many emotions in me, the footnotes used in the novel as well as Leonard’s dark and depressing thoughts left me both sad and angry. There were so many moments where I was either brought to tears or began crying from Quick’s writing style that made Leonard come alive and become more than just a character. The characters introduced in Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock are ones that will connect with readers in some way or form. The main character Leonard is both the good guy and the bad guy and once you discover just what his ex-best friend has done you have to wonder if what Leonard’s doing (despite how totally dark and wrong it is) can be justified. There’s a variety of characters from a dedicated Christian girl to his neighbor and friend Walt who is obsessed with Humphrey Bogart movies and to himself. Despite seeing each character for only a small amount of time I felt that a relationship is established with each character that made the goodbyes very heartfelt. When reading Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock I personally think that a lot of readers will find Leonard’s dark thoughts and dark family history to be intriguing. It’s so seldom that I get to read about a character who is messed up and is actually very smart and applies those smarts in the plot. Leonard is a unique character who pulled me into the plot and left me reading and interested until the very last page. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is a novel that will keep you hooked. I never wanted to put it down. I’d recommend Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock to readers who are looking for an addictive and dark read. Readers who are fans of plots that are thrilling and emotional will eat this read right up. Anybody who is looking for a tear jerker needs to check out Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock as soon as possible.
This is without a doubt one of the greatest books i have ever read. This is the type of book that stays with you when you finish it, the type that leaves you with something to think about when you finish it. this is a must read for everyone
My new favorite
Leo is done. He wants to shoot Asher for what he's done to him. But before he murders Asher and kills himself, he wants to leave a present to the four people who actually gives a damn about him. This book has been in my Goodreads to-read list pretty much ever since I opened my GR account. And since I've been putting off this book for so long, I decided to delete it. And I guess after five years, I decided to actually read it. I actually read this as an audiobook. And I will tell you right now, that the narrator of this book, is probably the best readers I've ever heard since I started reading audiobooks. His voice for Leonard is so wonderful, as if he is Leo himself. The way the reactions, the emotions, and even the snarky comments were wonderfully delivered! So I give props to Noah Galvin, who I think is the actor. Anyway, the story is very intriguing. I have to be honest. I kinda just want to know if he'll actually do it. And why. Learning Leonard's life was very interesting. It definitely looked like he has an okay life, but the people around him sucks. And the deeper we go into the story, that's when you're more intrigued by Leonard himself. I was sticking to pretty much sticking to every word he said, and I just love how his mind works. I mean, just the way he debates things on his head and what he really thinks of people around him are funny and intelligent. The flow of the story was kinda slow, but learning his life was worth it. And when we get to the denouement and the ending, oh my gosh! I don't even know what to think! And I wish there were more! I liked this book all through-out. It's very witty and very relevant actually.
All time favorite book ever
I read this book in four days, and the only reason why it took me that long is I had to work two of the days and have a disabled husband and dog to care for! Otherwise, I would not have put this book down. I was not expecting to like it when I started it, and when I saw the footnotes I rolled my eyes. But luckily Mr. Quick didn't abuse them, but used them appropriately and in a great way. I love Leonard, and if casted correctly this would make a good movie. It would have to have a phenomenal cast, though. I sympathized with Leonard, because I was different too. And things do get better! Really thoroughly enjoyed this book--as a reader I am grateful and as a writer I am envious--but it was well worth it!
When I first read the plot I wasn't sure I was going to like it since it seemed a little dark, but I gave it a try. SO GOOD. It's written so personally and with raw emotiom... absolutelty floored me. This is a MUST READ
This started off kind of good but then fell flat for me. Parts of it, I did not understand, like the whole letter writing business. The ending was not satisfying either. Left you hanging with no actual ending.
In this powerful and poignant novel—which also manages to be quite funny at times—astute readers will detect echoes of one of the seminal works of Young Adult literature. Leonard Peacock is a Holden Caulfield for the millennial generation; Leonard, however, harbors an anguish borne of something far more damaging than the generalized disillusionment with “phonies” that plagued Holden. Like Holden, Leonard’s has irretrievably lost his childhood innocence. But Leonard’s pain is far more personal, and as we follow Leonard through what he repeatedly claims will be the last day of his life, we increasingly empathize with him as the source of his depression and desperation becomes apparent. As with many YA novels, the adults in *Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock* are ineffectual when they’re not being downright mean and dismissive (Leonard’s mother is probably one of the most detestable adults ever to appear in a YA novel). Herr Silverman, Leonard’s Holocaust studies teacher, is the one exception. Like Leonard, Herr Silverman harbors a secret that makes him feel different from most of his peers. And he is the one adult in the novel who makes a genuine effort to connect with Leonard and understand him. This is by no means an easy novel to read, but I suspect most will want to plow through it (as I did) because Quick’s writing resonates so honestly, and for all his quirks and hard-earned adolescent angst, Leonard is a likeable character. The book’s title remains a mystery (intentionally, I believe). Is it a plea for forgiveness signed by Leonard, as in a note or a letter? Or is it a plea for forgiveness that is being addressed to Leonard? The story provides justification for either interpretation, and the title’s opacity is but one of a number of ambiguities central to the novel.
This is a very overdue review, seeing as I read this book about five months ago, but I have to say: it is freaking amazing. I finished it in less than two hours because it was that freaking good. Read it!
This book gripped me. I wish more people read this. The world lacks compassion.
PLEASE READ THIS BOOK
There’s no way to say this without sounding like a total weirdo, but I’ve been looking for a good book about a school shooting for a while now. I saw a movie last year called The Dirties and ever since then, I kept saying how I wanted a book version of it. Now, there are quite a few books about school shootings from each point of view, whether it’s the shooter, a victim, the parent… Which is nice, but none of them were quite what I wanted. So, Breanna told me to read Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock which I got a long time ago because of the cover (not the one I’m using here, I picked this one because I thought it fit the book better) and didn’t know a lot about it. Leonard Peacock is turning 18. Today is his birthday and his mother, a fashion designer who spends almost all her time in New York while he lives alone in their home outside of the city, forgot. To celebrate his birthday, Leonard has packed up some things he wants to give to the important people in his life who he considers his friends and give them to people as gifts and for his own gift, he’s taking his grandfather’s WWII gun to school to shoot his former best friend and himself. Quite a birthday, huh? This book follows Leonard through the events of his birthday as he goes to each of his friend’s houses to give them their gifts and it goes back to flashbacks to explain their relationships and give an insight into what has lead up to Leonard getting to this place but it doesn’t immediately explain why he quit being friends with Asher, his former best friend who he plans to shoot before himself. This book was fantastically written and it’s difficult to say much about it without feeling like I’m saying too much in some way that’s going to ruin the major events of the book so basically all I can say is this: read this book. It’s hard to say that I liked a character like Leonard, someone who is planning to do something so horrific as shooting his former best friend and himself and in the beginning of the book, I honestly thought he was a little annoying. I thought his thought process with what he was going to and how he was preparing for it was just a little bit ridiculous and I felt myself shaking my head at him but I really wanted to continue and learn more about him even though I felt that way. As the book went on and I got to know him more, I got really invested in his story and actually started to like him and his story. I felt like the end of this book was realistic and the entire thing was done in a really good way and I loved every minute that I spent reading it, whether I was nervous for what he was going to do next or feeling sad about his flashbacks or the time he spent revisiting people from his past.
If there is any book that is important to read, it is “Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock” by Matthew Quick. I feel like I could hit a character limit for reviews simply by listing all of the life lessons to be found in the book, but I will try to keep it at a minimum. It gives excellent insight into the mind of someone who feels they have nothing left to live for, as well as all of the attempts made at reaching out that go unnoticed by most. However, it also makes it very clear that someone does care, even though Leonard may not know it at the time. There is another hugely important issue raised that is very seldom touched on and took quite a bit of bravery to tackle as bluntly as it was, but I don’t want to spoil what happens. Trust me when I say that it will make you think. The characters are all very quirky and well-written, which is typically the case in anything written by Matthew Quick, and I really appreciated that Leonard is an extremely flawed character. All too often books for young adults tend to portray a victim of bullying and/or someone with suicidal tendencies as being a perfect human being. That is not the case here, nor is it the case with any person on earth. It makes the entire story even more relatable by keeping it realistic. The writing flows well, and given its subject matter, it is an incredibly quick read. However, the story will stay in your mind long after “Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock” ends. Everyone should read “Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock”. I know that I will think more carefully about those around me and look for signs of distress, and I hope that others will, as well.
One of the most heartwrenhing books, this one kept me at the edge of my seat and i was able toread it in one sitting.
this book saved my life.
I don know if i hould get yhis book i realy want to know the ending does lenard kill himself. Respond togirl100% :)
Leonard is downright crazy. This book freaked me out once i finished it. It isnt one of those wonderful books that everyone ends up reading, like The Fault in Our Stars, and its honestly best that way