I can honestly say Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick took me by surprise. I downloaded this via the SYNC Free Downloads event and had no idea what the book was about. Interestingly enough, I had also read The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb, which deals with some of the same issues. I also listened to this novel right after Code Name Verity so you can imagine my shock when the novel starts off with a kid handling a P-38 WWII Nazi handgun.
This novel is a tough, honest look at bullying. Right from the start the reader knows what Leonard’s plan is, but the reasons are not totally clear beyond perhaps the usual teenage angst and lack of belonging. When it is finally revealed why Leonard is considering the extreme measure of murder/suicide, I was shocked and immediately heartbroken. I wanted to take Leonard in my arms and give him solace.
The issues this book deals with are quite hard-hitting and may not sit well with all readers. It certainly takes a unique view and gives voice to the person being bullied. There’s also a brief glimpse of why the bullying was happening in the first place. For me, the saddest part was not Leonard and his decision, but the lack of involvement from the parents. For me, it says a lot about our society when parents are not connected to their kids and ignore the changes the Leonard saw in himself and Asher.
Overall, Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick receives a thumbs up. It’s a solid book that deals with some hard-hitting issues that some readers may find troubling, but those issues definitely receive an honest examination.