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In addition to the P-38, there are four gifts, one for each of my friends. I want to say good-bye to them properly. I want to give them each something to remember me by. To let them know I really cared about them and I'm sorry I couldn't be more than I was - that I couldn't stick around - and that what's going to happen today isn't their fault.
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.
But 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.
In this riveting audiobook, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made - and the light in us all that never goes out.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By L. Gutman on 08-14-13
Required reading for humans
This is a beautiful, gut-wrenching book. It's wonderfully written and very well performed. It's a first person narrative, and so successfully performed that I have no trouble believing that I've been listening to Leonard Peacock himself reading his story, backed up by the other characters who speak through him.
First, the story: I've never read anything by Matthew Quick before. In fact, I wouldn't normally even try a story about a suicidal (and possibly homicidal) teenager. But Quick's writing is full of honesty, clarity, poetry and humanity, and the character of Leonard is so well drawn and interesting that I found myself not wanting him to kill himself because the world needs people like Leonard Peacock in it; and I want to meet Leonard and know him.
And now I'm wondering if the paragraph I just wrote will look good in my college application. (Read the book and you'll know why I said that.)
Because just for the record ... and for my college application ... I wouldn't have wanted him to commit suicide even if he was a spectacularly unlikeable person.
Everything in the story is emotionally real, for good and ill. Quick is obviously an insightful and empathetic observer of people. His writing is full of compassion, but never glides over the messy bits, even when part of me wanted him to.
Second, the narration: Just absolutely perfect. The different voices are distinguished nicely, with each character (male and female) given distinctiveness and believability but without sounding forced or like caricatures. But mostly, the voice is Leonard's, and it's completely believable and good to listen to. Even if Noah Galvin is a middle-aged, cigar-chomping rodeo announcer in real life, to me he will forever be a teenage boy from New Jersey.
Finally, the recommendation: Read the book (well, listen to the book). You'll laugh. You'll cry. You may have to stop to write down a few words and phrases (I did), or to look up a few historical facts (Walt Disney was a Nazi sympathizer, who knew?) And if you're paying any attention at all to what's going on in Leonard's head, you'll be a better person when you're done.
Oh, and you may feel the urge to watch Casablanca a few times as well.
42 of 43 people found this review helpful
By AudioAddict on 01-29-15
Difficult ... Beautiful ... Raw
STORY (teenage fiction) - Leonard Peacock plans to shoot himself today, after he says goodbye to four people who are very important to him. You will be "in the head" of this troubled teen as he goes to school that last day, his 18th birthday, with a gun in his backpack. You will learn what's important to him and what isn't, who he loves and who he hates, and ultimately why he's planning to take his own life. Throughout the day Leonard (who's very intelligent) talks about Hamlet, Humphrey Bogart, the Holocaust, atheism, his first kiss, same-sex relations and why he wants to shoot his ex-best friend before turning the gun on himself.
This book was beautifully written. You will feel sorry for Leonard, but at the same time you will root for him to see and embrace his own strengths. The day you spend inside Leonard's head is not overdramatized or predictable. To the contrary, it feels very real. (The author gives credit to multiple mental health professionals who reviewed the book for authenticity). In the end the message is clear: Never lose sight of the light. Things will get better!
PERFORMANCE - I don't know how old this narrator was, but he did a great job of performing the complex feelings and emotions of 18-year-old Leonard Peacock. Other characters were performed equally as well.
OVERALL - I'd recommend this book to all males/females high school age and older. Teachers, parents, students, kids who are picked on or depressed, class bullies -- there's something for everyone to learn here. Some sexual situations are described, and there is some cursing.
9 of 9 people found this review helpful