Mental Health Review: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Posted June 27, 2014 by shooting in Uncategorized / 20 Comments

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Review by Lauren

Source: personal copy; all opinions are my own

Official Summary: Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he hides a
gun in his backpack. Because today is the day he will kill his former
best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.

first he must say good-bye to the four people who matter most to him:
his Humphrey Bogart–obsessed next-door neighbor, Walt; his classmate
Baback, a violin virtuoso; Lauren, the Christian homeschooler he has a
crush on; and Herr Silverman, who teaches the high school’s class on the
Holocaust. Speaking to each in turn, Leonard slowly reveals his secrets
as the hours tick by and the moment of truth approaches.

Review: I’ve owned this book for awhile but I finally had a good chance to pull it out and read it when I learned about Mental Health Awareness month. I would say, in all, Leonard suffers from depression. There are things in his past that haunt him and make going through the day difficult. He might have four gifts to give to people before he kills his ex-best friend and then himself, but most of these people are not truly close to Leonard. I suppose his next door neighbor, Walt, understands him the most, until he starts to talk to Herr Silverman more on the day of his life and death. While they may see aspects of Leonard that others do not, it’s a sad replacement for a family member or friend that truly knows you and loves you. Without someone to rely on, and a dark secret weighing him down, Leonard believes that this is his only option.


I honestly had no idea why Leonard was so desperate to kill his ex-best friend until it was finally revealed in the novel. I don’t want to talk about the moment because it’s better to be shocked and it’s definitely best to feel like you are finally pulling back enough layers of Leonard to grasp where he is coming from. People often say they can’t believe that someone would want to kill themselves, but it’s not something that really confuses me. I can understand how someone would reach such a dark place that they felt there was no other way. They can’t see to the future and to the good that could come. I’m sure it’s a horrible feeling and I wish more people could get help before resorting to suicide. Depression, mental illness. It all needs to be discussed more and become less stigmatized.

In this novel, people care about Leonard, but in various ways. It’s difficult sometimes to know what someone needs to survive, and you can’t be anybody’s one savior. However, reading this book definitely made me want to reach into the pages and get Leonard help. I wanted him to talk to someone, open up, and realize that the future is waiting for him. The book is not depressing overall. There is hope, there is love. I wasn’t entirely pleased with the very end, but it was essentially realistic. Not every story has a happily ever after, but that doesn’t mean it’s fully dark either.

I am linking up at Blog of Erised for Mental Health Awareness Month

20 responses to “Mental Health Review: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

  1. I loved this one. I think suicide is a topic that gets discussed quite often on the media and in literature, but not quite in this manner. I think every time it's broached it's a worthwhile outlook since I feel as if they're bound to appeal to different audience, but this was just so different and so utterly out there but it forced me to think so deeply about these issues and I just adored it for that. Lovely review!

  2. I find the structure of this novel interesting. And it's definitely a topic that's in the minds of a lot of people. Hard to grasp why a young person would want to kill others and themselves, but it happens a lot.

  3. I do like these type of reads mostly because they can really make you think and see things in a new light for those that suffer from depression.

  4. I've been putting off reading this because I was afraid it would be too depressing, too dark but I'm so happy to hear it isn't all bleak and that there is some hope to be had. Awesome review!

  5. I have seen this book a lot lately in blogosphere and finally get the hype after reading your review. 🙂 This book seems like an honest portrayal of a depressed guy with no one he can turn to. I think I'd appreciate the realness of the story, but I'm afraid it's too depressing for me haha. It's wonderful that the book provokes you to think, Lauren, and it makes you wish to give a hand to Leonard. Beautiful review! 🙂

  6. I also desperately wanted to read out to Leonard while reading this one and tell him it DOES get better. I was shocked when I read what he had gone through with his ex-best friend, but Matthew Quick did a great job of getting the reader to empathize with Leonard and understand what depths he was willing to go to, as you say. I am so glad you decided to review this one for Mental Health Awareness Month because your thoughts were very profound and thoughtful – well done!!

  7. *shudders* I'm probably weird for saying this, but the synopsis is scary! And intriguing.

    Something must be wrong with me. But usually I avoid these types of books… I don't really know why. O_o

  8. I've been really fascinated by mental illness since I did study of mental illness in Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart with my students. Prior to that, I was definitely the type of person who found mental illness to be very creepy. But learning about it made me much more sympathetic and open-minded.

    So this book is one I would have never wanted to pick up before, but I would be willing to give a shot now. Though I'm still slightly hesitant because you did not like the ending… but in my efforts to be open… I will be putting this on my to-read list. Great review!

    Lauren @ Wordy Hughes

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