October 2, 2013

“Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock” by Matthew Quick – The Hardest Step to Take

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick (book cover)
The crime of murder is certainly not something new (it can be argued that the concept existed long before humans were even existing), but the invention of technologically-superior killing tools has certainly made the job much easier. 

It seems that in recent years the United States have seen a rabid increase in public shootings, especially ones where an angry teenager is the perpetrator.

In Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick, we enter the mind of such a person, as we follow a young teenager, Leonard Peacock, during what he plans to be the last hours of his life. In a few hours, he will use his grandfather’s World War II service pistol to murder his ex-best friend, and then take his own life. 

Before he sets out on this journey though, he feels the need to write four different goodbye letters to the people who influence him the most: his neighbor, a Christian homeschooler, his classmate and violin virtuoso, and his school’s Holocaust teacher.

First off, this isn’t exactly the kind of book that is easy to stomach; the subject matter is very heavy and emotional, and those who get into it will find that it leaves a mark on you. We are basically treated to a first-hand exploration of the mind of a teenager who is troubled and angry at the world (or more precisely, his best friend), and the mental process which allows him to bring himself to the edge and commit the unspeakable. 

We learn about all of the events and incidents which led to Leonard becoming the way he is, including neglect from his mother, the loss of a friend, and the inability to fit in with anyone.

Fortunately, the novel is not all shrouded in darkness as there are some rays of hope here and there when Quick changes his writing style to something a little more light-hearted

We get to see both the bad and the good of Leonard’s life and what left a mark on him, to the point where he becomes an incredibly real and developed character, so much so that you start to get the urge to enter his world and stop him from doing what he set out to.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick (book cover)
If you are feeling like reading a heavy and emotional novel dealing with teen abuse, murder and suicide, then I wholeheartedly recommend you give Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock a try. 

You probably won’t be able to read it in a single sitting, but I guarantee that by the end of it, you will not regret having picked it up.

Matthew Quick (Author)

Matthew Quick

Personal site

Matthew Quick is undoubtedly one of the more famous writers of our generation, being the author of a number of bestselling novels, most notably The Silver Linings Playbook, which was recently made into a high-grossing movie. He has even received honorable mentions from the PEN and Hemingway Awards.

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