Wednesday, 5 March 2014


Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

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.

Just a quick review for this one, because I'm not totally sure what I want to say about it. Leonard Peacock is a struggling teenager with lousy parents and no friends at school who decides to kill himself on his eighteenth birthday, but not before he's said goodbye to the few people that actually matter to him. Essentially, he's giving them a chance to save his life, which was problematic for me, because it sort of gave away the ending. I mean, this guy clearly didn't really want to kill himself. The whole book was his cry for help. Being pretty sure what was going to happen at the end didn't keep me interested or engaged in the story, it had me skimming pages and skipping over whole chunks because I was getting bored.

I hated the letters from the future and found it hard not to skip them entirely after suffering through the first.

I didn't enjoy the footnotes either. These would have been great if used sparingly, but I was sick of them after the first chapter. There was just so much crammed into them. A great example of these kind of footnotes working really well is Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. This book is an example of what happens when you take a cool, quirky idea and use it to death.

All that being said, there were still a couple of passages that stuck with me, that really resonated, and that's holding me back from giving the book a star rating on Goodreads. I just don't know what to do with it. I didn't like or enjoy the book, but I think that there are a few fragments I'll carry with me for a long time, and I don't know if that affects my opinion of the book overall. If it should affect my rating. The only thing I know for sure is that this book pales in comparison to Silver Linings Playbook, the only other of Quick's novels I've read.

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