Title/Author: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
Publisher/Date published: Little, Brown Books For Young Readers, August 13th 2013
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository
Goodreads summary: In addition to the P-38, there are four gifts, one for each of my friends. I want to say good-bye to them properly. I want to give them each something to remember me by. To let them know I really cared about them and I'm sorry I couldn't be more than I was — that I couldn't stick around — and that what's going to happen today isn't their fault.
Today is Leonard Peacock's birthday. It is also the day he hides a gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather's P-38 pistol.
But first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him: his Humphrey Bogart-obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school's class on the Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.
So I've heard people compare this to 13 Reasons Why and I have to admit that I haven't read that, but guys, the message of this book will definitely stay with me for a long time!
I really liked Matthew Quick's writing style. It's to the point and it definitely FELT like I was in the head of this teenage boy who is about to end the life of one of his classmates and then his own. And I really liked all the little footnotes that explained some of Leonard's thinking and made his personality shine through!
I cannot believe how much I liked Leonard. I was hesitant at first, because I mean, he's about to do this awful thing and I didn't really want to like him, but I ended up really rooting for him and wanting to fix everything for him and just hoping everything would be ok! Leonard is one of those people who really thinks about everything he sees. He makes some unlikely friends and I really felt that he honestly wanted to give them a present before he left this earth and he wasn't trying to make them feel guilty about what he was about to do. He genuinely wanted them to have it and I liked that.
And I came to love some of these friends! I adored Walt, who is a substitute father/grandfather figure for Leonard and they watch Bogard movies together and quote the lines to each other and this relationship was just so special! I loved it!
I also loved one of his teachers, Herr Silverman. And I could easily see how I would have been very much annoyed by this teacher as well as a teenager. I probably wouldn't have appreciated his wanting to shake everyone's hand when they entered the classroom, but now I see how special it is.
Seeing the story unfold and finding out what it was that made Leonard come to this point in his life was heartbreaking and just, I just can't. I truly believe that if his mom had been paying closer attention this wouldn't have happened. If she just hadn't turned away from him and ignored it and had offered him help... There are just so many missed chances here and while I was so hoping that things would change in that regard, sometimes they just don't. And you have to make do with what you do have.
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock had such a powerful impact on me! I'm still thinking about it and I feel that as a doctor, this is something that I should learn more about. I mean, of course I do know about the signs and such, but really, I want to help people before it gets this far. If The Silver Linings Playbook is anywhere near this good, I'm definitely reading it!
My rating: 4,5 stars
Made me crave: chocolate ice cream