Thursday, 15 August 2013

Review: Forgive me, Leonard Peacock. ~ Matthew Quick


Let me start by saying I have not read "The Silver Linings Playbook" and so I had not yet formed an opinion on Matthew Quick's writing before reading, 'Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock.' This being said I had heard good things, and so I expected good things of his newest novel. I was impeccably disappointed.

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is the story of a troubled young man (Leonard Peacock) of 18 years who has decided life is filled only with misery, inflicted upon the weak by the popular and the strong and stupid, coming to the conclusion that a murder/suicide is the only option left to him. Like all misfits Leonard is socially awkward, has no friends, believes himself to be of superior intellect to all his classmates, and is generally spurned by the student body and teaching staff alike.
In a futile attempt at discovering just what has brought about his drastic decision to shuffle off this mortal coil in such a violent way, we read on. We must endure this boy's inner monologue throughout the novel as he says goodbye to four people who he feels he has built some manner of connection with. We come to the conclusion that these 'friends' of his, as well as the antagonists, are merely the mud of his self-pity in which he chooses to wallow. We also see he has suffered through his parents separation, his dad's drug abuse, and his strained relationship with his vapid fashion-designer mother. A childhood trauma is constantly alluded to, involving his once best-friend-now-turned-mortal-enemy Asher Beal, whom he intends to make the subject of his murder/suicide. Ultimately we uncover his painful past and feel as though the author really wants us to sympathise and connect with the boy, but instead he becomes unlikable, and pitiable.

One feels at the beginning of the novel that it really has potential, but realise about a third of the way through that it just isn't going to get any better. The story is one dimensional and flat, gradually unfolding with a tedious inevitability. This book will be loved by angsty teens everywhere all the while, trying very hard to be a modern day Catcher in the Rye.  One thing I will say for it is, I certainly felt like killing someone after I read it.

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