Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult
Release Date: August 13, 2013
Pages: 273 (Hardcover)
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.
I’ll be honest, when it comes to contemporary novels about fucked up kids I’m a very hard critic and I’m also very picky. Even with this being said, this story isn’t a bad one it’s just far too fluffy and unrealistic and, well, ‘dancing around a serious topic’ for me to care about it. Forgive me, Leonard Peacock could have been great, it really could have been but it’s not dark and gritty with a sadistic or even that much of a revenge thirsty protagonist to be. Or maybe I’m just too cynical for this story. Either way, huge let down for me.
I’m a high school student. I’m one of those kids who doesn’t try because I’m not really motivated. I’ve been pushed over the edge so many times I’m shocked that I’m still breathing right now. Leonard Peacock and I have many things in common which makes it even worse because he’s not a likeable character. Matthew Quick made sure to add in every stereotype that’s ever been made about a teen killer. He’s a loner, he’s weird and used to be best friends with the popular kid. Everything about the novel is set up oddly and doesn’t accomplish as much as it could since after reading this, I kept thinking, “this is it? Really?”. It’s anticlimactic and boring.
Although it was really hard for me to like the boo, the writing style is done nicely and really suits the tone that Quick was going for. The end notes are done pretty well but at times felt too much of a hassle to actually read. Like honestly, I’m not going to read a huge ass paragraph at the bottom of a page! Some of the characters are really well done like Herr Silverman even if it’s only barely. He really stands out as a character because of how realistic he is as a teacher and a person.
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock will appeal to a lot of people. But if you’re a reader that enjoys intense and dark novels that are more realistic tales on serious topics rather than just wanting the fluffy stuff, this isn’t a novel you will enjoy. It’s angry enough, Leonard doesn’t do anything that I think a teen in his situation would do. Not even a little bit and that makes me so sad.
For quotes from this book, click here.