Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock – Matthew Quick

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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.

Review

This book is tragic and manic and hard to get through. Well, that’s understandable — this book opens on the day Leonard Peacock decides to commit suicide, after all.

It felt almost surreal to read. As Leonard gives gifts to everyone in his life, you can see what’s been keeping him going after all that time. Your heart goes out to him. It’s amazing how one thing, one moment, can make all the difference to someone on a daily basis. This book makes you reevaluate how you treat people.

Leonard has a pretty screwed up view of his classmates — but it’s extremely relatable. So many people work towards giving the perfect answers and getting into the right universities and lose their humanity in the process. “Ubermorons” indeed.

Leonard has the worst parents, both of which are absentee. I guess this book makes you realize that people have different circumstances and there are reasons for why they act the way they do beneath the surface. I wish I could take care of him. But hey, thank goodness for Herr Silverman — thank goodness for teachers who go above and beyond.

I cried while reading this book. In public. It’s dark and weighty, but also really quirky and funny at times. And I left it feeling hopeful, despite such its rather sad ending.

Related Reading

  • Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher (suicide… and a bunch of other parallels)
  • If I Stay – Gayle Forman (Is life worth living?)
  • Eleanor and Park – Rainbow Rowell (people with hard lives and a hard time fitting in)
  • The Perks of Being a Wallfower – Stephen Chbosky (some issues are similar)

Rating: 5/5

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