Sunday, 30 March 2014

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock - A Novel by Matthew Quick

I recently finished reading a book (cue surprised gasps from audience). I liked it a lot but I didn't really understand it. Not that the writing was incoherent, but the plot and everything else seemed kind of foggy. It's not a bad book, just I didn't get it.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is a book by Matthew Quick about bullying, depression, suicide and rape (in this case, a male being raped by another male). At first it made me kind of uncomfortable and I considered putting the book away, but I kept on reading anyway because I wanted to know what happened to Leonard.

Leonard is the protagonist of the book. He lives in a highly dysfunctional family - his dad is a former rock star who has fled to Argentina and his mum lives in New York with her boyfriend, a French fashion designer, leaving Leonard alone to inhabit a house in Philadelphia. On his 18th birthday, Leonard sets out to kill his former best friend Asher Beal and then commit suicide using his grandfather's Nazi P38 - but not before he delivers a few gifts to his closest friends.

Leonard is in essence, a bomb about to explode and each gift he gives serves as a countdown to his and Asher's deaths. There's just one small detail - will he actually go through with his plan or will somebody talk him out of it?

There are some rays of sunlight that shine through Leonard's grey cloud of misery like the letters from the future that he writes to himself, that lie dotted around the book. Through these letters we see what Leonard wants in life (a family, a place of his own and most of all... happiness). But there isn't even the shadow of a Disney-esque happy ending.

Leonard's story... I felt sorry for him, for his suffering and for everything else but I didn't really understand. In ways, he was bringing this unto himself. Although he views Asher as his tormentor, in some ways Asher is in fact the victim.

This book gets an "ehh" reaction from me.


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