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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Review: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: August 13, 2013
Pages: 288
Source: For Review from Hachette Book Group Canada
Rating: 4 Stars

In 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 short: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick may not be an easy or pleasant read, but it’s an important one with a vital message.
Look, I read another contemporary book! Like, the fifth one I’ve read so far this year, which may not sound so impressive, but I’m at least pleased with myself because this genre isn’t my forte. It’s also of a subject matter that is much darker than I’m used to. Leonard Peacock is tired of feeling so helpless and irrelevant and so ready to be done with life that he plans to kill himself - and his ex-best friend who ruined his life - on his birthday. For him, it is the best birthday present ever.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock was not an easy read, nor was it very pleasant to read at all. I found it at times to be disturbingly relatable, which made me a bit uncomfortable (not that I ever have or would consider the steps Leonard plans to take to off himself and his ex-best friend). But even though it wasn’t a pleasant read, I can fully acknowledge that it is absolutely an important one with a vital message.

I alternated between feeling frustrated with Leonard that he feels this is the only way out for him and feeling truly empathetic for his feelings of loneliness and alienation as a result of bullying. I’ve been there and it’s the worst, but a murder-suicide is not the way to go obviously and it was frustrating to me that he couldn’t understand that, despite having an amazing mentor. Overall though, I honestly liked him; I thought he was an interesting, intelligent, and thoughtful person and I would love to be his friend.

The only thing that I wasn’t too keen on was the lack of closure in the ending. I’m someone who likes very complete and exact endings, so I really wanted to see how the stories for each of the characters ended, but found it lacking. This shouldn’t bother people who are okay with more open endings though. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock was my first book by Matthew Quick and I was incredibly impressed with his intelligent and unique writing style, as well as his genuine characterization.

Other Reviews:
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More Than Just Magic
My Precious

Author Links:


  1. I have a few of Matthew Quick's book on my TBR list, but I think I want to dive into this one first. The synopsis definitely grabs your attention. Right now, I feel like dropping the book I have and picking up this one. I guess I'll have to do some book shopping tomorrow for this one. Thank goodness, it's already out. Anyways, fantastic review!

    Holly @ Absorbing the Content

  2. Wow, I had no idea that this book was about a murder-suicide. I can see now how this is a completely relevant topic that needs to be addressed to teens out there. It's always amazing how an author is able to make the main character relatable, without having the reader actually experiencing the same thing. Leonard seems like a great character that goes through these realistic hardships. The lack of closure varies for me from book to book. If it's done well, sometimes I love it. I guess I'll have to read this one to find out! Hooray for reading another contemporary, Aylee! Wonderful review as always. :)

  3. Glad you liked it! I have it on my Kindle, waiting to be read...

  4. Well, that blurb completely grabbed me - definitely one I will be looking out for. I don't mind endings with a lack of closure, as long as they don't just seem like a cop-out. But they can be frustrating sometimes! Great review.

  5. Interesting - and what a daring topic! Well done for reading another contemporary ;) I finished a contemp today (Before I Die) and it didn't have much closure either. although I can see why... *cough*dying first-person narrator*cough*. I understand what you mean about a book making you uncomfortable ... It happened to me with Noughts and Crosses. Great review :)

  6. "I’m someone who likes very complete and exact endings, so I really wanted to see how the stories for each of the characters ended, but found it lacking."

    I'm the exact same way Aylee, so I likely would have the same issue with this book. It sounds like this is one I really need to be in the right mindset for, one I have to work my way up to before jumping in, but I'm glad it worked so well for you and that it carries such an important message. Beautiful review my friend!

  7. Glad you enjoyed it :) I'm not a biggy on contemporary either, but I might give this one a shot!

  8. Wonderful review! I do like endings with some more closure, but I'm not opposed to an open ending sometimes. I really do want to read this. It sounds fascinating.

  9. I like closure in the endings too and this one might let me down a bit too

  10. Like you, I don't read that much contemporary, but i was just checking this out on Audible since I have an extra credit I don't know what to do with.
    Also like you, I'm a huge fan of clean cut endings, so unresolved things make me twitchy. :)
    I'll consider this some more, but I'll probably end up buying the audio.
    Great review, Aylee!

  11. Great review Aylee. I really like how you are able to capture the essence of Leonard's being in your words. It impressed me the amount of wisdom and intelligence this young man possessed. It surprises me you empathize with him, I would have never guessed someone like you could have gone through anything like Leonard. You see like such a strong person. I totally agree with your assessment, I'm sure I would like to be friends with Leonard, too! Finally, the ending, yes open ended books don't really set well with me. I like everything to be wrapped up and finalized, sort of like a project. I don't like loose ends....

    1. I seem like a strong person?? Wow, that surprises me! I guess I must come across a bit differently on my blog than I do in real life. Unfortunately, I dealt with some pretty bad bullying in Junior High and High School and was pretty unhappy with life in that time. But that's why I wanted to tell Leonard that I get it and don't give up now because it DOES get better later in life.

    2. I'm truly sorry about that Aylee. Now that its over aren't you happy you don't have to go back? I didn't really enjoy my Junior High or High School that much either. You definitely have come through it all a stronger and better person. I would never have thought of you in any other way but strong. You seem to have your sh*t together and bright future ahead of you!

    3. Aww, thank you so much, Gina!! I'm not sure I'm completely strong yet, completely up to the self-esteem levels I had pre-bullying, but I'm getting there slowly. I'm definitely glad I don't have to go back! I'm a much happier person now and there's no way I'm looking back.

  12. Open endings are not something I particularly like either. And especially in a story like this, I would definitely need that sense of closure. I'm glad it worked for you otherwise though. I was surprised when I saw the title as I know you aren't a huge contemporary fan! I don't think I am either, but I've been picking up more and more this year compared to last. I'll give this one a try. Great review, Aylee! :)

  13. I've seen a lot of hype for this and I'm really curious about it, but books that make people feel uncomfortable make me well...feel uncomfortable and that's not something I'm...comfortable with. I'm gonna think about reading it. But yay for you reading out of your comfort zone Aylee :)

    Cait x

  14. I'm always drawn in by this cover but I hadn't really seen many reviews for it.

    I'm not sure if it would work for me or not, especially with the ending but I think I'll give it a try.

  15. *nods* I would want more closure too, for sure.
    And I totally understand what you mean with a book not being an easy or comfortable read, but and Important one. I think I'm gonna check this one out.

  16. You changed your blog design!! It looks great and I really love the header which is perfect for your blog (although I loved the old one too).

    I haven't heard of this one at all but I enjoy gritty contemporaries now and then and don't mind open endings so I'll add this one to my wishlist. I like that even though this wasn't easy or pleasant to read, you can still relate to the main character. Thanks for the recommendation, Aylee.

  17. Oh my, this sounds very dark. And especially in a book that could be kind of depressing, I think I'd want some complete closure too!

  18. I haven't read anything by Matthew Quick myself- but I have had The Silver Linings Playbook on my TBR for a long time. It would seem that he writes about dark/heavy issues. I can see how this book would not be pleasant to read. I had a similar experience with Thirteen Reasons Why. It felt necessary to read but it was hard. I am not sure that I am going to add this book to my TBR. It might be to much for my soul, and an open end I am sure I would like in this kind of a book.

    Thanks for the review.

  19. I've been really curious about this one since I first heard about it. I haven't read any contemporaries in the last few years but I am mentally saving it for later when I (hopefully) shake off my slump. I can see it being a truly difficult read, but I'm happy that it was well worth it for you! Thanks for the lovely review ^^

  20. Yay! You read a contemporary and yay again as you liked it. I haven't heard of this book before but I'll surely keep my eye out for it. It does sound good except for the lack of closure ending. I'm quite a fan of not so easy reads so this looks like it's right up my alley. Thanks for bringing this book to my notice and for the wonderful review, Aylee.

    Sarika @ The Readdicts