Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.
But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart – obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.
I’ve meant to read this novel since last year, added this to my to-be-read list that would suit one category from Lucky No.14, instead I finished it last weekend.
I’ve read Q’s other work on Young Adult, Boy 21, and loved it. And this? I loved it. But first, let me tell you what this novel is about. By reading the synopsis, you must catch that this is a kind of reads that explore suicide topic and yes it is.
Maybe I’ve transcended my age, so to speak.
Leonard Peacock is skeptical about life, adulthood, and happiness. He’s bitter to those topic. But why would a teenager being like that? Turns out, he has once experience a normal childhood. Had a best-friend and for some years having life of normal kid but then he lost it, just when he’s still a middle-grader. Something’s horrible happened, you’ll discover it when chapter by chapter Leo opened up. Since then, he gives up life. He thought, what’s the point of continuing life if when you grow older you’ll be less happy? Besides, it’s not like he had someone who will sincerely missed him if he’s gone.
Any normal mom would have taken me to a therapist or at least a doctor, but not Linda. I heard her talking on the phone to her French boyfriend and she actually said, “I won’t let some therapist blame me for Leo’s problems.” And that’s when I really knew I was on my own-that I couldn’t count on Linda to save me.
This novel surely has a dark tone. Q dragged his reader to Leo’s deepest, lent his reader a sorrowful and empty life. But Leo, he’s actually smart, like intellectually smart. Maybe that’s why he’s skeptical and slowly drift himself as a social misfit. But you see, Leo has no one. His dear friend became his bully. His mother prefered to ignore the fact that he’s miserable. No one stands beside him. Though maybe he befriend Walt, he can’t open up. And another one that he thought as a good people was just Herr Silverman, his WW II history teacher.
The trauma that he brought all the past years has become unbearable. He has no hope in living adulthood, not that he didn’t try to. He had done this trial of studying adults and (acting to) be one of them. He also had done this particular advice from Herr Silverman to write letters to his future-self (where in those letters he convinced his self to hold on a little longer). But it seems like there’s nothing can stop him to attempt a suicide (after shooting Asher Beal, the one he detested the most). Almost.
“My life will get better? You really believe that?” I ask, even though I know what he will say—what most adults would feel they have to say when asked such a question, even though the overwhelming amount of evidence and life experience suggests that people’s lives get worse and worse until you die. Most adults just aren’t happy—that’s a fact.
But I know it will sound less like a lie coming from Herr Silverman.
“It can. If you’re willing to do the work.”
“Not letting the world destroy you. That’s a daily battle.”
Well, if you’d like to read a YA that makes you think about adulthood and happiness but also gives you an angle of ones who resents life, try to read this. Even if Leo was sometimes a hateful character (because he’s so bitter about so many things), you’ll still understand his situation. Just one thing though, I do feel something’s off at the ending. I mean, that’s it? That’s it, Q?
Title: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock Author: Matthew Quick Release Date: 2013 Publisher: Hachett Book Format: ebook Page Count: 198 pages Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Mental Health Issue