Monday, December 2, 2013

Review of Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

 Forgive Me, Leonard PeacockIn 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.

(Summary from GoodReads) 

Given how commonplace shootings have become, Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is a timely book.  Knowing this book was about who had a gun, I expected this to have a lot of graphic violence.  Instead, it’s an emotionally gutting story of how a young man tries to connect with others in his life.  Although I was absorbed in Leonard’s story as I read it, it didn't stay with me.

Leonard Peacock reminded me a great deal of Holden Caulfield.  A lot of bad things have happened to him over the years, and he doesn’t have much faith in the people around him.  I wasn’t sure how to feel about Leonard at first, because the way he interacts with other people is bizarre and feels almost intrusive at times. I ultimately found myself starting to understand Leonard’s actions and hoping he could start to gain more support from people who could really help him.

The writing in this story is okay.  Leonard is our narrator, and he adds a lot of footnotes as he speaks.  I found this mildly annoying because I was reading this book on my iPad (#firstworldproblems) and didn’t really get to the footnotes until the end.  I did think the information in the footnotes was at least mildly suited to that format.

Quick’s talent shines through in the depiction of his characters.  He focuses on roughly five side characters here, which is a decent amount for a 273 page novel.  Each character was always fully developed, and they all felt like they had a place in the story.  As I imagine many other reviewers have said, Herr Silverman was my favorite side character.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is a fast, emotionally affecting novel.  However, I’ve found that it hasn’t really stayed with me. Quick’s novel is a good pick for readers who prefer heavy topics or want to read about a character who struggles to find faith in others.

Disclosure: I received this digital ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Other reviews:

1 comment:

  1. I gave this five stars, but I totally agree with you about being something that didn't stick with you. I read it a few months ago and to be completely honest, I can barely remember any of it. It impacted me at the time, but it isn't necessarily memorable.



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