Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Review: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

What a great read! Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is the first book I've read by Matthew Quick. Quick is famous for writing The Silver Lining's Playbook. That book and movie was last year's everything. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock doesn't stray too far from that same model of having a protagonist who isn't quite right in the head. 

Leonard Peacock narrates the story that's taking place over the course of 24 hours. What makes this day different is that he's going to kill Asher Beal and then committ suicide. He's planned this day to the point where he's carrying his grandfather's P-38 WWII pistol. He also has presents for four people he wants to say goodbye to. These items, as well as the P-38, are ironically wrapped in pink wrapping paper contrary to its morbid cause. 

What keeps the reader engaged with this novel is the voice of Leonard Peacock. He's obviously brilliant and observant. Quick has made him a fully developed character. The secondary characters are brought to life through the eyes of Leonard as well. I could see the religious Zealot Lauren, and his favorite teach Herr Silverman.

Leonard watches (stalks) adults he crosses paths with, in an effort to find out if that is the life for him. What he discovers makes getting to adulthood seem pointless to him. Because he's deeply troubled, he finds the most seemingly broken (or angry) person he can to justify his reasoning for going through with the suicide. The Leonard Peacock I met in this story would find that to be a huge flaw in his theory. It's very inconclusive and negates the many of us adults who are extremely happy.

Although we know the novel is about suicide, Matthew Quick doesn't write an insanely melodramatic anti-hero that turns off readers with his whining. There are parts where Leonard makes me laugh-out-loud and other moments I thought to myself, this kid gets it. I was especially entertained when Leonard Peacock had questions for his love interest who's a religious nut. Questions I've wanted to ask the many religious nuts in my family. 

Leonard Peacock also references the reasons behind wanting to kill Asher Beal who was once his best friend. The reader could see it coming from a mile away but it's still worth reading on to findout definitively what occurred. The other antagonist in this book is Linda, Leonard's mother. She is referenced most in this novel and her abandoning him. She seems like the caricature he accuses her of being.

Overall, Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is a story of hope. Matthew Quick says that the idea for this novel came from students he had while teaching, who saw the approach of adulthood and it scared the shit out of them. There is always hope. Ulitmately, this novel should entice readers to "trust in the future". I know anytime I'm having a bad day, I will think of that nugget of inspiration. "Trust in the future". I can't wait to read more by this author.  ****

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