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Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

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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.

In this riveting look at a day in the life of a disturbed teenage boy, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.

277 pages, Hardcover

First published August 13, 2013

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About the author

Matthew Quick

9 books5,076 followers
Matthew Quick is the New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Linings Playbook—which was made into an Oscar-winning film—and eight other novels, including We Are the Light, a #1 Indie Next Pick and a Book of the Month selection. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages, received a PEN/Hemingway Award Honorable Mention, was an LA Times Book Prize finalist, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, a #1 bestseller in Brazil, a Deutscher Jugendliteratur Preis 2016 (German Youth Literature Prize) nominee, and selected by Nancy Pearl as one of Summer’s Best Books for NPR. The Hollywood Reporter has named him one of Hollywood’s 25 Most Powerful Authors. Matthew lives with his wife, the novelist Alicia Bessette, on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

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Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
January 27, 2019
I imagined all of my blood flowing out into the snow and watching it turn a beautiful crimson color as Philadelphians walked by in a great hurry, not even pasuing to admire the beauty of red snow, let alone register the fact that a high school kid was dying right in front of their eyes.

I don't know how helpful this review will be because I read most of the book through a film of tears. Which is an embarrassingly melodramatic statement to make after this book managed to be so dark and sad without feeling forced or manipulative like my words. But it's true.

Some of my tears were laughter; most of them were sadness. I just... I don't know how to review books like this. I want to string together a list of beautiful, funny or sad quotes from the book when what I'm really saying is: "Just read it. Don't take my word for it. Look, it's there. Go love it." Most of the book's strengths can't be talked about without spoilers and one of the main issues in the story is very much needed; there's not nearly enough books out there about it. But I can't tell you what it is.

I'm tempted to say "I wish all books were like this" but that would totally defeat the point of what I'm saying. Because Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock felt so different to everything else out there and that's partly why I loved it so much. Some of Leonard's problems have been explored in other young adult novels, but none of them do it in quite the same way. I especially liked the creative use of letters Leonard wrote to himself from the future (this makes a lot more sense when you read the book, I swear). But, as with Sorta Like a Rock Star, the real strength lies with the vibrant, full-of-life protagonist himself. He takes center stage and captures your attention for the whole book, dragging you into his life until you find it hard to put down the novel and convince yourself he isn't real.

Sorta Like a Rock Star is a darker book than the cover would have you think but it looks like sunshine and rainbows when compared to this. And yet, somehow, Quick manages to make the dark story of Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock work by mixing in some scenes of humour and, ultimately, hope. I can handle dark and depressing stories just fine, but a light at the end of the tunnel to balance out a story where I care so much about the main character is essential. And in this book, I cared so much I couldn't look away. It's such a sad story-- about how Leonard decided his eighteenth birthday would be his last, and why. Taking his grandfather's P-38 pistol in his backpack, he sets out to kill his former best friend and himself. Over the course of the day, we slowly learn the reasons behind Leonard's decision and are forced to sit on the edge of our seats, hoping one of the people in his life breaks the pattern and stops letting him down.

Leonard Peacock has to be one of the loneliest characters I've ever encountered. He's weird. He's confused. Part of him wants to die but most of him just wants to be saved. There's a sad honesty to his voice that makes the story so convincing and that much more effective. I also love books that weave in questions about morality and make the reader stop and think for a while. There's plenty of questions being asked here about life, death, parental responsibility, the way we view others, and religion. The last of which, in my opinion, gives us some of the funniest moments of the whole novel (though perhaps not if you're particularly devout). There is some mockery of the whole "believe or be damned to hell" aspect of religion but, let's be honest, that is hilarious.

All I can say now is: read this. But be prepared for sadness. There's a sad tone to the novel that goes beyond the "issues" targeted. And I think the reason is Leonard Peacock. Because the author makes you love him and you just want to hug him and solve his problems, knowing that you can't. That's the only reason I can think of to explain why this book was so sad even in the happier bits. And why I was tearing up even when Leonard said "the world would be a better place if they gave medals to great teachers rather than just soldiers." Jeez, I'm going to cry again if I don't stop talking about this book. So, get out of here. Go READ IT.

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August 28, 2013
I remember the day when Columbine happened. Of course, there have been school shootings before, and school shooting since, but as a young teen at the time, Columbine was the event that hit home...why? Because the people involved could easily have been me, or my friends. It was so covered by the media, we watched the footage in school, there were counselors, there were added security on my campus, there were a lot of hushed conversations, a lot of adults not knowing how to react, wanting to discuss it, but fearing that they'll overstep.

This is a hard review for me to write, because I'm not sure how I feel about this book. I can relate to him somewhat. I know a lot of Leonard Peacocks in high school. The bullied, the neglected, the intellectually brilliant, yet unwilling to apply themselves because they don't see the point. I can't say whether any of them ever wanted to kill someone. That's not something you share with others, not if you want to get arrested in a post-Columbine world. I feel like Leonard is a cookie cutter stereotype of the kind who could snap. He's unlikeable, he's downtrodden at times, but he never felt like a real character, much less someone with whom I could ever feel anything less than apathy and disgust.

I'm not sure what this book was trying to accomplish. Was it trying to make us sympathize with the main character, to understand his life, his mindset, before he sets out to kill Asher? It did not convince me.

Was there simply no point? Maybe it is just the story of a teenager who snapped. Maybe we don't have to like the character. Maybe this book is just a mere insight into the mind of a below-average guy. To make us understand that this potential shooter is just like any other self-absorbed teenager all around the world---albeit one with an automatic and a mission to kill?

This book is honest with its portrayal of the main character. I did not like Leonard, and I did not begin to have more developed sympathies towards him until the latter third of the novel. It is narrated through a first-person point of view, largely composed of Leonard's internal dialogue as he goes through his final day, peppered through with flashbacks as he remembers events and people from the past, and some really weird "letters from the future."

Leonard is not a likeable character at all. Yes, he has a sad past, but to what extent does that excuse anything? Plenty of us have difficult lives, and have grown up all the stronger for it; I'm not convinced that is a justification for violence. He's got a neglectful, clueless mother, but Leonard has some excellent adult friends and mentors--Herr Silverman was a delight. He is bullied at school...somewhat, and I understand, really.

I know what it's like to be bullied. Moving to a new country as a child, having a difficult-to-spell name, learning English, looking like a walking toothpick...those aren't exactly the qualities that made me popular as a child growing up. I sympathize with bullying, I really do, but I think it was brushed over too much in this book to make me feel like it was a major issue that ultimately led to Leonard's decision. The young women in the news who were bullied to such an extent that they killed themselves? That devastated me. And while I cannot judge the effects of bullying on every person's state of mind, because everyone perceives and persists through things differently, the bullying was just not well-portrayed, and largely glossed over within this book.

Leonard is more self-absorbed and self-conscious than a typical teenager. He is critical of everyone and everything. He is a hypocrite. I'm not saying that teenagers must be perfect in their actions and their thoughts; it is the nature of development that we go through this stage of intense awareness as we grow up...but the things that goes on within Leonard's mind and his actions doesn't exactly endear me to him.

One overwhelming impression you get of Leonard is that he asks questions. All the time. He's like a 3 year old who keeps asking why, why, why?! He routinely ditches class dozens of time to conduct what he calls "practice-adulthood days," when he picks a person, stalks them, and seemingly annoys the hell out of him. Leonard has a weakness for old-fashioned movie starlet types, and during one of his "days," he follows a tragic-looking woman into an alley and stalks her. Then he asks her weird, personal questions, then acts offended when she calls him a pervert.

On another day, he comes across another one of his Lauren Bacall types, a home-schooled hard-core Christian missionary girl who is spouting the gospels of Jesus at people who, frankly, don't give a crap. Leonard automatically zeroes in on her, and is determined to win her. Like the pretentious, extremely inquisitive little shit that he is, he zeroes in on her, and figures that since he's paying attention to her, since he's singling her out, she should be grateful to him because she owes him something for his expressed interest.
She kept looking eagerly at the people coming out of the subway station and wasn’t really paying me much attention anymore, which I thought was weird, since I was the only person who had taken her pamphlet. You’d think she’d concentrate on winning me over, right?
Naturally, when Lauren doesn't fall for him, he thinks she's an evil femme fatale.
I felt so tricked by Lauren. Being eaten by her was one thing, but introducing me to her boyfriend after she’d led me on—that was entirely unacceptable. She used her femme fatale skills to get me into her church, bait-and-switch style.
He's pretentious, he's entitled. He is a special snowflake. Leonard doesn't think the rules apply to him. It's not just ditching school, it's choosing not to answer the multiple choice questions on a two-part exam because he doesn't feel like it. He argues with teachers for shits and giggles. He shows up to class late. He classifies everyone into categories, he never sees the good in things. Granted, skepticism is part of growing up, but he just has an overwhelming amount of it. The jocks are dumb troglodytes, the smart kids are suck-ups. The world is inferior to Leonard Peacock.

The reveal behind what made him want to kill Asher Beal was devastating...but the way it was written, the way it was so tightly pushed away by Leonard's narrative didn't make me sympathize with him that much. Yes, I know it is a deeply serious problem, but there's a possibly deliberate lack of emotion that kept him at a distance from me, and I still didn't end up completely understanding what ultimately made Leonard snap. This book never succeeded in convincing me of anything.

Possibly. Maybe. Perhaps. Am I meant to enjoy this book? Am I meant to sympathize with Leonard? Am I supposed to hate him? Maybe that's my problem. I enjoy a book that makes me think, but not a book that makes me second-guess myself that much. There's too many questions in my mind throughout reading this book to make it enjoyable; a book doesn't necessarily have to be fun and light to be enjoyable, but this book lacks the quality that absorbs me.
Profile Image for Whitney Atkinson.
943 reviews14k followers
September 19, 2018
tw: antisemitism/nazis, suicidal thoughts and actions, depression, rape/sexual assault

It's strange how this book made me feel simultaneously uncomfortable yet touched. Leonard Peacock is purposefully an unlikable character, yet as his mental illness and traumatic past is slowly unveiled, you can't help but root for him and his recovery. This book nearly tore my heart in half just because of how conflicted I was, but I think that was the point. I adored the side characters in this book, and I loved Leonard's narration itself. I was definitely crying at the book's climax. The storytelling is jarring but honest, and I couldn't put this down.

My only real critique is that the ending was too abrupt. I feel like it needed one more chapter or an epilogue for some finality, or at least an indication of what the characters ended up doing after the climax of the book. I feel like I still don't quite know if the book ended on a positive or negative note. Was that the intention?

Regardless, i'm still wiping mascara smudges off my cheeks from this book. I anticipate I'll be thinking about it for some time, wondering what the characters are up to after the ending of the novel.
Profile Image for Hailey (Hailey in Bookland).
614 reviews87.8k followers
February 10, 2017
This book was heartbreaking but ultimately really enjoyable. My only issue was that I felt like the ending didn't give me enough satisfaction for a rounded out story. Video review maybe to come. Not sure yet.
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
852 reviews3,882 followers
February 15, 2021

When the low, heavy sky weighs like a lid
On the groaning spirit, victim of long ennui,
And from the all-encircling horizon
Spreads over us a day gloomier than the night;

When the earth is changed into a humid dungeon,
In which Hope like a bat
Goes beating the walls with her timid wings
And knocking her head against the rotten ceiling;

- Charles Baudelaire, Spleen

Damn you, Leonard Peacock : you made me remember of who used to be one of my favorite poet when I was a teenager. Ha, Baudelaire with his genius misanthropy, his (often) poor opinion of women and his endless melancholy, always full of irony and cynicism... I would have hated him if I didn't love him so much. Truth is, being close to Leonard felt like that : all hate and contempt and understanding and despair.

Leonard is no conventional hero, and I can see how his unlikeable traits could create great hate in the readers' heart. Not me, though. How much he made me want to hate him, I never did.

When the rain stretching out its endless train
Imitates the bars of a vast prison
And a silent horde of loathsome spiders
Comes to spin their webs in the depths of our brains,

All at once the bells leap with rage
And hurl a frightful roar at heaven,
Even as wandering spirits with no country
Burst into a stubborn, whimpering cry.

- Charles Baudelaire, Spleen

Let's not shy away from the truth : he is a sexist, conceited human being. But see, this is where I have to explain what I hate in books. I hate when sexism is normalized, accepted, encouraged, even. I hate it with passion. Does that mean that every book has to be rid of characters who think like that? No, I don't think so. There is a definite difference between (1) condoning a behavior by giving readers the impression that sexism is normal, and (2) picturing a fucked up character and how he sees life through his prism. It is definitely different, and here lies the talent of an author : for me, a writer in the first situation lets his story tainted by offensive stereotypes, let it drown. A writer in the second position owns it. He controls it. Frankly? It's obvious that what Leonard thinks is often offensive. I mean - GAH. The guy wants to kill someone and himself for fuck sake! Of course his head isn't the better place to be! I sure didn't expect anything else : despair and hate are more often than not intertwined, unfortunately.

— And without drums or music, long hearses
Pass by slowly in my soul; Hope, vanquished,
Weeps, and atrocious, despotic Anguish
On my bowed skull plants her black flag.

- Charles Baudelaire, Spleen

Yet I can't deny that the hate - so much hate - gets hard to stomach at times, especially because it is tainted by so much arrogance. Yet I can't completely dismiss his feelings. Yes, he is judgmental, he assumes many things about his classmates and all the adults in his life. All the time. It gets uncomfortable sometimes and I won't deny it. Yet it seemed real to me, because yes, there are kids like him everywhere. Yes, the moral questions he wonders about constantly are valuable. Are we all monsters? Are we delusional?

I have more memories than if I'd lived a thousand years.

The desire to end all things
A heavy chest of drawers cluttered with balance-sheets,
Processes, love-letters, verses, ballads,
And heavy locks of hair enveloped in receipts,
Hides fewer secrets than my gloomy brain.
It is a pyramid, a vast burial vault
Which contains more corpses than potter's field.
— I am a cemetery abhorred by the moon,
In which long worms crawl like remorse
And constantly harass my dearest dead.
I am an old boudoir full of withered roses,
Where lies a whole litter of old-fashioned dresses,
Where the plaintive pastels and the pale Bouchers,
Alone, breathe in the fragrance from an opened phial.

- Charles Baudelaire, Spleen

But don't get fooled by his conceited mind. Leonard suffers, and at no moment can you dismiss his despair because of his behavior. I couldn't, anyway. Along the way you realize more and more and more that Leonard has problems. Real ones. Devastating ones.

I know how stupid that can seem because DUH look at what he planned! but seeing him mixing half truths, real despair and delusions - it broke me a little. We have a word in French, le désenchantement. It was often used to refer to the post-1830 generation when youngs didn't know what to do anymore, now that epic careers weren't possible - no more Napoleon - and that the politic system just looked stuck, between Monarchy, Republic and Empire. One of my favorite book of all times, Stello, explores this melancholy through the life of a poet who tries to find what political system would give him the more freedom. Truth is - there's none. Freedom is in him, in his poetic quality, in his otherness - Leonard reminded me of him. It's scary how misunderstanding can lead to violence.

If Leonard wants people around him to be helpless and pathetic, it's only because he is. He made me laugh, though (what? I do have a soft spot for smartasses^^) The Jesus parts were PRICELESS

That winged voyager, how weak and gauche he is,
So beautiful before, now comic and ugly!
One man worries his beak with a stubby clay pipe;
Another limps, mimics the cripple who once flew!

The poet resembles this prince of cloud and sky
Who frequents the tempest and laughs at the bowman;
When exiled on the earth, the butt of hoots and jeers,
His giant wings prevent him from walking.

- Charles Baudelaire, The Albatros

I can't deny that some parts made me feel so much. Shivering. Tearing up. Yet it wavered - not my interest, because I was hooked from the beginning (and the writing is beautiful) - but the emotion. It was so weird to see that I could connect on such a strong level with Leonard and then just - stop. Perhaps it was meant to be. Perhaps I was way too exhausted. Regardless of the reason, it prevented me from completely love Leonard's story, but didn't hide to me how important this story is.

Let's talk about Leonard's relations with women, okay? They made me furious at times.

A lightning flash... then night! Fleeting beauty
By whose glance I was suddenly reborn,
Will I see you no more before eternity?

Elsewhere, far, far from here! too late! never perhaps!
For I know not where you fled, you know not where I go,
O you whom I would have loved, O you who knew it!

- Charles Baudelaire, To a Passer-by

Sigh. As other reviewers pointed it, Leonard shares a very bad opinion of women in general and doesn't show any respect most of the time. Plus, he's a stalker. I hated him for it, but as I said earlier, I'm not supposed to love him. I don't have to condone his actions and his way of thinking, and at no moment did I feel any pressure to do so. In my opinion, Quick never intends to redeem him, and I'm okay with that.

My poor Muse, alas! what ails you today?
Your hollow eyes are full of nocturnal visions;
I see in turn reflected on your face
Horror and madness, cold and taciturn.

- Charles Baudelaire, The Sick Muse

Truth be told, I'm not sure that this review will help you determine if Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is for you. What can I say? I'm not even sure it was for me. What you need to know is that it's by no means a perfect book, with several characters a little too one-dimensional and stereotypical (the mother, for example) and a male lead you'll perhaps want to strangle sometimes. Yet I don't regret reading it, and his story will probably haunt me a long time. I'd say that it means something, doesn't it?

"First they ignore you, then
they laugh at you, then they
fight you, then you win."

PS. All the poems are from William Aggeler's translations (1954), but I strongly advise you to read them in French if you can.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for Elle (ellexamines).
1,097 reviews17.7k followers
July 4, 2018
Books, to me, should not be about moralizing. They should be explorations of controversial ideas and of the horrible things that people can do. And that is exactly what this book is: Forgive Me Leonard Peacock avoids moralizing, but also doesn't shy away from the harsh reality of what Leonard plans to do.

And all this is to say that I have seen so many people say that they hate everyone who enjoyed this book. Notwithstanding the fact that I kind of despise that statement, inherently, I completely disagree.

There's so much homophobia here. There's so much misogyny. How dare you excuse it. Here's the thing: this book doesn't excuse any of it. Despite several things I'd usually DNF for— the misogyny and homophobia of the protagonist, namely— this convinced me. How? By narratively showing that all of those things are negative, rather than some accepted behavior.

And none of this is to diss the idea that this book goes to far, or doesn't explore Leonard's issues enough. You know what? In terms of the misogyny, I have to agree. I wanted quite a bit more out of Lauren's character; her lack of agency within the narrative is a blatant weak spot. If a stronger character had been given to her, the scenes in which Leonard ignored consent in his interactions with her would've felt like far more of a purposeful decision.

This is as many-layered a book as you can get, but first and foremost, it is a character study of a deeply traumatized teenager. And it's a very, very good one. Leonard Peacock has one of the most distinctive voices and personalities I've ever seen in YA. Even though he does a lot of crap wrong - a lot, a lot of crap - I adored his character. The writing is lovely, with a quality that brings you straight into Leonard's mind. His thoughts about the world almost reminded me of A Catcher in the Rye in their matter-of-fact quality.

Basically, I have met my match in book form. I read this entire book - yes, the whole damn thing - in an hour and a half without ever breaking, not even to use the bathroom. I don't even think I looked up. I definitely didn't look at the clock. I spent the last 100 pages shaking and feeling as if I couldn't come up for air. This is a book I will not forget for a long, long time, and one I cannot recommend enough.

Trigger warnings: rape and sexual assault.

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Profile Image for Chantal .
343 reviews832 followers
February 8, 2016
I can definitely see why Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is such a beloved book. I believe many readers will find this novel beautiful and heart-breaking; and I did too, to a certain extent. Though I appreciated many things within this book and even found myself emotionally attached to the main character, there were also quite a few elements that really bothered and hindered me at truly loving this story.

The story centres around Leonard Peacock who has decided that he is going to kill himself on his eighteenth birthday. On that morning he packs his grandfather’s Nazi gun into his backpack and sets out to kill not only himself, but also his classmate and nemesis Asher Beal. The story follows him throughout the day, as we slowly learn the reasons behind Leonard’s desperation.

Leonard’s story and his voice appear very honest and raw. Some of the issues that are targeted are rare in fiction and very much needed (I can’t tell you what it is without spoiling). The book has many strong points; Matthew Quick manages to make situations simultaneously depressing and humorous and the novel asks important questions about morality, responsibility and faith. It is also a very engaging story that you will fly through, wanting to know how it ends.

And yet, despite all these positive aspects, this book bothered me.

My main problem was with the protagonist, Leonard Peacock, himself.

He is lonely, an outcast, feels out of place. Something devastating happened to him years ago and he didn’t receive any help. He is neglected. I feel horrible for saying this, but although I did feel for Leonard and could relate to him somewhat, I could not make myself root for him all the way. Leonard Peacock is a stereotype for the suicidal teenager. Bullied and misunderstood, very bright but unwilling to apply himself in school.

However, this wasn’t even the reason I struggled with him. I disliked him because he was so damn condescending and self-absorbed. Seriously, Leonard believes himself to be a special snowflake, superior to everyone else. In his eyes he can do no wrong. If someone disagrees with him, he immediately discredits them. I understand that he’s had a hard life and is sceptical, but that doesn’t justify the way he treats the people around him. He classifies everything and everyone and doesn’t believe a person could ever truly have good intentions. He also completely disregards rules; in tests he chooses not to answer multiple-choice questions because those are beneath him. What’s the point in doing something you don’t feel like doing?

I’m aware that this might have been the point. Leonard is jaded and that is why he sees the world in this light. I don’t want to undermine the truly horrible things that happened to him, his depression is understandable. But I still couldn’t get myself to like him.

Matthew Quick wants to give us the impression that Leonard is brilliant and mature beyond his years. One of the examples he uses is a question raised by Leonard’s teacher, Herr Silverman. Herr Silverman asks the class what they believe they would have done had they lived during the Second World War in Nazi Germany. Would they have followed or defied Hitler? Leonard answers this question (in his head) honestly with: “I don’t know.” All the other kids in the class however, claim that they would have stood up to Hitler, gone against his ideals etc. Now I don’t know about you, but if a teacher would have asked my old high school class this question, I can guarantee that all of us would have answered the way Leonard did. Which leads to the question: Is Leonard truly that smart and mature, or were the other students just portrayed as particularly ignorant to make him look better?

I also wasn’t very happy with how Leonard treated women. He meets a girl called Lauren at the train station who is passing out pamphlets on Christianity. He finds her attractive and is immediately infatuated with her. Since he is the only person who took her pamphlet and actually bothered to talk to her, he somehow believes that he “deserves” her. When he finds out she has a boyfriend he gets angry.

Leonard also implies that the female teachers are all flirting with the male students. When the school counsellor checks up on him, he believes she is actually flirting with him, when really, she says nothing that would justify this claim.

The side characters fell flat for me. They all seemed very stereotypical. Herr Silverman, the perfect teacher. Lauren, the unwaveringly devout Christian. Linda, the totally careless and absent mother. They were all characters I have seen before.

Although this review is quite negative, Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock really isn’t a bad book. I enjoyed it and would recommend it (especially seeing how much everyone else seems to love it); however, I was somewhat disappointed.
Profile Image for Steph Sinclair.
461 reviews11.1k followers
September 3, 2013
Recently, I've been reading really depressing books that have both horrified and fascinated me. But out of all of them, Charm and Strange and now Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock takes the cake for tackling tough, taboo issues. In this case, suicide. Now, the last suicide book I've read was Thirteen Reasons Why and this book can easily be compared to that. But instead of the story being told from tapes from the deceased and another MC, Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is told play-by-play from Leonard himself. His voice is real, broken, hurt, confused and relatable. He wants to be seen, remembered. He wants people to acknowledge his existence. So on his 18th birthday he takes his grandfather's war gun trophy and sets out to kill his former best friend and himself.

When we are introduced to Leonard, he immediately fills the reader in on his plans, though the ultimate reason why is revealed along the course of his day as he gives away personal items or gifts to four people he regularly interacts with. While Leonard calls them friends, we find that this doesn't accurately describe those relationships. Two mostly tolerate or accept his presence in their routine, but unlike most of his peers, they communicate with him in some way despite being weirded out by his differences. Leonard is vastly different from his classmates and that is quickly apparent in his reasonings and speech. He sees the world and challenges things normal teenagers wouldn't think about. This doesn't do Leonard any favors regarding his popularity, but he brushes this off as ignorance on their part.

The thing about Leonard is that he's such a smart character, but he never comes across as pretentious like some characters from other equally morbid novels. (This is me giving The Fault in Our Stars the stink eye.) It's easy to see why he's misunderstood and underestimated, but such a shame to read about such a lonely kid. His situation depressed me on a serious level and I just wanted to give this guy hug. He doesn't have friends his age or even the support of his family. His mother spends her days in New York, living her dream working as a designer and his father is nowhere to be seen, leaving Leonard to mostly fend for himself. Thankfully, Leonard is not entirely alone and when the climax hits, he does begin to see there are people who care about him.

If there is one piece of criticism I do have it was the way the Letters From the Future were introduce. In certain chapters of the book, the narrative and setting switches and their isn't any notice. I'll admit to be completely caught off guard to this and confused as to how it held any relevance to the story until after his teacher mentioned them in class. Leonard also has moments when he references footnotes in his narration, which is generally not a style that I love since it causes me to flip back and forth from the footnotes to the story. Word to the wise, reading this one on your kindle might be a royal pain in the ass.

All in all, I'm really glad I decided to check Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock out. It's a very different story, the kind I'm not used to reading. But just like Thirteen Reasons Why and Charm and Strange, it's one I'll probably be thinking about for a while. Highly recommended.

ARC was provided by the publisher for an honest review. Thank you!

More reviews and other fantastical things at Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.
Profile Image for Aj the Ravenous Reader.
1,051 reviews1,050 followers
February 7, 2017

3.5 stars

This is the one book that perfectly qualifies the funny and heartbreaking description. It’s sad but the depressed really do have a great sense of humor. Until I’ve read the very first page of the book, I honestly thought Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is mainly a humorous contemporary fiction and I picked it up because I was looking forward to reading something light and funny. It was funny but I was in a complete surprise to find out that it’s a book mainly about depression and suicide and yet one that I would recommend over other books that also talk of the same subject matters.

Reading the story in the main character’s POV, I appreciate all of Leonard’s very insightful thoughts on humanity and about his waning confidence in people’s ability to be human. I couldn’t blame him because a lot of his thoughts are true. So many people are too busy to care, too busy trying to conform to social norms and all and too busy to be different. It was kind of eerie because we do share a lot of similar thoughts especially dark, twisted ones. Let me just share one:

“Whenever I replay this memory, I see myself running, and before I know it I’ve left my spot and I’m a flying cross-check. In my mind, my hockey stick turns into a samurai sword and I decapitate Asher with an awesome swipe so that his head flies through the basketball net.”

I don’t always agree with his thoughts though and I even think that some of them are very wrong but he is right when he says,


I’m not at all very happy that the story abruptly ended that way but I think the story in general contains really hopeful and powerful messages that everyone will be able to relate to. Plus, I really enjoyed the writing technique. The postscripts and the letters from the future certainly made the entire book unique and creative.

Profile Image for Scarlet.
187 reviews1,171 followers
October 6, 2013
Either this book failed to do what it set out to do, or I went in with the wrong expectations. Whatever the case, Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock did not have any appreciable impact on me.

You see, I read this book hoping to gain some insight into the mind of a school shooter. Someone like Kevin Khatchadourian, just not so inherently evil. I wanted this book to scare me, stun me, make me question, make me think, maybe break my heart a little.

What I did not want this book to do (and what it essentially did) was give me a long list of excuses for why this guy was walking around with a gun in his bag.

Now, I'm not trying to undermine the gravity of the situation here. Leonard has had a tough life; has endured some horrible things. He's depressed and lonely, he's been bullied, and I understand how difficult that is to get through. But isn't that true for a lot of teenagers?? Not everyone lugs a P-38 to school though. Shouldn't there be something more? Something in the way Leonard's mind works? Something to do with the person that Leonard is rather than the circumstances?

The narrative is designed to make you feel sorry for Leonard. I'm afraid that had quite the opposite effect on me - my empathy meter was stuck at zero. This is going to sound highly insensitive but I felt like Leonard was constantly appealing to the sensitive side of me - See how intelligent I am but nobody appreciates me? See how nice a person I am but nobody talks to me? See how profound my questions are but nobody gives a damn? See how none of my friends, and not even my mother, remember my birthday? Doesn't my life suck? Don't you feel sorry for me? Don't you? Don't you? - and all I could do was watch impassively, with the occasional annoyed eye-roll.

There are only a handful of characters other than Leonard, but I cannot tell you anything remarkable about them except that they all seem a little extreme. As much as I hope teachers like Herr Silverman exist, he is almost too good to be true. Leonard's mother is way too absent; she has pretty much abandoned her only son and never bothers to return his messages. Asher Beal is... horrible, supposed to be hated. The whats-her-name that Leonard has a crush on is a little too obsessed with Christianity.

Leonard himself never became a real person in my eyes. At the best of times, he was nothing more than a string of adjectives, too different and too disjoint to go together.

Quick's writing is okay but the structure of the book impedes the flow. The footnotes are more like footessays - long, meandering recollections that make you forget you're reading a footnote until you're suddenly pulled back to the main narrative, following which it becomes necessary to re-read a few lines to grasp the context again. Then there are these "Letters from the Future" that, looking back, are probably some of the most poignant moments the book has to offer, but because Quick doesn't bother explaining their importance until it's too late, you read them only with a growing sense of bewilderment, wondering why you're suddenly in the middle of a post-apocalyptic water-world.

The only point where I felt some semblance of an emotional connection was the very last chapter. It's nothing remarkable, but there is this desperation there that really hit me. It was when I wondered if I had it all wrong. Maybe Leonard was never the "shooter" but just another depressed teenager who, tired of fighting the world, had come dangerously close to giving up altogether.

I don't know if I would recommend this book. All my friends who've read it have either given it full-on 5 or a measly 2. If you can empathize with Leonard then maybe you'll love it. I couldn't, so I didn't.

Forgive Me, Matthew Quick. I'm not impressed.
Profile Image for Sr3yas.
223 reviews1,003 followers
September 18, 2017
Forgive me Mathew Quick, because I didn't find your story compelling for most of the part.

Synopsis? Leonard Peacock has a shitty life. He is a fictional embodiment of all things that could go wrong with an average 21st-century teenager, bar the drugs. Leonard has no father, no friends of his age, and no girlfriend. What he does have is money, a Mother who doesn't care about him, a Holden Caulfield attitude and a P 38 gun.

And today is his birthday. And the plan? He is going to kill his ex-best friend and himself.

The book is written like The Catcher in the Rye, where the main character talks about his feelings, paints his opinions and narrate his actions until the end of the book. The only way you could probably like the book is if you connect with the character or feel empathy towards him. This differs to person to person, and right now I am standing at "Nah, I am not buying it" side.

To Quick's credit, there are some unique characters in this story. One of them is a religious teenage girl and another is a music wizard classmate. The usual characters are also present, like the good guy teacher, old and loving neighbor, and the bully.

But the character who actually matters is Leonard Peacock as we will be spending entire book inside his head, and unfortunately, he is not very compelling. His monologues are repetitive, his opinions lack originality and it all feels like been there, done that. His lines on how he has a p38 and how he holds power over everyone quickly loses its novelty because of the innumerable repetition of the same dialogue.

I understand what Quick was trying to convey to readers is important, but the subtle delivery of ideas and all the redundant storytelling style makes it less effective.

“I’m going to kill you later today,” I say to that guy in the mirror, and he just smiles back at me like he can’t wait.
“Promise?” I hear someone say, which freaks me out, because my lips didn’t move.
I mean—it wasn’t me who said, “Promise?”
It’s like there’s a voice trapped inside the glass.
So I stop looking in the mirror.
Just for good measure, I smash that mirror with a coffee mug, because I don’t want the mirror me to speak ever again.

Geez, I thought I had issues!
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,540 reviews9,968 followers
July 28, 2016

I had this idea that I would love this book a lot, but I just didn't. I love these kinds of books because they touch on real things in life, sad things. I just didn't feel it with this book.

Leonard is going to kill his ex-best friend and himself. We don't find out until near the end why he wants to kill Asher and then himself. I feel like it would have been better if we got some more insight into the bad things that happened with these two boys. I would have felt more connected to Leonard that way.

Leonard goes throughout the day giving gifts to his friends and teacher. Maybe some are not necessarily friends, but people that touched him in some way. Although, I didn't like his story line with Lauren. He was pretty much an a••hole with her.

I liked Leonard's teacher Herr Silverman. He was a kind teacher and he understood a lot more than people would think. But, I really couldn't stand Leonard's mother, she was horrible to him. That just had to be a sad existence with her.

Leonard has so many things going on in his head. And he picks the day to kill Asher and himself on his own birthday that his mom didn't even remember.

Overall I liked the idea of the book and the character of the teacher. I just wish there was a little bit more to the story. But I'm so glad there are many more than can love it and get more out of it than I did because that's what it's all about ♥

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,354 followers
July 26, 2013
Wow what a sad story this was! Told in the voice of a morose, yet incredibly intelligent teenage boy, we're given a raw look into the road to suicide, and how depression affects your thoughts.

What I noticed immediately was the writing style which stood out to me as something very… honest. Not only is it told in first person - which I consider a requirement for a story such as this - but we get a format that emphasizes his unhealthy state of mind even more so. This includes foot notes on his interpretations of certain situations and people; pages that only include 1 single word for a whole sentence; "Letters from the future" which had me baffled at first but ended up leaving me teary eyed. Knowing this beforehand, I'd have worried the atypical storytelling would be annoying, and the foot notes did have me a tad distracted at first, but I ended up finding all of it kind of brilliant. Furthermore, I found myself captivated by the way Leonard sees the world, how he perceives those around him. It's no doubt this kid is extremely intelligent. Maybe not in a straight-A book smart type, but in his analysis of people, of society. It's like he's already matured well beyond his years, but unfortunately this makes him an outcast. It's not hard to see why he doesn't blend in - It's not as if he wants to, either.

Throughout this story we get to understand how Leonard came to feel the way he does. He did not have the best, most happiest life, and a few happenings left him feeling confused and abandoned. It was all very saddening, making it impossible to not feel sympathy for this guy. He also felt so genuine, from the devalued way he sees himself, to his blunt, sometimes awkward interactions with others. Since he doesn't fit well with kids his own age, the side characters mostly consist of the adults in his life who are helping him fill the void he has had for so long. I loved his neighbour Walt with his chain smoking habit and amusing conversations in Bogart quotes. And I wish more teachers were like Herr Silverman; he's a true role model of human kindness in my eyes.

Event though they read pretty differently, this book reminded me of Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. Maybe it's because it remains one of the few books on suicide that I've read - and that one touched me in a way like no other - but I'm certain those who enjoyed one will also love the other. It tugs at your emotions from the first page. Unlike Thirteen Reasons Why, though, you're not aware of how Leonard's story ends. On this note, I did wish the book's ending was a little longer, but I completely understand why it ended where it did.

It's gritty as gritty gets - it even makes you feel uncomfortable at times. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock sends us into a the mind of a suicidal, atypical teenage boy that you're unlikely to ever forget!

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
Profile Image for Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~.
350 reviews943 followers
April 7, 2017
I find this a very difficult book to review because on one hand, it's subject matter is very important, on the other, I really didn't enjoy it very much.

There were times when I sympathized with the main character, Leonard Peacock. But an overwhelming amount of the time I found him pretty unlikable. And maybe that is how he's supposed to come off, I really don't know. It just made it difficult for me to understand him sometimes.

I felt similarly when I read Thirteen Reasons Why, ultimately sad but unconvinced. I am starting to think that perhaps books the deal intimately with suicide in this manner are not for me. I didn't look forward to reading it, and I'm relieved to be finished with it now.

It's not that the book was awful, or written poorly, or any of those usual things that earn a lower rating from me. It's not that I wasn't able to grasp the ideas here, or feel pangs of empathy/compassion (because Leonard has been dealt a shitty hand in life).

I just don't think I was able to feel the emotions I was meant to feel deeply enough for a book like this to have a lasting impact.

Also, I have a real problem with the structure of the physical copy of this book. All throughout the book there are these random footnotes, often times smack dab in the middle of a sentence. It made the reading experience very tedious, and I honestly saw no reason the footnotes should be footnotes. They would've fit fine into the paragraph as an extra sentence because it was a stream-of-consciousness writing style anyway?

Then almost 3/4 of the way into the book we start seeing experimentation with words being scattered all over the page for dramatic effect, but there was no consistency & it came off sort of forced.

To top it all off, there are a couple letters written from the future to the main character placed between the chapters of the present storyline, and until the very end it's just hella confusing. I had no clue what I was supposed to gather from these letters, and even now I feel no closure with the present story nor about the letters.

The structure just made me feel like I was jumping around everywhere. My eyes were all over the page, I was in the present then in the future, my concentration was constantly interrupted.

That's about as deep as I'll go into my problems with this one, because I truly believe this is a decent book that may speak volumes to other people. It just largely wasn't my thing.
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,127 reviews2,172 followers
September 9, 2013
I hardly know where to begin with Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock. Suffice to say that this novel is brilliant, beautiful, and heart-breaking. It follows a teenage boy - Leonard Peacock - on his birthday as he chooses to kill another boy in his school and then commit suicide himself, all after giving the few special people in his life gifts to remember him by. As a foray into Quick's works, I can't say this was the happiest of reads, but it made my throat close up in grief and my knuckles fist into my mouth to stop my sobs. It's difficult for me to articulate exactly why this book is so powerful, but Quick manages to capture the mindset of a lonely and hurting teenager perfectly. Moreover, the cast of secondary characters in this novel is stunning in their gray matter and unexpected depth. Leonard, especially, is a character our hearts go out to at once and I loved nothing more than his growth and the realistic, but hopeful, ending of this story. I truly believe this is one that everyone must read, if only to realize the pain that others carry within their hearts and learn to appreciate humanity a little bit more.
Profile Image for Mitch.
355 reviews612 followers
July 26, 2016
Admittedly, I picked up Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock with a great deal of skepticism. I like my issues books hard-hitting, dark, and gritty, but I've not had much success finding many authors who can deliver the kind of bleak realism that for me is the holy grail of the genre. I want to say Leonard Peacock impressed me with its authenticity, but for a book billed as an unflinching examination, Matthew Quick flinched - multiple times.

What disappoints me most about Leonard Peacock is that it's written from the perspective of a teenager about to kill his best friend, but in the frame of mind of an adult trying to understand and ultimately come to terms with the difficult path that drove him to that decision, and it didn't work for me. Frankly, I find it patronizing that the Leonard Peacock character is more an amalgam of stereotypes and excuses for explaining why a guy like him would be driven to do the unthinkable than a real character; I guess it makes people who struggle to understand the why feel better about themselves, but as a character study? - what I feel a book like this should be? - I'm sorry but it kind of sucks.

Maybe my problem is that I felt a complete lack of empathy for Leonard Peacock. Quick paints his character in bold strokes that only fall apart when you think about it, and for me I really needed a more nuanced approach to connect with the character. A lot of the story is quite superficial, Leonard as expected is condescending, has a superiority complex (because obviously someone who decides to kill another person is going to look down on everyone), and rails against the establishment, to the point Quick's story feels very insincere, like he's writing this for adults based on his consultations with psychologists rather than for teens based on interactions with actual teenagers who have these problems - that's the only way I can explain how out of touch I feel Leonard's character is. Nor does Quick ever reconcile that angry at the world mass shooter stereotype with the guy who needs to give closure to the four people who mean something to him before he goes through with his plan - I mean, sometimes he's a psycho, sometimes he's a perfectly normal if depressing guy, and maybe he has multiple personalities or something but I never did get the sense that he was one character all the way through struggling with the childhood trauma Quick eventually reveals is the cause of his actions - it was just bold stroke, bold stroke, bold stroke, there just wasn't any nuance to fill in the gaps to his character.

Instead, Quick goes for tired philosophical and nihilistic musings in the form of Leonard's attempted friendship with a home-schooled Christian girl to give his story the illusion of depth. You know, I expect a character who has suffered childhood trauma like Leonard has would feel a need to think about his place in the world, I'm not even going to call it a cliche, but this came off more like badgering people over their religious beliefs than any genuine soul-searching. And that's a problem throughout this entire book, for a story about a guy who takes one last shot at coming to terms with what happened to him before he ends it all, there just wasn't any genuine soul-searching, any depth, Quick tries to make Leonard sound deep with his writing style and the letters from the future and the distracting footnotes that are impossible to read in context with my ereader, but none of these things actually worked for me because each time I was pulled in one direction and started to get a feel for Leonard's character, Quick's overreliance on disaffected teen stereotypes just brought up too many inconsistencies and made the character impossible to connect with. Rather, it was all just a cheap after school special; I never felt Quick rises above trying to score points by feeding his readers the alienated lone gunman cliches we've come to associate with guys like Leonard to do an actual exploration of the character.

I wanted to be impressed by Matthew Quick's hard-hitting, dark, and gritty storytelling, but Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is none of these things. Sure I felt it was sad, but not sad as in emotional - sad as in pathetic.
Profile Image for Kenchiin.
262 reviews106 followers
March 14, 2016
Whatever this book was trying to accomplish, it couldn't.
Profile Image for Jonathan K (Max Outlier).
645 reviews129 followers
December 13, 2021
For those unfamiliar with Matthew (Silver Linings Playbook/All Together Now), he's a master of unusual plots with dysfunctional/quirky characters. In this story we meet Leonard Peacock, a 17 year old boy who's dark side can be attributed to affluent, self absorbed parents clueless about child rearing. An only child, he finds a hero in a compassionate high school teacher and Walt, an elderly neighbor who's fixated on Bogart films. When his best friend Asher turns on him, he decides life isn't worth living and plots to end his and Asher's lives with an antique Nazi pistol inherited from his grandfather.

One of the more unique elements surfaces when the teacher suggests he write letters to himself from the future as a means to replace despair with hope. These letters add an unusual yet immersive quality along with a fantasy relationship with a Bible toting girl, which is a contradiction in terms since he's atheist. This is the type of story Quick excels, though unlike the others, Leonard's character arc is less ebullient or hopeful . That said, there ARE sparks of brightness brought by the teacher, Walt and little Miss Jesus who inspire him at his darkest moment. Unique, evocative and engaging, its classic Matthew Quick from start to finish and highly recommended as well.
Profile Image for Read with Sandee ・❥・.
656 reviews1,293 followers
December 29, 2014
“I'm trying to let him know what I'm about to do.
I'm hoping he can save me, even though I realize he can't.”


I didn't really know what I felt after reading this book.
Sorrow. Pain. Hurt. Disappointment.Anger.Loneliness.
This book gave me a lot more to think about.

Forgive me, Leonard Peacock is one of those books that I think is a must read for everyone.
Don't be mislead by the title.
This book is not in any way comical.
It is not in any way plain humorous.
It is just not.
There were some witty lines that at regular instances would make me smile or laugh at times but it didn't do that to me on this one.
The story was just tad to serious.
This book was sad. But in a way, it was very beautiful.

Here's the short GIST

Leonard Peacock has a plan.
Today was his birthday but instead of receiving gifts, he was planning to give 4 people a gift instead.
These four people were the ones who touched his life the most.
These four people were the only ones he thought bothered with him.
But that wasn't the only thing he had planned for his birthday.
As a grand finale, he was going to kill himself.
But before that, he was going to kill his former best friend with his grandfather's P-38 pistol.


The title got me fooled. I thought at first it was going to be an easy read.
Before I got the book, I checked the synopsis here at Goodreads first.
It sounded serious but still, I wasn't expecting the contents to be what it was.



I feel for Leonard. I have to admit though that he wasn't a very easy character to love. He was bitter. He was sarcastic. At times he thinks he is better than everyone else. Who would love a character like that? He was more of an antihero in every aspect. Although this book reminded me of Perks of Being a Wallflower, Leonard was in no way like Charlie. Leonard thinks very much different from people his age and I think that's what sets him apart. His views on life after teenage years and what adulthood is very mature. Aside from all this, Leonard suffered from some traumatic stuff in his past that he cannot tell anyone. Just like Charlie (from Perks of Being a Wallflower). The only difference is Leonard was aware of it happening. He was aware but too scared to do anything as he wanted to belong. He didn't want to be alone. I guess that's really where everything started. But that's not the only thing I guess. Partly, I think his mom would have the biggest fault in all this. I'm sorry. I just had to say it. If she wasn't so conveniently inattentive I don't think Leonard would be in the situation that he was then.

Herr Silverman

He would have to be my favorite character in this book. He was Leonard's Hollocaust teacher. He knew from the moment Leonard gave him his gift that something was wrong. How did he know? Because he was paying attention to him. Unlike his mom. Unlike his other teachers. Unlike his classmates. He knew something was up. I think he already knew when he bumped that question in class. I wasn't expecting the secret he was keeping. I was thinking of something else entirely. I was thinking that he was previously suicidal or something but he wasn't. It was very different from that. Everyone needs a Herr Silveman in life. Someone who would be there to listen and observe and help.


I seriously want to blow this mthrf*cking guys head off! It's not until towards the end of this book that you find out why Leonard hates him so much. If you find out, I'm sure you'd want to beat the daylights out of this kid too! He used to be a really good kid. But I gues some people do change. Why? Also because of the people who surrounds them.


I really hate her. Every time she opens her mouth all I could feel was anger and hatred towards this woman. Who is she? He's Leonards good-for-nothing Mom. Leonard's still a kid. Although he could think way beyond his years, he still needs someone who will give him caring and affection. But where is this woman? Oh somewhere. Having fun with her French boyfriend. But does she ever checks on poor Leonard. Nah. Not at all.


- i liked how on the first chapter you'll already know what the character is going to do. and then you gradually find out what happened before and you'll also know what's currently happening. the story telling was fluid and easy to read despite the sensitive topic.

- Herr Silverman was a highlight for me.

- the chronological arrangement of the story was good.

- Leonard's letter to the future was good. I'd probably do it at some point.

- the truth in Quick's writing is something that I really couldn't get enough of.


This wouldn't really solve anything.
Killing yourself is just like accepting defeat.

First they ignore you, then
they laugh at you, they they
fight you, then you win.

Everyone experience problems. Leonard isn't the only one with problems. I'm not saying that his problem is worse than others because I think there are other people with much more issues to handle.
But some are able to cope with it.
No matter how hard the situation is. No matter how hopeless they seem to be.
I think its because of the support they get from the people around them.
If there were more people around Leonard who would care for him, do you think he'll still feel the same way?
Do you think he will still consider suicide?
No he wouldn't.
Because he feels that he has someone. He has someone to lean on when times get hard. He has someone to talk to when his mom disregards him or when

I think people still fail to understand how our action can greatly affect other people.
I think its important that we know the value of what we do or what we say.
Of course we may not always do and say the right things but at least we should be cautious.
We wouldn't know if we are saying the wrong words to a suicidal person.
One wrong word or action may cause that person to end it all.

In my review of Perks of Being a Wallflower, I mentioned that things could change based on the decisions and choices that we could make.
Things will remain the same if you don't do anything about it
I think that somehow Leonard was also to blame for what was happening to him.

He doesn't believe that his future would be better so that's what caused him to want to end it all.
His choice was to keep silent and that choice led him what was happening to him in the present.
If he had done differently, I think things would have been different too.
Every action has its own consequences and I think this book also highlighted that.
We can't always blame other people, at some point we ourselves are also to blame.

I would just like to end my review with a quote as I feel that this is one truth I have learned when I was reading this. Herr Silverman was the one who said it in this book:

“There's a lot for you to live for. Good things are definitely in your future, Leonard. I'm sure of it. You have no idea how many interesting people you'll meet after high school's over. Your life partner, your best friend, the most wonderful person you'll ever know is sitting in some high school right now waiting to graduate and walk into your life - maybe even feeling all the same things you are, maybe even wondering about you, hoping that you're strong enough to make it to the future where you'll meet.”

I rate this:

Profile Image for k .
292 reviews
May 26, 2017
This book is mainly about a suicidal and homicidal eighteen-year-old Leonard Peacock.

1.) plot - the fact that I just finished this book in literally just one night just proves how this book was beautifully written. That this novel was tragic yet eye-opening.

Pacing of the book was truly incredible, I love how the author add a bit of humor to this novel when in fact, the issue this book tackled was really serious.

And you may call me hypocrite or what but this book made me realize MORE that you SHOULD be kind to everyone for everyone is fighting a battle. Anyways, what I just said is totally not mine, I think I saw this quote in Facebook. So, please spare my sin.

And for me, as simple as it is, I seriously do wholeheartedly agree with it. And that perhaps all people really need in life is security and comfort, love in general.

2.) writing style - blimey, the writing style was absolutely fantastic. Like I mentioned, the topic was pretty solemn yet the author mixed a bit of humor in it.

The narrator felt like this friend to me. And God knows how much I wanted to give Leonard a massive warm hug, simply because he needed it and also because I wanted to.

Crying in the middle of the night was probably can be considered as creepy and depressing at the same time but tell you what, I practically don't care. What happened to Leonard was truly heart wrecking. I really did cried while reading the climax and the ending.

And that leads us to a topic regarding to the ending. Well, it's an open-ending! I don't know whether Leonard will go to this new path or will just choose this old path. Believe me, I don't wanna spoil the hell out of you guys.

Regardless of that, I was somehow disappointed at the ending for I am expecting what EXACTLY happened to our dear Leonard Peacock.

3.) Characters -
Leonard - first of all, the fact that he was a fan of literature and old movies were enough to love him. Leonard was just this typical hormonal slash lonely boy, seeking for the love of his mother and perhaps somehow in the midst of not wanting to earn her affection anymore. That he was a victim, of his mother, his ex-bestfriend and the society.

Herr Silverman - was one great man. Reading WW2 facts is seriously my thing so that's a plus. I love that he was there when Leonard needed him even though he has the right to just ignore him because first of all, it's not part of his job and that he's not gaining any profit here. But regardless of that, he still chose to be an heroic teacher.

Walt - definitely my favorite character in the novel. He stood as a father to Leonard. He was the one who influenced Leonard to give black-and-white movies a try. I love him. I love how he freaked out when he knew something's wrong with Leonard.

Asher - Perhaps it's my nature to see good things in every person because I believe that our deAr Asher here was also a victim.


Sure, he committed this horrible thing to Leonard but didn't you realized what exactly happened when Asher went fishing with his uncle. That, perhaps he too, had also fooled Asher that they're going to "have some fun and feel good"

I feel so fucked-up about that one, you know considering that when Leonard first caught a glimpse of this certain uncle, he thought he was cool and kind!

I mean, imagine how terrifying that may be for Asher! Being "raped" by his UNCLE WHO PLAYED AS A NICE GUY THE WHOLE TIME!! MAN!! This world is seriously fucked up. And I feel bad for both boys! This inhuman uncle really did ruined the friendship between Leonard and Asher!!

Profile Image for Kelly (and the Book Boar).
2,487 reviews7,788 followers
August 16, 2013
This is the story of one day in Leonard Peacock’s life. The most important day he’ll ever live. Not only is it his 18th birthday, it’s also the day where he will kill Asher Beal and then himself. Follow Leonard through this most remarkable day as he says his farewells to the four most important people in his life – on the last day of his own.

Characters like Leonard Peacock (i.e., Holden Caulfield, Gene from A Separate Peace, Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Lucky Linderman from Everybody Sees the Ants, etc., etc.) can sometimes seem to be a dime a dozen. They are generally fairly similar in that they have a case of arrested development and have one defining experience that made them who they are (that is easily foretold 200 pages in advance). I’ll admit that it took me awhile to really sink into this book because I thought it was just going to be a knock-off of one of the aforementioned. Although there were similarities, Matthew Quick’s writing set Leonard apart from some of the others. Quick really GETS how to write a character dealing with mental illness (Pat in The Silver Linings Playbook – I mean GENIUS!). Leonard’s pain comes through every page once he REALLY starts letting you in to his life.

Forewarning: Not to insult the youngsters out there since this is a YA book, but it is a YA book for EXTREMELY mature youth. This sucker deals with über depressing, dark and heavy subject matter. It will make you cry the “ugly cry”, but also leaves a message of:

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Profile Image for Prabhjot Kaur.
1,052 reviews156 followers
April 25, 2021
Leonard gets bullied constantly and he's had a tough life and he's only a teenager. Whilst I know it is true for most of the teenagers to go through similar experiences but not everyone thinks of taking a gun to school and do what Leonard intends to do. Even though in the beginning, I didn't much like Leonard, he grew on me.

Then there's Herr Silverman who is a teacher of Leonard's and he helps him out with the situation. He sounds too good to be true but I do know someone like Herr Silverman who has actually helped out a lot of teenagers with various situations. Perhaps, that's why I liked this as much as I did and went through so many emotions reading this.

It is a wonderful read. It is about helping someone even when they feel hopeless.

4 stars
Profile Image for L A i N E Y (will be back).
395 reviews695 followers
February 25, 2020
I don’t want this to come out wrong by any means because school shooting is one of the most civilized evil in modern times. But I feel this book was too gimmicky somehow. Like intentionally misleading as to present itself to be sensational when it isn’t, not really. If the author would just write about Leonard’s life and what he had to endure in the past and what his life still is till the present, which includes putting up with his really shitty ‘mom’, I would have totally been all in for that. Leonard has it terrible already and I’d root for him all the way. But the book wouldn’t be as “sensational” right? No. So let’s add the facade of “He brings his (Nazi) gun to school” tagline and now everyone is at attention for it, jackpot! Instant buzz amiright? URG.

I don’t know that’s just how I feel after finishing this.

The audiobook featured a very good performance by Noah Galvin though so that’s something, I guess.
Profile Image for Maureen.
574 reviews4,185 followers
November 23, 2014
"Why am I so emotchunal?" -Miranda Sings

But really, a heartbreaking and emotional book that I feel is really important for a lot of reasons. Hard to get through, but really important.
Every life matters and things do get better.
Profile Image for maria.
570 reviews354 followers
December 27, 2016

“we can simultaneously be human and monster—that both of those possibilities are in all of us.”

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is one of those books that just took me by complete surprise. I didn’t do a lot of research before picking it up and I definitely hadn’t seen many people talk about it. I found it on sale and I decided to pick it up on a whim. I’m really glad that I did.


What I Liked

The discussion of important social issues. I feel like I’ve been reading a lot of books recently that contain characters who are dealing with certain social or mental issues. I’m really glad to have been lucky enough to find multiple books that deal with these issues as I personally believe that they are extremely important. When I picked up Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, I figured that it might deal with some sort of mental illness as the synposis clearly mentions that Leonard is planning to kill a classmate and then himself. What I didn’t expect was for it to dive so deep into the reasoning behind his reasoning. I’ve read a few books now that deal with school shootings, and while they explore the perspectives of the students that are trapped throughout the school, they hardly ever tell to story from the perspective of the shooter. I am in no way implying that having the shooters reasoning justifies their actions, but I do like the idea of knowing why they are acting the way that they are. I love that this book explained Leonard’s life and issues in detail. Again, this doesn’t justify his desire to kill his classmate and then himself, but it does provide an insight into why Leonard is feeling this dark and hopeless.

The characters, major & minor. A lot of the characters throughout this book are problematic in their own way. I liked reading from Leonard’s perspective. I enjoyed learning about his lack of friends, his troubling past and his terrible home-life. I know that saying I enjoyed reading about these things might not be the best way to describe it, but it really added depth to his character. I liked reading about his relationship with his neighbour Walt and his Holocaust professor, Herr Silverman. All of Leonard’s interactions with these other characters helped to add more to his story.

The writing style. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock was extremely fast paced and I could not stop reading. Matthew Quick did an exceptional job in writing the voice of Leonard. He is definitely a memorable character with an even more memorable story.


What I Didn’t Like

The scenes with Lauren. I really don’t know why, but I just couldn’t stand any of the scenes with her. I know that these moments were important as Leonard thought that maybe finding faith in God might help him and his issues. I get why these scenes were included, but I just couldn’t stand Lauren. The interactions between her and Leonard were just a little awkward for me…

This book really surprised me. I didn’t really know what to expect going into it and it ended up surprising me in the best way possible. I look forward to reading more from Matthew Quick in the future!


Initial post reading thoughts:

I'm actually surprised about how much I enjoyed this. Not because I had heard bad things, but mostly because I hadn't really heard much about it at all! I got it really cheap as an audiobook when audible was having a sale and I'm so glad that I took a chance and purchased it. I wasn't expecting it to be as dark as it was. I also really enjoyed the idea of learning about what drives someone to want to kill someone/themselves. With all these books about school shooting especially, we rarely learn about the shooter's motives. Not that their motives justify their actions in any way, don't get me wrong, but I do like the idea of knowing why they're doing what they're doing. Yeah...I really liked this book.
Profile Image for Gray Cox.
Author 4 books165 followers
May 29, 2018
"I'm going to kill you later today," I say to the guy in the mirror, he just smiles back at me like he can't wait.
"Promise?" I hear someone say, which freaks me out, because my lips didn't move.
I mean-it wasn't me who said, "Promise?"
It's like there's a voice trapped inside the glass. So I stop looking in the mirror. Just for good measure, I smash that mirror with a coffee mug, because I don't want that mirror to speak to me ever again.-(pg. 15)

When I saw what this book was about I was worried.

Too often suicide and mental illness is presented as easy and a way to get revenge, too often books about the subject fail to capture how lost a person is and how horrible it is to feel this way.

Not this book.

This book is the gritty, ugly, horrifying truth.

Leonard is suffering with trauma and depression, his past is full of neglect and abuse, so one day he decides he wants to end it all as well as take his revenge.

The book follows him as he plans to kill his former best friend, and as he says goodbye to the three only people he ever cared about.

This book hit me so hard. There are so many teens like Leonard, and even Asher.

But really-why do some people post the correct ways to commit suicide on the Internet? Do they want weird, sad people like me to go away permanently?-(pg. 7)

This book starts off with no hope and ends with so much hope, it's so amazing and beautiful, and every teenager suffering with thoughts like this needs to read this book.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock brings something back to the young adult world that has been missing: empathy, understanding, and hope.

"My life will get better? You really believe that?" I ask.
"It can. If you're willing to work."
"What work?"
"Not letting the world destroy you. That's a daily battle."-(pg. 227)

Content warnings:

-Tons of swearing and crude jokes.

-Characters suffer from sexual abuse in the past.

-Mental illness/ depressing thoughts.

In the end, this book is so important. If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please know that you are not alone, and that things will get better. There is hope. <3
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