Monday, 9 December 2013

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock - Matthew Quick

Leonard Peacock is looking forward to his eighteenth birthday; because then he can shoot his ex-best friend and then himself. His mother has moved out of the family home and gone to work in New York, his father, an ancoholic, hasn't been seen for years. His ex-best friend Asher seems to be at the root of the problem, but it takes most of the book before you'll find out why.... Leonard thinks that there is no-one out there who gives a damn about him, so really, he'll be better off dead, but of course there are people who care, as there always are. His Holocaust class teacher, Herr Silverman cares, for one - and it is Herr Silverman's idea of writing letters from someone in your future life that just may make Leonard change his mind.

A very odd little novel, but one I couldn't stop reading. I didn't want an eighteen year old boy to kill himself or anyone else, and there was so much angst in his young life it was difficult to see how he could find a way out of his troubles. It's always fascinating when an author takes on another persona. Did Matthew Quick dig deep into his own memory bank to find the things that made Leonard so believable? Whatever he did, I believe he got it right. He made me worry about Leonard, he made me think that if he got old enough to look back he might do it with a wry smile, and it made me hope that Leonard could not pull the trigger.

This is the second book by Quick I have read that deals with problems that come with poor mental health (The Silver Linings Playbook was the first), and I liked them both. Aimed, perhaps, at older Young Adults, any age that needs to understand why some people just cannot say what is wrong can read this with confidence. You know, those among us who, when asked "what's wrong?", just can't put it into words - and that has happened for most of us at some time.

Odd and quirky - I liked it.