I am continuing to choose books from my long reading list on Goodreads, which you can actually check out here. This Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock has been on the list since 2013 and I have no idea where it came from. I think it might also have been a potential book club selection that was rejected. Interestingly the author, Matthew Quick, also wrote The Silver Linings Playbook.
On the day of his eighteenth birthday, Leonard Peacock plans to do three things, hand out a series of gifts to the people he cares about, kill his childhood best friend, Asher Beal and then kill himself.
As Leonard makes his way through his day he tells the story of the incidents that have lead to his decisions, ultimately sending out a cry for help and a desperate need for acceptance that could make the difference between life and death.
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock was a very interesting read. Leonard is a complex character. He is not immediately likable and while it becomes easier and easier to understand his motivations and to empathise with him, he remains quite challenging. In many ways he is the quintessential misunderstood teenage loner, ahead of his age in intelligence and critical thinking but deeply damaged by woeful parental neglect and disturbing past incidents.
For the most part I think Quick does a good job with the supporting characters in explaining their motivations and reserving judgement, with the notable exception of Leonard’s mother, who seems to be pure villain. The again this could just be a side effect of Leonard being a potentially unreliable narrator.
This is a pretty bleak novel, but it will make you think and consider the ways in which your actions affect others. It echoed back for me in many ways to Thirteen Reasons Why in terms of its core themes. If you’re looking for a light read with a clear ending, I wouldn’t recommend this one but for a though-provoking look at teenage depression it’s a good choice.