Thursday, November 7, 2013
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
Release Date: 8/13/2013
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About the Book: Today is Leonard Peacock's birthday. It's also the day he is planning on killing his former best friend-and then himself-with his grandfather's pistol. Before he fulfills his plan, Leonard must say goodbye to the four people that matter the most to him: his elderly neighbor, his classmate the violin virtuoso, the homeschooler he has a crush on and his high school holocaust history teacher. As Leonard goes about his day, his plan-and his reasons-slowly uncover.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: I'm so torn on how I feel about Matthew Quick's books. I think he's a talented writer. I think he comes up with awesome premises for stories. But I always find myself a bit underwhelmed with the final product and Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock was the same way for me.
It's an incredibly engaging premise and I thought Leonard's voice was distinct and fantastic-it kept me engaged. I listened to this one on audio and it made a great audiobook and narrator Noah Galvin does a good job at making Leonard empathetic and interesting. He brings a nice sarcastic wit to the writing and he fits the audiobook well. I also thought the pacing of the book was well done-it kept me interested and I wanted to keep listening. And I can't deny that Quick's writing is original and creative. I felt for Leonard as his secrets are unveiled and I have to say I didn't see the reveal coming, which made for a great surprise as I was listening.
The adult characters are well drawn. I really loved Leonard's Humphrey Bogart obsessed neighbor and loved the relationship that was drawn between Leonard and the elderly man. It was charming without being overly charming and I found it believable. I also loved his relationship with his history teacher, Herr Silverman. Again, this relationship was well crafted and I loved seeing some positive adult influences in Leonard's life-without them being cheesy. They were authentic and I loved that.
But those was the only relationships I really cared for. While I liked the high school teacher, he seemed a bit over the top and too convenient by the end. Lauren, Leonard's homeschool crush, read more like a stereotypical conservative homeschooler than a real character-she was almost a satire of herself and was so ridiculous. I also didn't see why Leonard would see anything in her. And his violin playing classmate? Honestly, I remember nothing about him so he didn't stand out at all for me.
While my heart went out to Leonard as his secrets were unveiled, but I also found myself bouncing between empathy and annoyance for Leonard-and I'm not really sure why. Leonard was somewhat empathetic-I felt bad for him-but at the same time I found him whiny and selfish. I wanted him to do something-to stand up for himself. And I guess that's what he was trying to do, just in an unconventional way. But I felt like he could have done something sooner. He's such a smart guy but he doesn't do anything! I think this was just more my annoyance as his lack of living up to his potential, which was realistic to his character, but frustrating as a reader. Maybe I just had too much adult mindset as I listened to this one.
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!!!
Ok, I don't typically write spoilers into my reviews, but this is the part that bugged me the most. When I first encountered the letters from the future, I thought oh cool! What an awesome magical realism twist to this story. I loved this twist and thought it was so creative. But then we find out the letters aren't real and I was so mad at the author for making me believe in magical realism only to have it all be fake. It was such a horrible blow to me as a reader and I was very disappointed. Maybe that's putting too many of my hopes into my reaction. I can't be upset at something the book was not and what I wanted was not what the author wrote. But I felt like there was such an opportunity for something awesome and it fell flat.
Overall, I am impressed with Matthew Quick's writing. I think this will be a book that will divide readers-either they'll like it or not. And it's an engaging story that's well worth reading (or listening to). It just wasn't one of my favorites.
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from audiobook I downloaded from Audible.com