Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
Leonard Peacock has a plan to kill himself after he kills his former best friend Asher Beal. He will do it with his grandfather’s souvenir Nazi pistol. There’s a reason he’s chosen Asher as his victim, and not just because Asher has turned into a bully. His mother is too absent to notice, and his father is on run from the law. Leonard is a high school loner who loves to quote Bogart films. His best friend is the elderly man next door. His only friend at school doesn’t talk to him, only plays the violin. There’s only one teacher he believes has taught him anything worthwhile. He’s odd and picked on, and he’s got a plan to end it all, only first he has to deliver some presents to his unusual collection of friends.
I don’t want to spoil the ending, so I won’t tell you much more of the plot than that, but I will tell you this: this is a powerful book that left me sobbing and drained. Matthew Quick captures Leonard’s hopelessness and his feelings so authentically it makes me, as a writer, rather jealous. The ending isn’t tied up in a neat little bow, which makes it that much more real. Life rarely resolves itself cleanly, and neither does this book. People remain their imperfect selves, only learning and changing when they really want to.
Once again, I’ll say it: If you want real, moving, creative, thoughtful prose, stay in the young adult section. Put this book on the shelf next to John Green and Rainbow Rowell.
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Lori B. Duff is an award-winning author who practices law on the side. Her latest book, “If You Did What I Told You…” is set to be released in the Fall of 2019. You can follow her on Twitter at @LoriBDuff and on Facebook. For more blogs written by Lori, click here. For more information about Lori in general, click here. If you want Lori to do your writing for you, click here.