Audie Award Finalist, Teens, 2014
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.
In this riveting audiobook, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made - and the light in us all that never goes out.
©2013 Matthew Quick (P)2013 Hachette Audio
Leonard Peacock tells us he plans to murder a classmate then off himself. So, naturally any listener goes in to such a story hoping that the end, well, pays off. If he does it, let me understand and feel some kind of resolve and not come out on the other end of these six hours with a bleaker, more cynical view of the world. 'Cause I don't need help with that, thank you. Or, okay, if he doesn't go through with it, let me not feel cheated by the premise of this story or feel the author side-stepped the seriousness of the material.
I will tell you that I had to stop my world for that last two hours to listen to the ending. I will also tell you, without giving anything away, the ending truly is the thing here. As the tale spooled out I had a fairly good idea of where the author would finally wrap the story up. After all, the whole novel's premise is this idea that we are building up to the murder and the suicide, but Matthew Quick seemed to have more to tell. It is because of the last few chapters that I feel especially privileged to have experienced this book.
Matthew Quick treats the subject and his characters with gravity and affection and does not compromise reality to deliver a neat and tidy ending, and I did find my eyes welling up in the end.
What a wonderfully complex and fascinating character is Mr. Peacock.
Finally, I must once again sing the praises of Noah Galvin, who I Googled after thoroughly enjoying his narration of 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower.' They young man is a theater actor which explains why both readings are so engaging. He really performs the book- almost like a monologue, fully inhabiting the character. With some material that kind of reading would be unwelcome and maybe even limiting to the listener's imagination. But here again, in a first person narrative, Galvin's conversational style is totally enthralling and 100% convincing. I would even go so far as put his performance up there with the likes of Jim Dale who expertly gave- in a different way- a new experience to millions of Harry Potter fans.
I will be listening to more from both Quick and Galvin.
I've never read Matthew Quick before, and this is not the sort of book I would normally pick up. I've no idea what made me buy it, but I am very glad I did. It's one of the best books I've read in a long time. It's not an easy or comfortable book, but it is a compelling one.
The main character is very much alive. My heart ached for his pain at the same time I smiled at my own remembered teen melodrama and anomie. That's not to say that Leonard is your average teen with only an average teen's problems. He's not. However the more mundane teenagian tangents in the book are what makes him come alive.
I cannot say enough good things about the narration of this book. Noah Galvin does an amazing job, so much so that I can't imagine this book being read by anyone else. Just the right amount of bite, pain, anger, and passion in every phrase.
Get this and read it. It's a wonderful book.
I'm an audiobook addict and blog about books at The Reading Date. My favorite genres are YA, New Adult, Fiction & Memoirs.
I loved Matthew Quick’s Silver Lining’s Playbook so I’ve been eager to read his latest book, Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock. Quick taught high school so is someone who has a lot of experience working with teens, and that comes through in this book. It reads very real, and makes you think about how you could make a difference in someone’s life that needs you.
As you can probably tell, this is not an easy read, though very topical. Leonard is sad and angry, and feels invisible and like there’s nothing to look forward to. The 24-hour style of the book makes the story feel even more intense. I was constantly on edge and worrying over Leonard’s fate throughout the book.
Through flashbacks we get to see the factors that figured into Leonard’s decision to take his life. We meet the four people that Leonard considered goodbye worthy: Walt, Leonard’s elderly neighbor who introduced him to Humphrey Bogart films, Baback, the violinist peer, Lauren, the homeschooled Christian, and Herr Silverman, the Holocaust class instructor. Leonard’s absent parents also figure into his state of mind, as well as the former best friend and murder target Asher, and their stories come to play as well.
The book does a good job of illustrating the portrait of a suicidal teen. Though he exhibits many signs you are supposed to notice in these cases, not many do. It’s heart-breaking to read about Leonard losing hope for the future too, because he sees so many depressed adults commuting in the morning, going to jobs that they hate. So, what does Leonard have to look forward to? He thinks “It gets better” is a joke. His observations about his adult “role models” really made me think.
I listened to the audiobook, read by Noah Galvin. Wow, Galvin does a great job getting into the mind of Leonard- he becomes the character. You can hear the hurt, anger, confusion, and sadness in his words. It’s hard to listen to the audiobook at times, because it does make the story hit home even more. I have a copy of the ARC to refer to, and I noticed after I listened to the book that the print version includes footnotes in the storytelling, around 70 footnotes or so. The audiobook incorporates the footnotes into the story seamlessly so you’d never know they existed stylistically. The narrative shifts between past and present, but it doesn’t get confusing in the audiobook. The only thing that threw me at first was the “letters from the future” though I think maybe that’s purposeful. Leonard is a powerful book made even more powerful in audio form.
I think this book will appeal to fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower- it had a similar vibe to me. It’s a sophisticated read that I think readers of mature YA and literary fiction will appreciate. And with school shootings in the news and the topic of gun laws front and center, this book is very timely and discussion worthy. A worthwhile read that I couldn’t put down.
I thought this was really well done, a great story and the narrator really brought the main character to life.
This was a story I was almost hesitant to read/listen to based on the subject matter. However, it wasn't what I expected. It was very well written, well narrated and kept me entertained and engrossed in the story all the way through. I really enjoyed it and had difficulty putting it down.
So many, it is hard to choose.
He did a phenomenal job with this story. His raw emotion was conveyed so clearly, that it was like you were experiencing everything with him.
I had a hard time putting this one down. Very engaging book!
I read and listen to books. I drink tea. I sleep like a cat and wished I lived in Hawaii.
Poor Leonard Peacock. Leonard is a depressed and troubled teen who has reached his limit. He has crappy parents, issues with his former best friend and is worried that life isn't going to get better. All the adults he sees seem to be unhappy and what is the point of becoming one if life isn't going to look up at some point. The book begins with Leonard telling the readers that it's his birthday and he is going to kill his former best friend and then shoot himself. In addition to the gun in his backpack, he has four gifts for the people he cares for. As the book progresses and Leonard gives his gifts, truths are revealed. We get to see exactly why Leonard wants to shoot his best friend and himself.
I thought that Matthew Quick created a smart and, in the end, hopeful character with Leonard. He makes Leonard a believable teenager, albeit a very intense and intelligent one. This book is dark and depressing, but I think that's ok considering the issues Leonard faces… even though it felt a bit extreme at times. As stated before, Leonard does have people he cares about and who care about him: Walt, his neighbor, and Herr Silverman, his teacher. I really liked the dialogue and relationship between Leonard and Walt. I thought it was very creative for Quick to use Humphrey Bogart movies as a way for them to relate and talk with each other. I also thought it was smart on Quick's part to show teenagers that teachers are real people that can be trusted. In the end, I think all Leonard wanted was to know that someone cared about him and that life would or could get better.
Young adult books are not my go-to genre and I don't tend to enjoy them as much as other books I read. I did find "Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock" to rise above the rest and Galvin narrated Leonard in a believable way.
Its a fascinating tale that would begin on may 5th, 1989 in Mease Dunedin hospital and from there the legacy grew. I am adult now.
dark,brutal, and genius
My heart was pounding at the moments where leonard had his pistol going to off his self.
He Narrated perks of being a wallflower, he has that innocence capturing teens with dark secrets.
so emotional and given where i was i fought the tears.
I wish more books were like this.
I spend a large amount of my income on books. I mean, a lot. Seriously. It's a problem.
There was too much going on. I couldn't focus on Leonard, and I really wanted to--he was a compelling character, but there were too many strings, too much to follow.
I like reading YA novels, and I especially like to try to find good male narrators.
The reader was fine. It wasn't him, it was the story.
I was just uncomfortable at the end. It was an unusual shift in the genre, at least in my experience, but it wasn't really handled well. I feel like the emotions were not given full breadth.
I am a miracle worker. Doing what I can to choose love over fear.
Yes. The endibg. It is an important idea and every adult and teen needs to listen to it.
Yes. Skip the health-workers advice in future books
It is a must.
Totally credit proof.
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