Print Length: 286 pages
How would you spend your birthday if you knew it would be your last?
Eighteen-year-old Leonard Peacock knows exactly what he’ll do. He’ll say goodbye.
Not to his mum – who he calls Linda because it annoys her – who’s moved out and left him to fend for himself. Nor to his former best friend, whose torments have driven him to consider committing the unthinkable. But to his four friends: a Humphrey-Bogart-obsessed neighbour, a teenage violin virtuoso, a pastor’s daughter and 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 say goodbye.
In this riveting and heart-breaking book, acclaimed author Matthew Quick introduces Leonard Peacock, a hero as warm and endearing as he is troubled. And he shows how just a glimmer of hope can make the world of difference.
Narrated in the first person, we follow Leonard as he makes his journey to each person he is going to say goodbye to. Before he sets out, he wraps a carefully chosen gift for each one, leaving a rather bizarre gift (but still very fitting) in the fridge for his mother. Everyone he gifts to has a feeling that something is wrong. If only they would say two words to Leonard, which will change the path of destruction he’s on. Of course no-one has any idea of the significance of this day!
Interspersed with letters from the future, a picture builds of his childhood, friendships with peers and how he identifies with one specific teacher, Herr Silvermann.
From the beginning it is very clear how unique Leonard is. His thought processes throughout are amazing. Seemingly random, they are very Aquarian in nature. Just loved some of the thought-provoking questions he poses! In amongst the darkness and depression there are many insightful moments. I loved the analogy of the lighthouse … shining its light but no-one seeing.
There is intrigue surrounding something that happened with best mate Asher Beal that changed the nature of their friendship … and how Leonard feels about himself; the trigger that leads to the end Leonard is working towards achieving. This incident changed not only their friendship but also how Leonard is always on the edge of everything, always angry at the world.
One simple thing Leonard always wants to ask Herr Silvermann but is afraid to (just in case the answer is more banal than his mind conjures) is vital at a turning point in the story. I hope everyone has a Herr Silvermann in their lives when needed!
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is issue-led. It’s a poignant novel that explores how clinical depression can skew our thoughts. Asher and his emotional blackmail is a very real part of some teens lives and some can see no way out. It’s not just teens either. Quick deals with this honestly and with realism. The hope comes in the form of the last letter from the future.
I hope the fictional Leonard Peacock inspires others to speak out and find help.
I would like to thank the publishers for providing a proof copy in exchange for an honest review.