Thursday, July 3, 2014

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick Review {with Audiobook Notes}

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock
by Matthew Quick
Published by Little, Brown BYR
Publish Date: August 13, 2013
273 Pages
Source: Book - Publisher, Audiobook - Library
Find it here:  Goodreads / Amazon / B&N


How would you spend your birthday if you knew it would be your last?

Eighteen-year-old Leonard Peacock knows exactly what he'll do. He'll say goodbye.

Not to his mum - who he calls Linda because it annoys her - who's moved out and left him to fend for himself. Nor to his former best friend, whose torments have driven him to consider committing the unthinkable. But to his four friends: a Humphrey-Bogart-obsessed neighbour, a teenage violin virtuoso, a pastor's daughter and a teacher.

Most of the time, Leonard believes he's weird and sad but these friends have made him think that maybe he's not. He wants to thank them, and say goodbye.
 (from Goodreads) 


Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock 
by Matthew Quick

My Thoughts:  There are some authors' books that I am almost reluctant to write about on this blog because I love them so much. Matthew Quick is one of them. BUT! People need to be reading his books. I REALLY WANT people to read his books. I will tell you why. 

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Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is EXACTLY what the summary makes it out to be. The book opens as Leonard Peacock has plans to kill Asher Beal and then himself. It is Leonard's birthday, the day he intends to carry out this plan, and Leonard spends all day issuing his farewells and goodbyes to the few people in his life that matter to him. The book follows him through the mundane activities of daily living and allows us into his head and his inner thoughts, giving us a glimpse of this boy that is angry, sad, depressed, in pain, and just wants out. 

Listening to Leonard talk to other people made me realize that he is like a few people that I know from my life. Listening to Leonard's inner thoughts made me AFRAID - for Leonard, for the people around him, for real people in the world we actually live in - including people with issues similar to Leonard. 

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I really love Leonard. Even though he is upset and angry and has some obvious issues, including a disdain for Asher Beal that is beyond what is reasonable - I think he is a little bit funny and actually chuckled here and there as I read. At the same time, I cringed more than once throughout the book at things he would say or do, and there were two instances in which I had to literally pause the audiobook and collect myself at how possible Leonard's story is, and how devastating it would be were it to occur in real life. WHEN it occurs in real life. Being inside of his head was a very eye-opening experience for me and while it was not the most happy of times, I absolutely appreciated it. 
There is a need for the world to understand people like Leonard Peacock, people that have been hurt so badly that they believe that life is not redeemable, that they think they need to take another life and also their own. It is an honor to read a book that explores a character so well. 
While the book progressed throughout the day - Leonard's birthday - as he farewell'd and goodbye'd - I wondered so often what on earth Asher Beal had done to make Leonard despise him so...and then I found out. And everything sort of changed for me at that point. In some way, my feelings about Leonard morphed into something different. I believe that the tone of the book changed as well. No spoilers here, but Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is one of the most powerful books I have read. There was a point that I had to stop and just cry for Leonard, for what he had been through, for what he was currently going through, for how easily he had slipped through the cracks of life, for how easily it would have been for someone to show him an extra bit of kindness and maybe that could have changed something. Nothing excuses Leonard's intentions and plans - NOTHING - but there is a great deal of sadness that I felt and feel that he arrived at that point to begin with, and I was just socked with an almost-exhaustion when the almost-ending came and things started happening. 

This book is not the happiest of books, but I loved the hope that I felt at the end. 

There are several characters that Author Matthew Quick shares with us in this cast that represent so many different types of people, and they represent many different things to Leonard. Some of them are not great, but they are written very well. Some of them are really incredible and they are written well too. One in particular, a certain teacher, stands out as REMARKABLE and the only words I know to use for him are WOW and WOW and WOW. 

I really believe that Leonard's voice is so authentic and strong and HE NEEDS TO BE HEARD.  

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Matthew Quick and his books are important to the world because he writes about characters that often are not given a voice. We've seen it in Silver Linings Playbook with Pat, and Leonard is one of these people too. They are littered throughout his books, and he represents them well. People need to read Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock because there are Leonard Peacocks in this world, and there are instances in which they need to be heard and helped and this is possible

I listened to the audiobook while following along with a Kindle copy. One of the things I loved about this book is that there are footnotes. With Leonard's mind and with how he thought, I thought the use of foot notes was a neat addition to the book. Just a note: on the audiobook, I could not tell that there were footnotes. The narrator includes them fluidly with the rest of the story and were I not reading along with the print, I would have never known they were there. This is not a good thing nor a bad thing, it is just an observation by someone that read both formats together. 

Audiobook NotesThe audiobook format of Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick is published by Hachette Audio and is 6 hours, 19 minutes, Unabridged. It is narrated by Noah Galvin who some will recognize as the reader from The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Noah Galvin voiced Leonard Peacock extremely well, bringing a ton of emotion to an emotional role and also making me laugh when it was appropriate. He has a fantastic voice for audiobook reading and I would not hesitate for a second to pick up another audiobook narrated by this voice actor/actor. I recommend this audiobook for first time read as well as re-reads. (Fun trivia! Noah Galvin is brother to Emma Galvin, a very-favorite narrator of mine. Source).

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick is a dark book, but hopeful. It made me sad for Leonard and for people like him. It gave me hope, though, and I believe with all of my heart that books like this should be read. This type of young adult fiction is important, particularly for young adults that wonder if life ever gets better, for young adults that have suffered horrible things, and for young adults that are struggling with a decision on whether or not to continue with life. I recommend this book to all readers boldly. It is important as Mr. Quick's other books are important. 

**I am ridiculously sheepish about sharing thoughts on a book by an author that I love so much because I want to make sure I do this book justice and come across seriously. As a blogger/reader, I feel a responsibility to make people more aware of this book. This one should be on reading lists and young people (and not-young people) should be encouraged to pick it up. 

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Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock will appeal to fans of:

YA Contemporary with Realistic Fiction 
Social Issues: Mental Issues, Abuse, Bullying
Great Characterization
Romance: None
Standalone

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock 
by Matthew Quick
is currently available for purchase.

**I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest opinion and review. I received no compensation for these thoughts and they are my own! Thank you Little, Brown BYR! 

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Has anyone else read this book?
HAVE YOU LISTENED TO IT YET? 

Please share your thoughts! 




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3 comments:

  1. Ashley, this review is so thoughtful, so passionate, I just felt your love for this book and its author all the way through! Beautiful!

    I downloaded the audiobook via SYNC, without really knowing (or remembering) what this book was about, and now that I read your review, I'm amazed by it. I couldn't agree more, these stories, about people living with mental disabilities are very valuable to our society. We'll never be able to understand what it's like or what it means to live with something like this, unless we get to know the person first. Getting to the person is just the beginning, caring about them comes second. I'm convinced I'll care just as deeply about Leonard Peacock. I'm giving his story a listen, and I'm doing it very soon. Thank you so much for encouraging me to do so.

    Marlene @ The Flyleaf Review

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AND I totally misspelled your name! I'm so sorry! Asheley*

      Also, I skipped a know* in there.

      That's what I get for not checking for errors before hitting publish... :/

      Delete
  2. I LOVE THIS REVIEW!

    But seriously, after reading this I put Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock on my iPhone. I mean, my plan was already to make that my next audiobook, but this review made me dawdle less on putting it on there.

    I love this book so much.I read it last year and it was one of my favorites of the year and like, I am excited to re-read it via audio and it makes me so happy that you loved it.

    You really nailed it when it comes to your description of Leonard and his characterization.

    ReplyDelete

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