Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

On Leonard's 18th birthday, he's got a plan:  He's going to kill Asher Beal and then kill himself.  Before he does that, he's going to say goodbye to 4 important people in his life-- he has going away presents for them.  As the day goes on, Leonard goes to school with his gun in his backpack and we learn what's led up to his final breakdown... and whether he's beyond saving.

This book is the supposed final day in the life of a boy who's been through a lot.  Too much even.  It's a story told through his thoughts and views on life and society.  It's also a story told through footnotes (giving more detail to things that are mentioned) and "Letters From the Future", letters that give you an insight into the hopeful mind of someone on the edge.

First of all, I think Matthew Quick is stalking me.  Ok not really.  I've just had what felt like a wierd coincidence with this author.  This book has been sitting on my Nook for a while now, and about two weeks ago I basically told myself I was going to read it next.  But then I saw Silver Linings Playbook (the movie) and was like, woah never mind, I've got to read that next.  So I read it (you can read my review here), and then I moved on to read this.  NOT EVEN REALIZING it was the same author that wrote both!!  I was part way through when I started wondering just because of the mental illness and the Philadelphia connection.  So, I go to look if it is indeed the same author... and it is!  I guess I didn't make the connection at first because this book is YA and The Silver Linings Playbook is not.  Anyway it was cool that I discovered this author twice in week without even really trying to.

Now on to this book:  This book features Leonard on the day of his 18th birthday.  The day he will commit a murder-suicide.  It's a story of a boy who feels alone.  And his aloneness permeated straight through me.  Throughout the book there were footnotes that gave background information or little insights into topics that were mentioned, and there were letters that were titled "Letters From the Future".  (I must admit those letters confused me a little at first... but all was explained eventually).  I loved these added little features.  I found they made the book more unique and insightful.

It's hard for me to even convey what I felt about this book.  I haven't felt this messed up over a book since I read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.  First of all, I couldn't STOP reading it.  I literally stayed up all night reading and reading and stopping to cry on and off.  I actually went and sat on my steps by myself for a little while just contemplating human nature.  Like, why we are the way we are.  Why we hurt each other all the time.  And how many Leonard Peacock's go unnoticed every single day?  Ughh my heart just hurt!!  And I kind of hated myself at the same time because I know I probably wouldn't be aware enough of someone like Leonard to help him.  I'm too self-absorbed!

Leonard was this sad boy who had something truly terrible happen to him in his past.  He also had a really fucked up home life and didn't have anyone overseeing how he was doing on a daily basis.  What he did have was an AMAZING elderly neighbor and truly SPECTACULAR teacher.  Walt and Herr Silverman were two of my favorite characters that I've met all year.  I wish there were more teachers in real life like Herr Silverman who care on that level.

I could probably philosophize (is that a word?) about this book all day.  It brought up so many issues about the human condition and basically made me question my own character and morals to the point that I can't even describe it. I would be lying if I said this book was perfect.  It wasn't perfect.  The ending was kind of abrupt, and Leonard got irritating at times.  He wanted his classmates to open their minds up to other thoughts and ideas, but at times he was very judgmental and stubborn.  I just want to say that this is a book that's worth reading.  It will get you thinking about why people do certain things, and if you don't cry when reading the convo's between Herr Silverman and Leonard, I'm not sure we can be friends.  It was heart-wrenching!

OVERALL:  Ughhhh this book tore out my heart and made my head hurt from thinking about life... but I liked it.  Leonard Peacock was so real to me, I wanted to reach in and hug him (or at least give him a damn birthday present!).  If you want to read something life changing... read this!

This Book Contains:
  • A depressed main character
  • Tough subjects
  • Cleverly used footnotes
  • Letters from the "future"
  • Lines from old movies (mainly Humphrey Bogart films)
  • The fashion and rock-and-roll lifestyle
  • A violinist
  • Bullying
  • LGBT issues
  • Philadelphia
  • Nazi history

My Rating: 4/4

How I got this book: Thanks to Netgalley and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Date Published: 8/12/2013


  1. This sounds really well.

    Thanks for the review!

  2. So glad you enjoyed this one! It's next on my list :D

  3. I have this book on audio and really need to get to it, however I think I may read it instead to get the full affect of the footnotes and such. I have a hard time with tough issues but they do have thier place and this one for sure does. thanks for sharing your thoughts. great review.