November 22, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Pick of the Day: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

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red background, white, gray, and black letteringQUICK, Matthew. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock. 280p. Little, Brown. Aug. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-316-22133-7.
Gr 10 Up
–Leonard Peacock has big plans for his 18th birthday. He plans to kill Asher Beal and then commit suicide. Leonard is a loner, an outcast, a misfit. Asher is a superpopular jock/bully. But they used to be friends, best friends. Something happened when they were 12, something bad. Leonard has had no one to confide in–his washed-up rock-musician dad is on the lam and his self-absorbed, oblivious mother forgets that she has a son. His anger, emotional pain, and brokenness build until he feels there is nothing left to do but end his life and the cause of his misery. As he gives gifts to the four people who mean something to him, he reveals some of his anguish. One recipient, his teacher Herr Silverman, picks up on his suicidal signals and offers the listening ear Leonard so desperately needs. As the heartbreaking climax unfolds, readers learn about the sexual and emotional trauma the teen has endured. Fortunately, there is no bloodshed, just the shedding of many overdue tears. Leonard knows he needs help and readers will hope he gets it. This is a difficult, yet powerful, book. 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. May there be more Herr Silvermans willing to take personal risks to save the Leonard Peacocks.–Lisa Crandall, formerly at the Capital Area District Library, Holt, MI

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