Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Monday, February 24, 2014

Plot Summary:
It's Leonard's 18th birthday and, instead of celebrating adulthood, he is planning to kill Asher Beale and himself. Ever since his parents' divorce, Leonard has felt abandoned and the person he used to called his best friend has made his life a living hell. Leonard is at his whit's end and he believes that the only way he can ease the pain is to die and to take Asher with him. Before committing this last act, Leonard has wrapped four gifts to give to people he cares about. The first gift he gave was for Walt (his chain smoking, Bogart loving next door neighbor). The second gift he gave was for Babak (his Iranian, violin virtuoso friend). The third gift he left was for his favorite teacher, Herr Silverman (Holocaust expert and one who never wears short sleeves). The last gift he gives went to Lauren (the Jesus freak whom he forced his first kiss upon). As Leonard gives away his most precious treasures to, his mission to kill Asher Beale starts to wane; at first, Leonard was ready and willing to end his life, but, after re-living the moments he has spent with those who matter the most, and why he wants to kill Asher, he starts to realize the core of his problems. As the countdown begins, Leonard's plan falls into the place and when he is in front of Asher Beale's window, the inevitable occurs and Leonard's life changes forever.

Critical Evaluation:
I can honestly say that I had to take my time reading this book simply because it hurt so much to hear about Leonard's life. This story is a raw and gut-wrenching story of a guy who had just about every awful happen to him and there was no one he could turn to.  For the last six years of his life, Leonard has had to shoulder an immense amount of pain and his own mother and father couldn't take the time to notice that their once happy son is nothing but an empty shell. The quote that shook my soul the most was:
These people we call Mom and Dad, they bring us into the world and they don't follow through with what we need, or provide answers at all really--it's a fend-for-yourself free-for-all in the end, and I;m just not cut out for that sort of living.
I cannot express how terrifying and painful it is to hear that so many young people, like Leonard, are  out there, all alone, exposed to the evils of this world, and have no one, or no where, to turn to. The reason why Leonard wants to kill Asher Beale is because adults not only warped, and ruined, noth Asher's and Leonard's innocence, it was the adults who turned a blind eye to everything that was happening to these children. After the abuse, Leonard has been slowly dying inside and it literally takes an almost murder/suicide for him to realize that that the people who should have protected, loved, and supported him throughout this whole ordeal weren't there. I thank God for people like Herr Silverman because it is their strength, love, patience, compassion, and faith is what gives teens like Leonard a way out. Although Leonard has a long way to go, he can now do it knowing that he doesn't have to endure the pain any more and hope for a better for life and a better future. This book will live with me for the rest of my life because I never, ever want this to happen to my own children and readers will feel the same way when they come across someone who is suffering like Leonard. If you know someone who is hurting, or wanting to hurt themselves, DO NOT IGNORE THEM and get them help. More importantly, if you are a victim of abuse, you did not deserve this and nor are you to blame. If you feel like hurting yourself, please seek help because you are precious to those who love you and and everyone around you.    

Information about the Author:
According to his website:
Matthew Quick (aka Q) is the New York Times bestselling author of THE SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK, which was made into an Oscar-winning film, and three young adult novels: SORTA LIKE A ROCK STAR; BOY21; and FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK. His work has been translated into twenty-eight languages, received a PEN/Hemingway Award Honorable Mention, was an LA Times Book Prize finalist, a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice, a #1 bestseller in Brazil, and selected by Nancy Pearl as one of Summer’s Best Books for NPR. His next two novels for adults, THE GOOD LUCK OF RIGHT NOW and LOVE MAY FAIL, are forthcoming from HarperCollins. All of Q’s books have been optioned for film.
Q spent the first few years of his life in Philadelphia before being raised just across the Delaware River in Oaklyn, New Jersey. He graduated from Collingswood High School (class of 1992) and La Salle University (class of 1996), where he double-majored in English and secondary education. He taught high school literature and film in southern New Jersey for several years, during which he coached soccer and basketball, chaperoned trips to Peru and Ecuador, initiated a pen-pal exchange with students in Namibia, and counseled troubled teens.
In 2004 Q made the difficult decision to leave teaching and pursue his dream of becoming a fiction writer. He received his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Goddard College in 2007 and an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from La Salle University in 2013. He lives with his wife, novelist/pianist Alicia Bessette.

Teen Contemporary Fiction

Reading Level/Interest:
Grades 10 & up

Books Similar to Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock:

Awards & Recognition:

"Books like Quick's are necessary...We should be grateful for a book that gets kids, and the leaders they'll become, thinking about the problem now."—The New York Times

*"Quick's use of flashbacks, internal dialogue, and interpersonal communication is brilliant, and the suspense about what happened between Leonard and Asher builds tangibly. The masterful writing takes readers inside Leonard's tormented mind, enabling a compassionate response to him and to others dealing with trauma."—School Library Journal, starred review

*"Quick's attentiveness to these few key relationships and encounters gives the story its strength and razorlike focus...Through Leonard, Quick urges readers to look beyond the pain of the here and now to the possibilities that await."
Publishers Weekly, starred review

"Over the course of one intense day (with flashbacks), Leonard's existential crisis is delineated through an engaging first-person narrative supplemented with footnotes and letters from the future that urge Leonard to believe in a "life beyond the ├╝bermorons" at school. Complicated characters and ideas remain complicated, with no facile resolutions, in this memorable story."—The Horn Book

"...the novel presents a host of compelling, well-drawn, realistic characters-all of whom want Leonard to make it through the day safe and sound."—Kirkus

"Quick is most interested in Leonard's psychology, which is simultaneously clear and splintered, and his voice, which is filled with brash humor, self-loathing, and bucket loads of refreshingly messy contradictions, many communicated through Leonard's footnotes to his own story. It may sound bleak, but it is, in fact, quite brave, and Leonard's interspersed fictional notes to himself from 2032 add a unique flavor of hope."—Booklist

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Deborah Takahashi
Pasadena, CA, United States
My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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