Friday, February 21, 2014

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Amazing, amazing, amazing book! Did I mention I thought this book was amazing?

This book was not what I had planned to read next, but I had to read it immediately once I discovered it. I had been doing some research in to likely winners for the soon to be announced ALA awards for 2014 and this one was mentioned numerous times in association with the Printz Award (it didn't win). Then, I realized it was written by the author of Silver Linings Playbook, the basis for a movie that had magically jumped its way in to my top 10 favorites of all time recently. Matthew Quick just understands depression, he portrays it  clearly, painfully and yet somehow beautifully. So, I grabbed this book and tore in to it.

The basic premise--a teenager has plans for his 18th birthday, and those plans include shooting his ex-best friend and then himself. Heavy, I know. And I spent most of the book unsure how I would react if the main character, Leonard Peacock, actually went through with it. And I had many a moment when I found myself wondering if it was okay that I liked this kid, this person who might soon be a murderer, because I did like him. I understood him, at least I understood his underlying angst and anger. The author manages to give this character hateful moments, and misguided moments, and other unlikable thoughts and ideas and intentions--and yet, he manages to make you like him. I won't say how it ends. Honestly, I reached a point where I wasn't sure if I wanted him to go through with his plans or not. I worried that it would seem too anticlimactic if he didn't do it; but, I also worried that I might be really angry if he did.

Oh, a minor advanced warning of sorts--not sure if this is standard for his books, as it is the first I have read, but much of the back-story in the book is presented in footnotes. At first I found this a bit odd, but found it eventually melded smoothly in to my reading experience. I know others who found it off-putting. Don't let it stop you from reading this book! Technically, I guess you could skip the footnotes, but I think the footnotes, at least for me, are what made me want to fight for Leonard...