Review: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, by Matthew Quick
July 3rd, 2013 by Liza Wiemer

13477676Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Pub date: August 13th 2013, pages: 288


Summary from Goodreads

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 this riveting book, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.

My review:

Powerful and unforgettable. I suspect that I’ll be thinking about Leonard Peacock for years to come.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is a novel that imagines some of the pain that might be in the mind of a young adult who makes the decision to kill another person, and then himself. Murder/Suicide. Leonard Peacock’s story is revealing, heartbreaking, ultra-charged with enough emotional power it could light up a city. It’s a warning to parents, teachers, friends. It’s a mirror, reflecting perhaps someone we know or just a nameless person in our society who has the potential to become a headline. For me, this novel shows us our responsibility to not just care, but to take action. Like Herr Silverman did. Do not ignore children! Pretty much every adult did, even those who were concerned weren’t equipped to help. Not easy.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is important. Perhaps if parents, teens, and teachers read this book it would show them that there are options, that there is a responsibility to not turn away, to see warning signs. Ultimately, this is a novel about hope. That there is a way to get out of the hell of darkness and find some light, even when people you love fail you. There is HOPE. There is still LOVE, even if it hasn’t been found yet. That might sound a little trite, but read this novel and you’ll understand the full impact of what it means.

Put Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock on your must-read list. It’s an important book.

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