How would you spend your birthday if you knew it would be your last?
Eighteen-year-old Leonard Peacock knows exactly what he’ll do. He’ll say goodbye. Not to his mum – who he calls Linda because it annoys her – who’s moved out and left him to fend for himself. Nor to his former best friend, whose torments have driven him to consider committing the unthinkable. But to his four friends: a Humphrey-Bogart-obsessed neighbour, a teenage violin virtuoso, a pastor’s daughter and a teacher. Most of the time, Leonard believes he’s weird and sad but these friends have made him think that maybe he’s not. He wants to thank them, and say goodbye.
Thank you to Headline for kindly bringing this novel to my attention. I’ve been a fan of Matthew since The Silver Linings Playbook and I didn’t think he was capable of writing a more powerful novel but congrats to him, because he’s raised the bar that bit higher!
I think this is the most difficult review I’ve ever had to write. It was powerful, effortless simple, powerful, mind blowing and did I mention powerful? A young eighteen year old has captured my heart for all the wrong reasons. He’s hurt, confused and lonely – I just wanted to give him a hug and tell him it’ll all be okay. Matthew wrote the novel very simply and effortless yet it transformed onto the pages in an unexpected manner.
The flashbacks were extremely helpful in terms of getting to know Leonard better and it gave depth to the narrative as it is set over one day. When he meets two girls – I hoped that they were going to change his life for the better, but then I remembered that they’re in the flashback.
The relationship that Leonard has with his neighbour and teacher is a wonderful thing. His teacher surprised me towards the end when his ethnicity was brought up. There were no descriptions of what he looked like and I was quite shocked by the outcome. I didn’t expect it at all.
If I were you, read Matthew’s book with a very open mind. It’ll teach you to act differently towards the people around you because you know nothing about their lives. We have to be nice to everyone because they’re facing a battle which we know nothing about.
Matthew Quick, take a bow. You’re a bloody genius.