Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick | Book Review

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew QuickBook Title/Author: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
: August 13th 2013 – Little Brown Books For Young Readers
Genre: Contemporary YA – Realistic Teen Fiction
Series: No
Other Books From Author: Silver Linings Playbook, Sorta Like A Rock Star, Boy21

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I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!




Leonard Peacock wakes up on his 18th birthday with a plan to kill his former best friend and then take his own life. Before he does that he spends the day giving gifts to the four important people in his life — his elderly neighbor, his teacher, a girl he met handing out religious tracts and a boy from his school. He slowly reveals his story and what has happened to get him to this day as he counts down the hours until he will pull the trigger.

This was definitely an interesting, powerful novel! Pretty heavy as we are following a narrator who has revealed right from the start that his plan for the day is to kill his former best friend and then himself. That alone definitely got my attention — like WAIT WHAT? PUT DOWN THE GUN, KID. We don’t know the reason why he is going to kill this boy but everything is slowly revealed throughout the day as we follow him say goodbye and deliver gifts to four people who have seemed to really make an impact on him. As the story unraveled and the motive was revealed, my heart broke for all the Leonard Peacocks of the world.

Have you ever had an experience following a character that is just so unsettling for most of it that you have to take breaks? This was my experience with Leonard Peacock. It’s just a strange experience to be following a main character who wants to kill someone and then kill himself. On top of that, you can just feel the pain of Leonard Peacock just emanating from the pages. He’s so lonely and pushed off to the side that it just hurt my heart. But at the same time you just feel some inner rage that he thinks this is the answer. But then you feel so badly for him again.  I was just so scared the whole time — like wanting to plead with him NOT to do it. I was pretty unsure about what was going to happen until I got to a certain point.

What made this book so powerful and raw was Leonard. I felt this cloud of sadness just settle around me for a good chunk of this novel. His story is so, so devastatingly sad and I wanted to just hug him hard and buy him a cake for his birthday. His voice was incredibly memorable with the way it made me feel a weight in my heart like really sad songs or the way his pain was just so visible like a painting on a canvas.

It’s definitely a bit of a slower novel as it takes place in one day and most of the day he is meeting with these four characters who have impacted his life in some way and revealing a lot about his life and why these people have been deemed important to him. Despite the fact it’s a bit of a slower novel, it’s so emotionally charged because you can feel his state of mind and you are kind of reading in a sort of flinched manner with your hands over your eyes but peeking through to read it. You are just waiting to see if he is going to pull the trigger all while reading Leonard’s really painful story. SO INTENSE.

My one and only complaint that I remember thinking that, at times, some of the other characters seemed a little bit like caricatures. I did really love his elderly neighbor and the teacher though! ALSO, I don’t know what the finished copies or ebooks will be like, but I read an e-galley and there are footnotes in this novel that I didn’t see until the END. I did read them after and I felt like they would have distracted me with their length but some were actually important. I think maybe something I didn’t see coming was said in one of those footnotes so MAYBE his motive won’t seem as shocking because it seemed to hint to it.

Also, hip hip hooray for a novel set in my area again — Philly!


Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock was definitely an unsettling, raw kind of book that made me think twice. Leonard Peacock is a voice that you won’t soon forget as the voices of thousands of Leonard Peacocks resound all around us. The unraveling of the pain that Leonard held so tight, a deep pain that would motivate him to want to kill someone and then end his own life, made my heart so, so heavy. I closed the pages ultimately with hope and it made me think a lot about our interactions with people that we may think are meaningless.


Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? If you’ve read it what did you think? Who was your favorite of the four characters he gave gifts to? Did you find it hard to read? Anyone else think it would be a great book club pick?

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. I actually haven’t read this book yet, but I definitely want to. I read The Silver Linings Playbook (also by Matthew Quick), and absolutely loved it. After I read that I instantly put this one on my to-read shelf!

  2. I’ve been looking forward to this book for a while. The story line sounded so unique, and I’d never heard of a book where you followed the MC on a journey to wanting to kill his best friend and them himself. I know that sounds kind of twisted, but it’s just not something you get to experience every day. I can imagine that this book would be incredibly heavy like you said.

    The bit about footnotes – I usually like those in a book. I wish you had found them sooner but those damn eARCs mess up formatting so often. I will probably read a print copy of this book just for that fact. Great review! 🙂

  3. Oh, Jamie. I have been skipping this one as it has supposed to have been my “next read” several times. I just don’t know if I am ready for it. I KNOW the story will be powerful, but this is so heavy. Frightening, really.

    In fact, I’m secretly sort of saving it up as it sits on the Kindle and I kind of talk to it as I pass it by. I need to just go ahead and read it because it just tortures me. I LOVED SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK SO MUCH. Like, so very, very much. (I read the book before I saw the movie – they’re so different!) And I recommend Silver Linings Playbook to you as well – not as dark at all (from what this sounds like) and you will love the setting and Philly-inspired talk, Yuengling references, etc that are central to your area. This is the first review I’ve read for this one and to be honest, I may or may not pick another one or two to read before I dive into this one. Matthew Quick solidified himself simply with Silver Linings because it was AMAZING. You HAVE to read that one. Like, HURRY AND DO IT NOW. NOW.

  5. This one is sitting on my shelf right now and though I have been REALLY wanting to pick it up; The very reason of it being so heavy and depressing(for lack of a better word) is why I haven’t cracked it open yet. I know I will be a sad panda while reading this one!

  6. Hadn’t heard of this one until your review. Sounds really intense. Will have to add it to my TBR. Great review, Jamie!

  7. Yikes. Sounds really heart wrenching. These type of novels don’t really catch my attention though. Glad you liked it! Great review!

  8. Ellice Y says:

    This book sounds really intense! I have to admit, I usually steer clear of books like this because they make me sad (I get so emotionally invested in the characters that my heart can’t take it!). Sadly, it is a reality for a lot of kids out there, and I wish I could just give them all a big hug!

  9. This one sounds very intense and thought-provoking. It also sounds like a very unique read, so I’m definitely intrigued to check it out sometime soon, but only when I can read it privately so that I can have a good, heart-wrenching cry without anyone seeing hahaha.

    Brilliant review Jamie! 😀

  10. After I finish current Kindle ebook THIS will be my next read, as I just hopped on my Netgalley email and did the automatic download for this like RIGHT NOW. I am all about intense character driven books and I feel like I will love this as I loved The Silver Linings Playbook. Fab review, yo.

  11. Sounds kind of like Thirteen Reasons Why. The authenticity of the narrator’s voice is make-or-break for stories like that, eh?

  12. I knew this would be a heavier read, but it sounds like it’s UBER heavy — and I have to be in the right mood for that. I’ve got this one on my TBR pile but might wait until I think I can handle the emotional turmoil.

  13. Ooooh, I haven’t read this yet, but loved Silver Linings Play Book, so I do have this on my must read list! Your review has made me even more excited to read it!

  14. Darith L. says:

    This sounds really intense and incredibly depressing. But in life as in art, we have to feel the different bursts of emotions that life throws at you. It really seems like a powerful read, and I’m curious to see how I take from it. It does sort of have that “13 Reasons Why” vibe to it. Great review, Jamie. 😀

  15. I read this book last year and LOVE LOVE LOVED it. It broke my heart and left me a sobbing mess, but it was so beautiful, poignant, and deeper than anything I had read in a long time. It definitely was one of my favorites of 2014 and is a book I continue to think about, especially the end. <3


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