Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
Author: Matthew Quick
Genre: YA Serious
It’s Leonard Peacock’s eighteenth birthday. He has big plans. He’s going to deliver gifts to the four people he considers important to him. Then he’s going to off his former best friend Asher and kill himself.
It feels like sometimes subject matter you want to stay away from has a habit of finding you. Or maybe you find it because you need it. I wasn’t big on starting this book but I’m really glad I did. Leonard Peacock is not the easiest character in the world. You feel sorry for him because no one remembers his birthday and his parents are to say the least, not good.
He’s precocious. He’s adorable. He’s needy. He’s rude and obnoxious. In his interactions with people you can see he is both insightful and leaving a lot to be desired. Overall though I liked Leonard. Despite his intentions there was never a point in the book where the character didn’t seem believable. Probably the most moving parts throughout the book were the letters from the future that Leonard had written to himself, part of a school assignment which when you consider he didn’t want a future said a lot.
The interesting thing about this book is that despite it’s bleakness there’s still hope. Leonard’s parents might be absent but for once it was nice to see the teachers given due credit. He has a hero in Herr Silverman. But his English teacher also picks up pretty quickly on the problems and the guidance counselor at least attempts to make contact. Plus there’s his old neighbor who cares about him. He’s not alone. There’s hope here.
Also Leonard has real problems. It’s really heartbreaking to read why he’s doing what he’s doing and I liked the fact that the book doesn’t shy away from that either. Leonard needs help and when it comes down to it no one denies or belittles the fact that he might very well need a lot of it. I don’t want to give too much away so I’m going to put some trigger warnings down at the bottom that might…
Recommend: Yes. This book is a really well written, fast read and Leonard is a lead who keeps you engaged. It’s got horribly dark subject matter but it never loses it’s humanity or it’s hope. I might have chosen this to fill out one of the Great Imagination challenge blocks but I’m really glad I read it.
TRIGGER WARNINGS: Discussions of murder, discussions of suicide, bullying, rape, child abuse, abandonment, and drug use.