Friday, 6 June 2014

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock - Matthew Quick

Title: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock - Matthew Quick
Publisher: Headline
Series: N/A
Service: Headline via Bookbridgr (In return for an honest review)
Release Date: 16/01/2014
Pages: 288
Format: Paperback 


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Leonard Peacock is turning 18. And he wants to say goodbye. Not to his former best friend, whose torments have driven him to consider committing something tragic and horrific.

Nor his mum who's moved out and left him to fend for himself. But to his four best friends. A Humphrey Bogart - obsessed neighbour. A teenage violin virtuoso. A pastor's daughter. A teacher.

Most of the time Leonard believes he's weird and sad but these friends have made him think that maybe he's not.

He wants to thank them, and bid them farewell.

Give me some words…
Why do you say that?

I originally picked up Quick's book 'Silver Linings Playbook' and after all the hype I was disappointed to find that I just couldn't bring myself to finish it. So I jumped at the chance to give another one of his books a go and was so pleased I did.

'Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock' is all about Leonard on his eighteenth birthday and his choice to commit suicide after a range of events that have happened over the years. Before he ends his life, Leonard wants to hand out gifts to four of the people who have made his life bearable and in doing so we begin to learn of what happened to Leonard and why these people have such a significance in his life.

This book would have been nowhere near as great had it not been for the character Leonard Peacock. He satisfied for me what Pat at Tiffany did not. Leonard is perhaps one of the loneliest fictional characters I have come across and I felt for him right from the first page. Leonard's highs and lows through the story also became my highs and lows and I found myself in tears more than once. His interaction with those he loves is heart breaking in both good and bad ways. Quick did a fantastic job in  showing that even those you have spent a lot of time with can sometimes surprise you by either exceeding your expectations or showing you a completely different side to them you never knew.

I was confused by the 'letters from the future' sections of the book to start with but that was soon cleared up and they became the parts of the story that I really enjoyed. And perhaps that is the other reason I loved Leonard's character. Throughout all the things that have happened Leonard clearly still thinks of his future and tries to see the positive which makes his resolve to commit suicide, in my eyes, even more heart wrenching.

As far as the other character in this book are concerned, Walt and Herr Silverman are some of my favourites. They were obviously filling in for Leonard's lack of a father figure but both did so in their own unique ways. I found Herr Silverman's story and response to the things he face particularly interesting. I believe he truly care about Leonard and his well being.

On the other hand, Asher Beal and Linda are two people who I grew to intensely dislike throughout the whole book. Linda is an absolute disgrace of a fictional mother and even writing about her now is making me angry. Rather than trying to understand what Leonard is going through she has become to absorbed in her own life and thinks that Leonard just pulls stunts in order to get her attention, downplaying the seriousness of the situation.

Overall, I think this book really reminded me how crap the world can be and how people can be rather cruel. It pays to be kind and be mindful that people are sometimes going through their own battle. 'Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock' has convinced me to continue reading material from Matthew Quick.

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