Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick



“In addition to the P-38, there are four gifts, one for each of my friends. I want to say good-bye to them properly. I want to give them each something to remember me by. To let them know I really cared about them and I'm sorry I couldn't be more than I was—that I couldn't stick around—and that what's going to happen today isn't their fault.”Today is Leonard Peacock's birthday. It is also the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather's P-38 pistol. Maybe one day he'll believe that being different is okay, important even. But not today.


Seeing its book cover, I really thought it was going to be something funny. But it’s seriously not. It’s about Leonard Peacock, a suicidal teenage boy. He chooses his 18th birthday to kill himself using his grandpa’s old gun, but not without bringing one down with him- his ex-best friend. But first he has to say goodbye to four people that mean something to him and even though it’s his birthday, he wanted to give them gifts. No, his mom is not on the list. She’s the self-absorbed kind, so she totally forgot his birthday.

The person he gave his first gift is his neighbor who shares the same Bograt-Bacall obsession that he does. Honestly, the two of them made me want to watch these old films too! Just so I don’t feel out of place when they do those impressions and references. It’s really interesting and they make it sound cool. The second gift he gave to his, probably, only friend in school, a very talented violinist. It didn’t turn out so well. I hated to think that it was their last talk and it was so unpleasant, it made me so sad. He also gave one to his favorite teacher. Herr Silverman. That name is really catchy. I like the idea that there was this one teacher who knew exactly what was going on with Leonard. While the other teachers merely considered him as acting weird. But Herr, he really knew. He knew and he was willing to help and go the extra mile. Yay for teachers like Herr in real life, while there are not many Herrs there are still teachers like him.

Thinking about it now, I guess one of my fears in being a teacher is not being able to detect the Leonard Peacocks in my class. How do I even deal with teenagers? I couldn’t even deal with myself when I was in my teens! Okay, so I just scared myself here. Hopes in becoming a teacher in the future is definitely depleting… fast!

The last person he gave a present is a Christian girl which he has a crush on. This too did not end too well. He met her while he was in his excursions of following adults riding the train on the way to their work and pretending like one. This was the saddest part in the book. Leonard wanted to find out if there was something to look forward to in being an adult? Big percent of the people he tailed where unhappy with their work and seemingly their lives. That really hit home for me. I would love to say that I am happy and content where I am now, regarding my work life and current situation, but I would be lying, when in fact part of the reason I read books is to escape from this sometimes unbearable life.

I really believed that he would die, but thank God he didn’t, and it was all because of Herr Silverman. I don’t know what to make out of this book. It’s just so sad, and I read for fun, but funnily enough I couldn’t put it down because as much as I didn’t want to attach myself to Leonard Peacock, he is this character that you can’t not love. You empathize with him, you feel his sorrows and it’s just so wrong for one person to experience all those shit.

Leonard is forever in my heart. He may not have had a happy ending but definitely I learned a great deal from him.


4 stars

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