Leonard Peacock is turning 18. And he wants to say goodbye.
Not to his former best friend, whose torments have driven him to consider committing something tragic and horrific.
Nor to his mum who’s moved out and left him to fend for himself. But to his four friends.
A Humphrey Bogart-obsessed neighbour.
A teenage violin virtuoso.
A pastor’s daughter.
Most of the time Leonard believes he’s weird and sad but these friends have made him think that maybe he’s not.
He wants to thank them, and bid them farewell.
I was so unbelievably excited about reading this book for various reasons. I had heard a lot of great things about it and it sounded like the kind of book I would love however, after the initial excitement of starting it the novelty wore off very quickly and I soon began to realise that I wasn’t getting as drawn into the story as much as I expected and hoped I would. In fact, I struggled quite a bit at the beginning. It’s Leonard Peacocks 18th birthday and after saying goodbye to the very few people in his life who he feels care about him, he plans to shoot his former best friend and then himself. The book follows Leonard throughout the day of his birthday as he presents each of his four friends a present he hopes will make them remember him as well as flashbacks and letters from the future which give you an insight into what Leonards life could have been and how he got to this stage where he believed there was no other option.
I can understand why people enjoy this book but to me it was nothing spectacular and the annoying thing is, I can’t even pin point what I didn’t like about it. I loved Leonard, you can’t not love him and all you’re going to want to do is try and save him or pray that someone else will. His teacher, Herr Silverman, one of the four people he wants to say goodbye to is an incredible character who you really do believe has the ability to change lives. He’s so open and honest and I wish I had a teacher like that in school. The storyline is one I thought I would be completely absorbed in but after the first third or so of the book when he’s starting his journey, although it’s necessary, I felt it dragged a bit and I kind of just wished something would happen. Anything. The second half really did pick up but I did feel like I was only continuing to read because it’s one of those books you have to know the ending of – whether you liked it or not.
The thing I definitely did take away from this book however is how sad and tragic it is that there are people in the world who feel how Leonard did. That their lives mean less than everybody else’s. That some people are so incredibly damaged by things that have happened to them, feel like there is not an ounce of hope left in the world, feel like they have absolutely no one to turn to they actually consider and sometimes commit suicide. I just can’t get my head around the fact that there are people out there that feel like they matter less than everybody else when they don’t. Nobody should be made to feel like that. Nobody should have to get to that stage where they truly believe that ceasing to exist is the better option. This book had a lot of extremely good reviews so just because I didn’t like it that much don’t let it put you off trying it for yourself because it obviously has the ability and potential to reach out to a lot of people which is fantastic, considering the dark and intense nature of the story.
You can find Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock and Matthew Quick on the following links: