Monday, 3 March 2014

Book review: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick


My edition: Paperback, published on 16th January 2014 by Headline Publishing Group, 273 pages.

Description: 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 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
A teacher

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.

Rating:


 
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is all sorts of amazing. Intelligent, poignant, witty, provocative and deeply touching - I freely admit it made me cry big fat ugly tears while I was reading the final chapters on the train home from work.

Leonard Peacock is a self-absorbed and highly unlikeable character yet I sympathised with him immensely and through author Matthew Quick's raw and honest portrayal of his main protagonist I came to understand what could drive Leonard to such extremism. I don't condone his choices nor do I believe it is ever the solution, but I did came to feel greatly compassionate towards him. After all, as Herr Silverman in the book says, we can simultaneously be human and monster - both those possibilities are in all of us.

At the heart of the novel is the very sensitive subject of suicide which could have easily made this a melancholy and emotionally draining novel, and while there were certainly occurrences of that it was also surprisingly witty and humorous. Furthermore, Leonard is highly intelligent and his fascinating and depressingly accurate perspective of the world, his existence and that of the drones around him made for a riveting read.

The book was also incredibly thought-provoking. Not just about the more obvious topics such as suicide and the immense impact bullying can have on a person, but also about subjects that are covered in Leonard's classes such as Shakespeare and the holocaust; these were less touched upon but equally attributed to making this such a unique and brilliant piece of writing.

Quick has a magical way with words and I relished each and every one of them within this novel, they conveyed so much in their simplicity. For example:

"It's a depressing reality how my classmates make love to their ignorance."

"You're different. And I'm different too. Different is good. But different is hard. Believe me, I know."

After this nothing short of brilliant introduction to Quick's writing I'll be sure to check out his other novels as well, because I definitely need to read more books of this calibre, which are both emotionally and intellectually stimulating.

It's been a while since a piece of fiction has reduced me to incoherently gushing over its contents, but Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is all kinds of special and I cannot seem to find the right words to do justice to just how much it has touched me and made me think.

Beautiful and utterly brilliant this simply is one of the best books I have ever read. Thank you Matthew Quick, thank you very much.

You can purchase a copy of the novel from Waterstones, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com or your own preferred retailer.



Would you like to know more about the author? You can connect with him online at:

Website: matthewquickwriter.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/matthewquickwriter

Twitter: @MatthewQuick21


Many thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

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