Review: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

forgive me leonard peacock

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

No one remembers Leonard’s 18th birthday, not even his mother who is busy with her new French boyfriend in New York City.  Leonard has big birthday plans.  He has presents for four of his closest friends.  He also has a present for his ex best friend, a bullet.  Specifically, a bullet right in his face.  Then Leonard will finish his birthday night by killing himself too.  First though, Leonard has to hand out his presents.  There is one for Walt, his next-door neighbor with whom Walt watches Bogart movies.  One for Lauren, the Christian homeschooler who tried to convert Leonard but only got him to lust after her more.  One for Baback, the gifted violinist whose practice sessions Leonard finds solace in.  And finally, one for Herr Silverman, the only teacher Leonard finds inspiring at all.  The story takes place all in one day filled with tension, hope and honesty.

Quick has created such a great character in Leonard.  Leonard is often arrogant, violently depressed, isolated, completely lonely, and yet infinitely human as well.  While he looks down on his classmates and most of his teachers, as his motivation is slowly revealed to the reader, it all makes sense.  Leonard is a puzzle that the reader gets to solve, and yet he remains complicated still. 

A book like this can be so dark there is not even a glimmer of light, but Quick shines light throughout if you are watching for it.  By the end of the book, you know that Leonard can be alright, if he just allows himself to believe it.  Quick has also written a great character who is a testimony to the role of teachers in teens’ lives.  Herr Silverman puts his own career in jeopardy to help Leonard, making him a hero in every sense of the word.  He is selfless and courageous, and it is clear from the first time he enters the book that he will either save Leonard or Leonard is beyond saving entirely. 

Harrowing, frightening and astonishingly hopeful, this book is a strong and passionate look at a boy willing to destroy everything, especially himself.  Appropriate for ages 14-17.

Reviewed from ARC received from Little, Brown.

Top 40 Reads in 2010

Here are my top picks for books I reviewed in 2010.  And yes, there are FORTY of them, and yes it was necessary.  Seriously, look at the great reads!

Anna Hibiscus Bamboo People Bink & Gollie

Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke (reviewed September 9, 2010)

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins (reviewed July 30, 2010)

Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo an Alison McGhee, illustrated by Tony Fucile (reviewed October 15, 2010)

Boom! The Cardturner: A Novel about a King, a Queen, and a Joker 7662594

Boom! by Mark Haddon (reviewed May 27, 2010)

The Cardturner by Louis Sachar (reviewed May 19, 2010)

Chalk by Bill Thomson (reviewed July 15, 2010)

Cosmic Crazy The Dreamer

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce (reviewed February 1, 2010)

Crazy by Han Nolan (reviewed October 25, 2010)

The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan and Peter Sis (reviewed March 5, 2010)

Drizzle Half Brother Henry in Love

Drizzle by Kathleen Van Cleve (reviewed March 22, 2010)

Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel (reviewed September 20, 2010)

Henry in Love by Peter McCarty (reviewed January 29, 2010)

Hush 8036440 It's a Book

Hush by Eishes Chayil (reviewed September 3, 2010)

Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein (reviewed August 17, 2010)

It’s a Book by Lane Smith (reviewed September 17, 2010)

The Kneebone Boy The Last Summer of the Death Warriors A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend

The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter (reviewed August 16, 2010)

The Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X. Stork (reviewed February 19, 2010)

A Love Story Starring My Dead Best Friend by Emily Horner (reviewed June 14, 2010)

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1) Meanwhile Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse

The Maze Runner by James Dashner (reviewed January 4, 2010)

Meanwhile by Jason Shiga (reviewed March 25, 2010)

Mirror Mirror by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Josee Masse (reviewed March 12, 2010)

Nothing Once (Once, #1) One Crazy Summer

Nothing by Janne Teller (reviewed February 26, 2010)

Once by Morris Gleitzman (reviewed April 22, 2010)

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia (reviewed March 26, 2010)

Out of My Mind Picture the Dead The Quiet Book

Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper (reviewed March 16, 2010)

Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin (reviewed June 1, 2010)

The Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Renata Liwska (reviewed March 19, 2010)

Ship Breaker (Ship Breaker, #1) A Sick Day for Amos McGee Smile

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (reviewed July 6, 2010)

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead (reviewed May 7, 2010)

Smile by Raina Telgemeier (reviewed February 17, 2010)

Star Crossed (Thief Errant, #1) Stolen: A Letter to My Captor A Tale Dark & Grimm (A Tale Dark & Grimm, #1)

Star Crossed by Elizabeth C. Bunce (reviewed October 1, 2010)

Stolen by Lucy Christopher (reviewed April 19, 2010)

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz (reviewed December 6, 2010)

Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood Trickster: Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection Turtle in Paradise

Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards (reviewed June 7, 2010)

Trickster edited by Matt Dembicki (reviewed July 6, 2010)

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm (reviewed June 21, 2010)

The Water Seeker White Cat (Curse Workers, #1)

The Water Seeker by Kimberly Willis Holt (reviewed June 22, 2010)

White Cat by Holly Black (reviewed September 21, 2010)

Will Grayson, Will Grayson Zombies Vs. Unicorns

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan (reviewed February 22, 2010)

Zombies vs. Unicorns edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (reviewed November 17, 2010)