“Not letting the world destroy you. That’s a daily battle.”

Matthew Quick, “Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock”

Publication date: August 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 304
Rating: 4.0

It may be listed under “Teen” at the library, but it is a story that we as adults need to hear as well. Have you ever felt alone? Letting your past dictate your future? Then this is a novel for you!

This fictional story written by Matthew Quick gives us a look at a teenage boy, named Leonard Peacock, and the many troubles that surround his life and lead him to want to commit murder suicide on his birthday. This story is unique because the 304 page book is written over the course of one day, Leonard’s eighteenth birthday. We quickly meet some important people in Leonard’s life such as his old man neighbour Walt, his German history teacher Herr Silverman and some of his high school classmates. We also have a glimpse at his family life that is not a happy one; his mother is a fashionista who travel to New York on the daily and his father has long since left his life. Quick takes readers through a day in the life of a high school boy who is at the end of his rope, and ready to give up on it all.

Why I Loved This Book

This story is written in the first person from the point of view of Leonard, which is not usually something I enjoy truth be told, but this works to create a powerful point of view for the reader by allowing them into the inner working of Leonard and his thought process.

Throughout the novel we see Leonard writing letters, from the points of view of his future wife and his future daughter. We later learn that is was something Herr Silverman has encouraged him to do, so that he can see his life in the future and realize that it will get better and he will find “his people”. This is powerful, and a useful tool that we can take away from the book to support the people we love who are having a difficult time “surviving”.

“Maybe that’s why adults drink gamble and do drugs- because they can’t get naturally lit anymore”

 

This novel brought mental illness to the forefront and provided insight into how Leonard viewed the supports he was receiving, and this is why I believe this book is valuable for adult readers as well as teens. We often believe that simply sending a teenager off to see a school counselor or therapist will solve all their problems, but this is often not the case. There is more work and support to be done, and the books highlights this by displaying how Leonard needed kindness from his peers, and he needed quality time and love from his mother. There is not a “fix-all” solution to stop individuals from having suicidal thoughts, and the book shows this by giving us a look at the the multiple ways that people tried to help Leonard. What would save Leonard’s life in this novel? Love. Hope. Kindness. Generosity. Quality Time. All of the good things, these are the supports we need to show to the people we love who we suspect may be experiencing a situation similar to Leonard’s.

Image result for forgive me leonard peacock

What I Learned From This Book

There are so many young people in this world who face suicidal thoughts, and they can’t all be “fixed” with a simple visit to the school counselor. This book provided me with some other tools to support people whom I believe may be having suicidal thoughts, such as the “writing letters to the future you” process, as exemplified by Herr Silverman. I also learned some of the signs of people who are having suicidal thoughts, such as sudden changes in appearance and attitude, as we saw throughout the novel by Leonard.

 

*I had a lot of fun creating this playlist for the novel- so be sure to check it out! Lots of Nirvana vibes…

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