Thursday, August 8, 2013

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Leonard Peacock has a gun in his backpack, and once he's delivered a few parting gifts he's going to kill Asher Beal, then himself. It's something that needs to be done - and today's the day.

Not just another book about school shootings, this one's a fantastic look from Leonard's perspective. Through his thoughts, memories, and interactions we learn about Leonard's lonely existence and piece together the source of his fury. Leonard (and the reader) know that each conversation today will mean something different in reflection tomorrow, after Leonard fulfills his plan. And when you can see things from Leonard's point of view, you really may see why he thinks this is a logical course of action.

This book is puzzling, heartbreaking, suspenseful, and thoughtful. Leonard's a guy you want to befriend before it's too late. You wonder how in the world it got this bad, while also understanding that all too frequently kids like Leonard slip between the cracks.

Quick's an excellent writer who really gets inside the head of his characters (see also: Silver Linings Playbook). This book features a multitude of footnotes (little asides in Leonard's narrative) and some typographical weirdness (when Leonard's closest to the edge of insanity, so is the text - it gets crammed out to the page's edge and marginalized like Leonard).

I love, love, love this book - it's absolutely one of my new favorite books.

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