Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
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 neighbour, 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 look at a day in the life of a disturbed teenage boy, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.
I should preface this by saying that I read this about three and a half years ago, and that I do not have depression nor am I suicidal.
Okay on to the review!
This is such a well-written book, guys!! I genuinely enjoyed it and read it in about two days. Even though it deals with a fairly hard topic, it’s a fairly easy read in that it flows well.
I really liked the format of the book. It goes back and forth between Leonard narrating currently as he’s interacting with the four mentioned above, how he met these people and their past interactions, and letters from the people involved in his future. I really liked this set up, as it allowed us to see how things from the past influenced things occurring in the present. I also really liked seeing how the letters changed. There was a very distinct way the letters were written when he was totally depressed (and somewhat psychotic tbh) compared to when he was somewhat better. The letters from his future daughter were my favourite, and I thought gave the most insight into what Leonard wants out of life.
The other four characters were interesting, but they felt a little like stereotypes. They aren’t really stereotypes, but they didn’t seem to have a ton of depth to me. However, that could just be because I was reading it a long time ago and don’t have much memory for them. I do remember his teacher and neighbour were both great characters and really genuinely cared for Leonard. Leonard’s parents, especially his mom, were super interesting. They really added to the story (I thought) and made it darker and easier for Leonard to think the way he does.
Finally, the ending. I liked the ending honestly. I won’t spoil anything, but I thought it was well-written. I do agree with some reviewers on Goodreads who say that Leonard will still need lots of help, and that writing letters to himself won’t solve all of his problems. This is very much true, and I don’t think that was highlighted enough. However, I thought there were a lot of good things about the ending. I liked the way his mother acted, not because she’s a good mom, but because life sucks and sometimes that’s what happens and it’s not going to be fixed overnight, so I thought that part was portrayed well. I also liked the last couple of letters. They were well thought out and very telling.
Overall I enjoyed this book. I gave it a 3.75 stars because I have yet to re-read it and it never comes to mind when I’m recommending books to people, but I still really enjoyed and do plan on re-reading it at some point in my life (hopefully soon).
Thanks for reading! xx