Friday, July 26, 2013

Review: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

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I received this book for free from Hachette Book Group Canada in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew QuickForgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
Published by Little Brown BfYR on August 13th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, YA
Source: Hachette Book Group Canada
Buy on Amazon

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.

Wow what a sad story this was! Told in the voice of a morose, yet incredibly intelligent teenage boy, we’re given a raw look into the road to suicide, and how depression affects your thoughts.

What I noticed immediately was the writing style which stood out to me as something very… honest. Not only is it told in first person – which I consider a requirement for a story such as this – but we get a format that emphasizes his unhealthy state of mind even more so. This includes foot notes on his interpretations of certain situations and people; pages that only include 1 single word for a whole sentence; “Letters from the future” which had me baffled at first but ended up leaving me teary eyed. Knowing this beforehand, I’d have worried the atypical storytelling would be annoying, and the foot notes did have me a tad distracted at first, but I ended up finding all of it kind of brilliant. Furthermore, I found myself captivated by the way Leonard sees the world, how he perceives those around him. It’s no doubt this kid is extremely intelligent. Maybe not in a straight-A book smart type, but in his analysis of people, of society. It’s like he’s already matured well beyond his years, but unfortunately this makes him an outcast. It’s not hard to see why he doesn’t blend in – It’s not as if he wants to, either.

Throughout this story we get to understand how Leonard came to feel the way he does. He did not have the best, most happiest life, and a few happenings left him feeling confused and abandoned. It was all very saddening, making it impossible to not feel sympathy for this guy. He also felt so genuine, from the devalued way he sees himself, to his blunt, sometimes awkward interactions with others. Since he doesn’t fit well with kids his own age, the side characters mostly consist of the adults in his life who are helping him fill the void he has had for so long. I loved his neighbour Walt with his chain smoking habit and amusing conversations in Bogart quotes. And I wish more teachers were like Herr Silverman; he’s a true role model of human kindness in my eyes.

Event though they read pretty differently, this book reminded me of Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Maybe it’s because it remains one of the few books on suicide that I’ve read – and that one touched me in a way like no other – but I’m certain those who enjoyed one will also love the other. It tugs at your emotions from the first page. Unlike Thirteen Reasons Why, though, you’re not aware of how Leonard’s story ends. On this note, I did wish the book’s ending was a little longer, but I completely understand why it ended where it did.

It’s gritty as gritty gets – it even makes you feel uncomfortable at times. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock sends us into a the mind of a suicidal, atypical teenage boy that you’re unlikely to ever forget!


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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26 Responses to “Review: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick”

  1. Nick @ Nick's Book Blog

    This sounds like such a sad book, Giselle. But it seems like it’s very well-tackled. I’m not sure if I’m into reading a sad book atm, because I always feel like I have to mentally prepare myself, but I will keep this in mind.
    I’m so intrigued by the writing style. I want to check this book out just for that.
    Lovely honest review, Giselle! I’m so glad it got such a reaction out of you! 🙂

  2. Soma Rostam

    Well, Gissele,I did love Thirteen reasons Why, too. It was different from all the normal contemporary reads
    I know this author since i read his other book, Silver Linings Playbook, you should definitely read it, if you like this one, since it’s also about a troubled main character
    GREAT review
    Your reader,

  3. ShootingStarsMag

    Sounds amazing! I’m so glad this one was something that worked for you. It’s been on my wish list ever since I came across it. I really hope I can read it soon.


  4. Alise

    Wow, this one sounds like a really emotional novel. I was immediately reminded of Thirteen Reasons Why as well! If this had been in third person, it would have really lost a lot of emotional appeal, I agree. I hadn’t heard of it before so thanks for sharing!

  5. Gina @ My Precious

    I can get this one from NG, I’m resistant to pull the trigger since its such a sensitive subject. I recently read – Namesake – and it was about suicide also. It was a great story, just very dark and tough to read at times. This sounds very similar. I may have to give myself a little break and re-visit this one.

  6. Hollie @ Music, Books and Tea

    This just sounds like an incredible book. I’m pleased that the sensitive topic has been dealt with in such a well thought-out way, and I’ll definitely be picking this one up soon after its release. Great review!

  7. fishgirl182 @ nite lite

    this sounds like a really good book. i kind of like it when books use different types of writing formats/styles and the idea of footnotes and letters intrigues me. i do have to say though that books about suicide are hard for me to read so i am not sure if i will be in the mood for this one anytime soon. it sounds really good though and i may read it when i am in the right mood.

  8. Candace

    Wow, this sounds incredible! It sounds like a book I would very much enjoy to read. Thanks for reviewing it, I hadn’t heard of it before.

  9. Tellulah Darling

    Great review, Giselle. I’m really interested to read this book now and glad you put it on my radar. Have you read The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larson? It’s a wonderful story about a family in the aftermath of this type of event.

  10. Molli

    I honestly had no idea what this one was about before this review. I didn’t even realize it was a YA title. It sounds incredibly deep and moving, from everything you said about it being so honest and gritty. I’m going to add it to my TBR, Giselle!

  11. Eileen @ ***Singing and Reading in the Rain***

    This one sounds like an awesome read! It sounds so emotional and honest, especially with the topic of suicide, because that’s always something really hard to capture. I’m glad that it was easy to feel sympathy for Leonard, too, it always makes it harder to read the story and all that. I’m glad that this touched you so much, I definitely want to pick it up now!

    Fantastic review, Giselle! LOVE YOUR FACE!

  12. Kris

    Matthew Quick is one of my favorite YA authors for realistic storytelling. Even without the author name, this sounds like a beautiful read. I’m intrigued by the unique storytelling and by the characters themselves. Thanks for the fantastic review. I’ll be sure to pick this up when it comes out!

  13. Rachelia (Bookish Comforts)

    I won an ARC copy in a giveaway months back and picked this up, read 30 pages and set it down. It’s not that I found it bad or anything, just wasn’t in the mood for a depressing story I guess. I’m definitely going to pick it up again sometime soon thanks to your review though!!