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Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock Hardcover – August 13, 2013

4.3 out of 5 stars 207 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 10 Up–Leonard Peacock has big plans for his 18th birthday. He plans to kill Asher Beal and then commit suicide. Leonard is a loner, an outcast, a misfit. Asher is a superpopular jock/bully. But they used to be friends, best friends. Something happened when they were 12, something bad. Leonard has had no one to confide in–his washed-up rock-musician dad is on the lam and his self-absorbed, oblivious mother forgets that she has a son. His anger, emotional pain, and brokenness build until he feels there is nothing left to do but end his life and the cause of his misery. As he gives gifts to the four people who mean something to him, he reveals some of his anguish. One recipient, his teacher Herr Silverman, picks up on his suicidal signals and offers the listening ear Leonard so desperately needs. As the heartbreaking climax unfolds, readers learn about the sexual and emotional trauma the teen has endured. Fortunately, there is no bloodshed, just the shedding of many overdue tears. Leonard knows he needs help and readers will hope he gets it. This is a difficult, yet powerful, book. Quick's use of flashbacks, internal dialogue, and interpersonal communication is brilliant, and the suspense about what happened between Leonard and Asher builds tangibly. The masterful writing takes readers inside Leonard's tormented mind, enabling a compassionate response to him and to others dealing with trauma. May there be more Herr Silvermans willing to take personal risks to save the Leonard Peacocks.–Lisa Crandall, formerly at the Capital Area District Library, Holt, MIα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

It’s Leonard’s eighteenth birthday and, big surprise, nobody remembered. This birthday, however, is going to count—because Leonard plans to shoot cruel bully (and former best friend) Asher Beal after school. First, though, there is the small matter of gift giving, in which Leonard delivers four presents to the four people who made his “worthless” life a little better: a noir film–loving neighbor, a violin prodigy classmate, a superhot teen evangelist, and his favorite teacher. The single-day time frame provides a good deal of claustrophobic tension, as readers will hope against hope that one of these four people will be able to deflect Leonard from his mission. But this is far from a thriller; Quick is most interested in Leonard’s psychology, which is simultaneously clear and splintered, and his voice, which is filled with brash humor, self-loathing, and bucket loads of refreshingly messy contradictions, many communicated through Leonard’s footnotes to his own story. It may sound bleak, but it is, in fact, quite brave, and Leonard’s interspersed fictional notes to himself from 2032 add a unique flavor of hope. Grades 8-11. --Daniel Kraus

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (August 13, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316221333
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316221337
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (207 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #323,712 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Leonard Peacock just turned 18 and he wants to celebrate by killing his ex-best friend and himself. Before he does this, he plans on delivering some gifts to four people in his life that really that matter to him. Each person represents something special to him, and their reactions to the gifts were pretty mixed, and this was the first thing I found pretty heartbroken about this book. It's his birthday and no one remembers. No one knows. And instead of receiving well wishes and gifts, he's planning his would be last hours on other people.

I usually have a hard time getting through books dealing with heavy topics such as teen suicide and abuse. I'm not sure if it's Matthew Quick's insanely talented way of crafting a story, or if I could just deal with it in this particular book, but Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock was such a wonderfully sad read. Quick was was able to delicately balance some intensely heavy material with some lightheartedness which kept me from going over the edge emotionally.

Leonard's has been through a series of pretty crappy incidents which is what leads him to this life altering decision. We have a boy who's been neglected by his mother, who's lost a once great friend thanks to a very horrible incident, and doesn't really fit in anywhere in life. Quick's ability to interweave Leonard's present and past events was remarkable. I felt like I was right there with Leonard throughout the story, which is something that I'm not always able to do while reading a book.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is a story that left a mark on me, and won't be soon forgotten.
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Format: Hardcover
Matthew Quick has presented us with Leonard Peacock, in a story that is emotionally gripping to the last ambiguous page. Leonard lives alone in his suburban New Jersey home: drug addled ex-rock and roller father and model mother selfishly pursuing her own life and dreams that do not include Leonard. Intelligent, Leonard is a philosophical thinker desperate to find hope and happiness in adulthood as his childhood hasn't been full of laughs. His former best friend, Asher, is portrayed with a sociopathic bent: while we are never fully told the reason for their antipathy, the result is all too clearly apparent in Leonard's anger, and vengeful fantasies.

What is special about today is that it is Leonard's birthday, and not one person has made an attempt to acknowledge the day. But, his plans for making his 18th birthday special have been building for a while now. Told in short chapters much like journal entries, much of the story is told in first person point of view: we actually see and feel Leonard's disenchantment with the state of the world, after the journey to find a positive reason to becoming an adult. We hope, as he takes us along his journey that he is able to find a reason to continue, and find some hope to soothe his troubled thoughts. That he is highly intelligent and thoughtful, and perhaps even a bit elitist in his beliefs about the mental capacity and functioning of others is clearly evident. In fact, despite his wish for a painful end for his best friend, and his apparent willingness to embrace his own death: this is not a kid who is mean or vengeful.

His self-proclaimed new best friend is his neighbor, Walt, an elderly and infirm man that shared his fondness for classic films, especially Bogart, with Leonard.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The first half of this book is brilliant. Narrator is insightful and sadly funny. The last 40 pages it falls apart and enters into some cliches. I liked how it ended, just not the way it did. The holocaust teacher deserved a better...finale. Once you read it you'll understand.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Matthew Quick's Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is a heartbreaking and compelling character study of a teenager who is on the verge of committing two unthinkable acts: killing a classmate then himself. This insightful novel is a must read for both teenagers and their parents.

Leonard Peacock is a very intelligent young man but he does not fit in with his fellow students. His mother has checked out of his life literally and figuratively so Leonard pretty much does as he pleases. His closest (and sadly, only) friend is his octogenarian next door neighbor Walt. They pass their time together watching old Bogart films and exchanging movie quotes. The only other positive role model in Leonard's life is his favorite teacher, Herr Silverman.

All of Leonard's unhappiness and confusion culminate on his eighteenth birthday. With his birthday forgotten by his incredibly self-absorbed and absentee mother, Leonard methodically goes about saying a final goodbye to the important people in his life. Walt and Herr Silverman are alarmed by his behavior and while they ask probing and pointed questions about his state of mind, Leonard insists he is fine.

Mr. Quick's characterization of Leonard is amazingly accurate. I have an eighteen year old son and I went straight to the source after reading some of Leonard's astute observations. Much to my amazement, he agreed completely with Leonard's viewpoint. I must confess I am a little saddened by both my son's and Leonard's cynical outlook about society and adulthood.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is written in first person from Leonard's point of view. The story is well-written and unique but a couple of things take some getting used to.
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