Leonard Peacock is turning 18.
And he wants to say goodbye.
Not to his former best friend, whose torments have driven him to consider committing something tragic and horrific.
Nor to his mum who’s moved out and left him to fend form himself. But to his four friends.
A Humphrey-Bogart-obsessed neighbour
A teenage violin virtuoso
A pastor’s daughter
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 bid them farewell.
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This book is intense, and because of the content, definitely won’t be for everyone. The opening chapters had me feeling like I had a dementor hovering in the corner of my room. For obvious reasons. The protagonist is an eighteen year old who is planning to murder one of his classmates, before killing himself. And all of this on his own birthday. It is really dark, but it’s also Matthew Quick and because of that, it is so well written that I couldn’t put it down.
So yes, it’s intense and there are times when Leonard’s internal monologue comes off more than a little Patrick Bateman-esque, but what was most amazing about this book is current of hope that runs throughout – and at times, completely takes over from the darker subject matter. All through the first half Leonard is silently hoping someone will piece together the clues he’s been leaving and will talk to him, stop him, reach out to him or even just tell him Happy Birthday. The flashbacks of his four friends also show light in Leonard’s life, and most of all, the heartbreaking “Letters from the Future”. Seriously. Heartbreaking.
I loved the writing, Leonard’s relationship with Walt (his neighbour) with whom he quotes Humphry Bogart films, and I feel like I learned a lot from reading it. I had no idea how this story was going to turn out, and to be honest, there were times when I was dreading finding out. But I think this should be required reading. Highly recommend.