Anyone who ever thought of committing suicide, read this novel first. Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is about a teenager who planned to kill his former bestfriend and then kill himself. As if this is not awful enough, he plan to do this on his 18th birthday.
“Just hold on as best as you can – and believe in the future.
Trust me. This is only a small part of your life. A blink.”
This is my first Matthew Quick novel, a young adult recommendation from our book club. While I was reading this book, I felt weird. It’s as if my emotional gloomy self has resurfaced. I found myself agreeing to Leonard’s arguments on why he wanted to commit suicide. Not that I thought of committing suicide before, I didn’t. But I confess, there were times in my past that I felt alone and that nobody really cares. (Haha! Emo.) Leonard wanted people to greet him “happy birthday”, without prompting them that it’s his birthday. And then that hollow feeling after, when he wasn’t greeted by the people whom he was expecting to greet him. I think I have felt that way before too. Then there were times when I wanted others to be there for me and show me that they care but sometimes I just wanted to be left alone. More thoughts like these had crossed my mind before. Insane? Sort of. But of course, I am not “certifiably insane”.
This book is somewhat a downer. But after contemplating about the downside of life, after agreeing to Leonard’s reasons to kill himself, it makes you think again. And it gives you hope. Leonard Peacock is strange. He is depressed, sometimes too self-absorbed. But here are some reminders from him, a message for adults – that adults should be happy too. He told us to stop doing things that we don’t want to, that we can do anything we want and be anyone we want. This book tells us to believe in the future because it is going to be better, that there’s a lot to live for.
Before committing suicide, Leonard wanted to say goodbye to four people. I like how these people were presented in the novel. But it was Herr Silverman whom I really admired. I recommended this book to a teenage friend. When I asked him about the book after reading it, he said that he can relate to Leonard. Why? He told me this: “Loneliness. The feeling that you are alone. That you are looking for a person that will save you, but you will not let him know that you needed to be saved.” This is why we need more people like Herr Silverman, a man who cares and understands and is willing to save you. I associate him with the lighthouse from Leonard’s letters to himself from the future. Even when no one ever comes, the lighthouse beams its light, just in case. He always shows kindness, just in case. We never know, at some time, somebody might really need it. There should be more people like Herr Silverman. And in our own ways, we can be like him and save lives too. We can man the lighthouse. And man the great light. Even when no one is looking.
(4/5 stars)P.S. I also thought of writing letters to myself from the future. Maybe you should too, after reading the book. 🙂