Author: Matthew Quick
Published: 2013 by Headline Publishing Group
Read: November 2013
Categories: Fiction, YA
Why it made it to the top of the pile: I read some great reviews
Trivia Tidbit: Matthew is also known as Q
Full Disclosure: Purchased
This is tricky material to negotiate in a YA novel, particularly when you take into consideration that some of the readers will be teens who are having similar issues to Leonard, who want someone to convince them it gets better even though they can't believe it's true. Matthew Quick has created an authentic protagonist in Leonard Peacock - an intelligent, troubled and depressed boy who wants to be important to someone. His parents are separated; his addict father is long-gone and his ambitious mother is focused on making a name for herself as a fashion designer and has no time for Leonard, his birthday or his problems. But there are some caring adults in his life - Bogart-loving neighbour Walt and his Holocaust class teacher Herr Silverman.
When Leonard delivers his gifts, the recipients know something is off, but are unable to connect with Leonard. The novel is interspersed with over 65 footnotes, which are a type of stream-of-consciousness chatter from Leonard, whereby the first-person narrative is interrupted by the thoughts of the narrator. It is an interesting (although occasionally distracting) device that, for the most part, allows the reader a little backstory without going into tedious detail.
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is about problems that seem insurmountable and almost overwhelming depression. But it is also about the possibility that things will get better, and that, sometimes, there are people in your life that you can lean on until they do.