Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock: Worth the Read

Elizabeth Moodispaugh

Forgive Me Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick is quite simply a book so full of emotions that it gives readers whiplash. Quick is known for his emotional novels such as The Silver Linings Playbook and The Good Luck of Right Now but FMLP in my opinion, hit the hardest.

The novel is about a high school student, Leonard Peacock who has a deadly plan to take the life of his former best friend and then himself with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol. To make things even more interesting, it is also Leonard’s birthday. Before he goes through with his plan, he has to say goodbye and give gifts to the four people who matter most to him, each of them very different from the rest. As readers meet each character, they’re exposed to more of Leonard’s secrets and personality that is quite frankly, dark. As the time gets closer and closer to when he is going to fulfill his plan, readers are given a sense of panic, hope for something to change, and a lot of anger mixed with sympathy as secret situations are revealed.

As said before, whiplash. Despite this, there were also many positives of this novel. For one, when Leonard is getting advice from his beloved teacher Herr Silverman, the advice is also given to the reader, if they are willing to take it. This novel is truly perfect for those with mental illness because it shows that they’re not alone. Sure, Leonard is a bit darker than most, but his struggle is just as real as everyone else’s. Also, this book feels very personal, as if Leonard is speaking to the reader. With the inclusion of internal dialogue and personal letters he wrote it almost feels as if Leonard is someone you know.

There is also clear irony in this novel on Leonard’s view for life. Despite the fact he sees his life as sometimes worthless and he wants it all to end, he still has hope. He hopes someone will tell him happy birthday, that his mother will call him, that he as an adult can become happy. His emotions deflect each other and that’s what makes this novel so interesting.

The only thing I personally dislike about this novel is how short it is. With only 304 pages some scenes feel sped up or not given enough attention.

Overall though, I give this novel a 4 out 5 stars. It is not the best book I have ever read, but it is for sure one I will remember for a long time. I recommend it for those who have the time to binge read and have a box of tissues ready.

“I want to believe that happiness might at least be possible later on in life for people prone to sadness.”