Title: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
Author: Matthew Quick
Genre/Audience: Young adult
Publication: Little, Brown Books, 2013
Source: For review
Today is Leonard Peacock’s 18th birthday, and no one seems to remember or care – not his dad, a criminal he hasn’t seen in years, and especially not his mom, who cares more about her career and boyfriend than her only son. It seems fitting, then, that today is the day Leonard will pack up his grandfather’s old gun in his backpack and kill his former best friend then kill himself immediately afterward. Before going through with it though, Leonard has gifts for the four people he cares about most that he wants to deliver as a way of saying goodbye. This includes: his elderly neighbor, the girl he has a crush on, a musical genius classmate, and his Holocaust teacher. In his meetings with these four people, the mystery of Leonard’s past and motives are unraveled and revealed.
I really liked Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, even though I had an idea of what would happen very early on in the story. I really love controversial stories like this because they stir up emotions and make you think. No one can really truly imagine what it must be like to want to commit these heinous acts, and no one can really understand the state of mind one must be in to want to try, but this story does a good job of attempting to show this. We are always left wondering “why?” in these kinds of situations, and this starts to answer the questions that can never be fully answered.
I also liked the cast of characters. They were very diverse and distinct, particularly the four “friends” that Leonard is gifting and saying his good byes to. And while Leonard isn’t really all that likeable, I did have a lot of questions about him and I wanted to know his story so that I could try and understand. I certainly felt bad for him too.
I’d definitely recommend this one for contemporary YA fans who enjoy books that tackle big, scary issues. I also must mention that Matthew Quick is the author of Silver Linings Playbook, one of my favorite movies and a book that I am dying to read!
My Rating: 4/5