Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock Book Review — A Strong Concept is Let Down by Weak Writing

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock tells the story of Leonard Peacock (imagine that) as he is about to embark on a life-changing mission. He has decided that today, his 18th birthday, to kill his former best friend Asher Beal and then kill himself. It’s a very interesting concept. To hear about teen on teen violence from the perspective of the shooter. However, this is where Matthew Quick quickly falters. Leonard admits he is crazy. He knows it, however, the writing and language of the book don’t alway reflect that. Whether it was intentional or just a lack of cohesion is left with Quick, however, in my opinion, it veers too randomly.

Most of the book revolves around Leonard giving out presents to four people he sees as his friends, or at least talk to him. Through this, we feel empathic for him. He has led a tough life. Mostly because he is a self-proclaimed “weirdo”, but it goes deeper than that. He is clearly intelligent, possibly too intelligent for his own good. It gets him into trouble and in turn, has thrust him into nothingness.

As the book unfolds we see Leonard and his true self becomes revealed. The book is a quick read. First of all, it’s short, but second of all it is engaging. The entire story takes place during one day and the subject of each part is different. The best way to describe the book is in the title. It can be seen as the ending to a letter or as a profession to Leonard.

Quick has created quite a story and character. The plot is incredibly well done and the frame of the story is as sturdy as the one that holds the Mona Lisa, but where he faults is the writing and execution. In addition to fluctuating between deranged teenager and a storyteller is random at best, I suppose neurotic would be the better tern. However, and most heartbreakingly, he never takes the writing to its full potential. The book is credited as unflinching, however, that doesn’t make any sense to me. An unflinching novel makes me afraid to turn to the next page, but Quick simply writes the book. There’s no pain in the writing, it is all from the story.

Bottom Line: If this is a story that interests you, then go ahead. It has an engaging plot that will keep you invested. Don’t expect an incredible work of fiction, honestly, in the hands of a different writer, it could have been one. In the end the moral of the story is a good one, the twist, in the end, is also pretty gratifying. Leonard Peacock wanted to be remembered and this book will definitely help his legacy. 6.5/10

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