FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK
Boston : Little, Brown, 2013
Today is Leonard's 18th birthday. And he has a special celebration in mind. He wonders if his mother will remember. She is away on business and never seems to care what he does. Chances are she will forget as usual. You would think that a mother would remember giving birth. His friends won't remember since he has none. He's a misfit. The kids make fun of him and he is always bullied in school. His teachers probably aren't told when birthdays are so they won't know. They don't really care anyway. Except for one. Leonard's former best friend should know but he has become so hurtful to Leonard. Little does Asher Beal know, but he is really the guest of honor at Leonard's celebration. No cake and ice cream. Just a loaded gun.
Categorized as realistic fiction dealing with bullying; very character driven yet fast-paced.
...and just like that, I fell in love with Matthew Quick and Leonard Peacock.
Also the author of The Silver Linings Playbook, this book is incredibly cleverly crafted, and subtleties are important - the comma in the title, for example, and even Quick's choice of the main character's name - Peacock serves as a wonderful symbol for Vision, Spirituality, Awakening, Guidance, Protection, & Watchfulness
Describing the plot of this book doesn't do the story justice, but here's the short annotation:
17-year-old Leonard Peacock has finished with the bullying he's faced; his plans include saying goodbye to people who matter to him by giving them gifts, then shooting the bully, and killing himself.
Pretty brutal, isn't it? It's been possibly overdone in YA literature, but Quick's story transcends the cliché of the high schooler who is "losing it" and had me racing to the end rather than sluggishly plodding through as I have in other similarly-themed books; after reading the summary and first page, I wanted to abandon it - too intense! BUT I very quickly became wholly engrossed and stole whatever moments I could to read to the end. Listen to the voice of Leonard and you'll see what I mean:
(READ PAGES 1 and 2 along with footnotes)
A wonderful aspect of this book, and very possibly my favorite, is that Leonard plans to end human life, his own included, and in the process is experiencing life in ways that most people never have the chance or vision to do. I will NEVER forget Leonard, nor will I forget his journey. This book was captivating, disturbing, realistic, and simply exceptional. I've read all of the Flume nominees, and THIS is my pick for the winner - if you can only read a few of these ten books, please be sure to include Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock - DO NOT MISS IT! (Booktalk by NH Flume Committee)
|SUBJECTS: Suicide --
Teenage boys -- Fiction.