03/10/2013

Review: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock {Matthew Quick}



 
Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today he uses his grandfather’s P-38 pistol to kill his former best friend and then himself.

But first he must say good-bye to the people who matter most: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed neighbour; his violin virtuoso classmate; the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, his Holocaust teacher.

Speaking to each in turn and peppered with letters from his future, the frailty of Leonard's hold on life is revealed. And as more of his secrets come to light, the moments tick slowly by, until finally it's time . . .

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0062347047?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creativeASIN=0062347047&linkCode=xm2&tag=litbirboo-21http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0062347047?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creativeASIN=0062347047&linkCode=xm2&tag=litbirboo-21 


Matthew Quick does a wonderful job of showing Leonard's raw emotional state and desperate sadness. He creates an intelligent character, prone to bouts of poignancy, with a good sense of humour and who was entirely sympathetic

I was fascinated by how Leonard saw the world and loved his insight. It also made me realise just how lonely he was; he sees the world so differently to everyone else and can be captivatingly wise, which only makes him feel more alienated.

The sheer desperation he feels broke my heart and when he tries, again and again, to connect with people and is constantly rebuffed, I just wanted to cry. And then, of course, we have the driving force behind Leonard's decision. One of the main things that has led him to this moment: his ex-friend Asher. Asher who deserves so much more than he got.

There were so many times I wanted to reach into the pages and pull Leonard out and let him know that even though the world can be crappy and people can be crappier, there is also a lot of awesome too. I wanted him to know that loneliness is fleeting and sooner or later, we all find someone who loves us.

Thankfully, though, Leonard had people to support him when I was unable to reach into the fictional world. His relationship with his chain-smoking neighbour was beautiful and I adored the way they communicated through Bogart quotes. It made the painful, sincere parts of their conversations that much more intimate.

And then there was Herr Silverman, who just may be one of the best teachers in fiction. He was a fantastically caring character and truly wanted to make a difference in his students' lives. And he did make a difference. He really did. 

Another thing I enjoyed were Leonard's footnotes. Though they were in weird places, they really provided an unbiased insight into Leonard's mind. His footnotes were sometimes funny, sometimes meaningful, sometimes just background information, but always a welcome bonus. The way they disjointed the narrative was perfect for the story.

The letters from the future, however, took some getting used to. The first few were just thrown in and I had no idea what was going on or if the book had suddenly taken a surprising sci-fi turn. It was only after a conversation with Herr Silverman, that I realised what was going on and began to appreciate how wonderful those letters were and what they represented: Leonard's last glimmer of hope.

This novel is dark and gritty and downright scary, but it slowly pulls at your heart in ways you never would've thought. It's a tale that will resonate, one where you'll be unbelievably emotionally invested and one that will end like like most good things in life do: abruptly, without notice and leaving you with an aching for just a bit more.

"Did you ever think about all of the nights you lived through and can't remember? The ones that were so mundane your brain just didn't bother to record them. Hundreds, maybe thousands of nights come and go without being preserved by our memory. Does that ever freak you out? Like maybe your mind recorded all of the wrong nights?"

 


 

Allie is a Pimm's-obsessed reader, who dreams of road tripping over America, learning to surf & becoming fluent in all the languages of her heritage (which, sadly, does not include Elvish). If she's not reading or blogging, you can find her catching up on Teen Wolf, or reigning supreme with Scrabble/Mario Kart.
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16 comments:

  1. This book sounds really good, but I've never heard of it before. I would love to see all the emotions going on through the book. Great review, I will definitely have to look more into it :)

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    1. It's flying kind of low under the radar (which is a shame, since it's so well-written). Give it a try - hopefully you'll be as pleasantly surprised as I was :)

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  2. Wow, that's a very thoughtful quote at the end. I love books that make you think. This sounds fantastic, and I really really want to read it!

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  3. I'm actually not officially in love with Matthew Quick after Silver Linings Playbook. I think that's one of the best stories ever written so i want to make it a mission to read as many of his books as I can. I love the quote and i can't wait to read this one.
    Lily @ Lilysbookblog

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    1. You'll love it, Lily. It's dark and gritty, but also poignant and witty and just AWESOME

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  4. Dark and gritty is right up my alley

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  5. I totally agree with EVERYTHING you said. I seriously loved this book and Herr Silverman was definitely my favourite character. I really connected with this book and all I can say is, I will not forget this one. I'm so glad to see you loved Forgive Me,Leonard Peacock as much as I did!

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    1. I think it's impossible not to connect with this book, it's just so powerful and emotionally charged! :)

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  6. Wow. This is definitely a book I'm going to look into. How do writers make such complicated people?

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    1. Not a clue - but I can tell you I did NOT expect to like Leonard at all, let alone as much as I did

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  7. Beautiful review Allie, some insightful observations. Hope he doesn't go Peter Van Houten lol! That is also a beautiful quote you have picked up. Sounds like an emotional read!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

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    1. Haha I might dare to ask him on Twitter one day and if he goes all Van Houten I can act like it's no big deal and he won't be able to see my heart slowly break ;)

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  8. What a brilliant review! I knew I wanted to read this before, but now you make me want to buy a copy immediately. I'm really glad you were impressed. :)

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    1. I'm so glad you want to read it! It really was fantastic. I was sceptical at first, as this isn't usually the sort of thing I'd go for, but it blew me away

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  9. I think the quote that you picked out sold me. I really want to read this one now. It sounds super powerful. I haven't read a book by Quick, but he's the guy who wrote Silverlining's Playbook, right? I love that you felt so emotionally invested to this book too. Those are the best.

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    1. Yep, that's him! Personally I haven't read Silver Linings yet though, but I've seen the movie. Does that count? Haha.

      Seriously though - this is one to pick up. If for nothing else than its originality!

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