Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

You might remember Matthew Quick is the author The Silver Linings Playbook which I loved. He has also written some YA books, and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is his newest one.

It is fantastic.

Sometimes I love authors because they write beautifully, sometimes I love them because they challenge me and make me think, sometimes I love them for making me laugh...what I love about Matthew Quick is his very gentle and generous and kind view of humanity. Which might seem odd in a book about a young boy who decides on his birthday to kill his former best friend and himself after studying adults and deciding that hey, it doesn't really actually get better. The adults he sees seem just as miserable in their lives and he sees no reason to make it that far. That doesn't mean Leonard really wants to die, though. He's made gifts for the few people who matter to him. He goes about to distribute those gifts and narrates his story...his neglectful mother, absentee father, his elderly neighbor, the church girl he met, etc. And throughout all of this are letters he's written to himself from the people he might know in the future.

As a story it's pretty straightforward, I guess, but it's Leonard's thoughts that make the story so worth reading and the very wonderful teacher that helps him sort through his thoughts. One of my favorite observations is about people who do horrible things...how we have a way of separating them from ourselves in our minds with little to no understand to what has influenced of shaped their behavior. I guess I will always be attracted to stories that acknowledge there's a monster in us all.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is a first person narrative with footnotes that add extra insight. It's about being different and being hurt and about the work we all must do for each other. The last paragraph is one of the most beautiful things I've read all year and made me teary.

It's a quick, satisfying, deep down in the heart good read. I really need to read Quick's other two books immediately and I can't wait for his next adult novel out next year!

I read an earc from the publisher!


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