Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on August 13th 2013
Genres: Death & Dying, School & Education, Sexual Abuse, Social Issues, Suicide, Young Adult, Young Adult Fiction
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 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.
This book was sad. Morose. Depressing. Heartbreaking—whichever word you use to describe it. I knew it was about a guy named Leonard and the P-38 handgun that he took to school to kill his ex-best friend and then himself. I knew that he had four gifts to give before he would unwrap the gun and proceed to do what he had sought after when he woke up that morning. I didn’t know, however, just what this book was about.
If you’re looking for a book on a school shooting, this isn’t the book to read. Sure, Leonard carried the gun in his backpack all day, but he also let the reader in on why he was giving the gifts to those four people. To be honest, half of those people didn’t impress me all that much. I read in another review that it would be difficult to gauge what kind of people they truly are because the readers had only seen what Leonard thought about them. Nevertheless, I found it fitting how he gave out the gifts, the order in which he introduced us to the four most important people in his life.
Leonard had a quick-witted and gruesomely honest voice. My mom ordered a copy of the book after hearing me rave about the audiobook, and I love how the physical copy is formatted. Half of Leonard’s thoughts are in the footnotes. Since I listened to the book, those were read along with the rest of the story and are necessary to understand him as a character and what he was going through. He was mad at the world and hated with a ferocity that was frightening. The reasons behind his hatred broke my heart and sent chills up my spine. I understood him and where he was coming from. His inner dialogue went from jaw-dropping to tear-inducing.
While I loved this book, I hated the last chapter of the book and the absence of closure. I want to know what happened to Leonard, if the last chapter eludes to what I think it could. (I hope not.) Nevertheless, it was a wonderfully crafted book.
This is the first novel that I’ve read by Matthew Quick, and Silver Lining’s Playbooks remains a movie that I see occasionally while picking something to watch on Netflix. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock exceeded my expectations and will not be the last Quick book that I get my hands on.