Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock. By Matthew Quick. Read by Noah Galvin. Hachette Audio, 2013. 6 hours 14 minutes.
It’s Leonard Peacock’s birthday and so far, no one has remembered. He has presents for four people: a neighbor, a classmate, a evangelical girl he met outside the train station, and his favorite teacher, Herr Silverman, who teaches a class on the Holocaust. His mother is out of town and could care less, and his former best friend has betrayed him. Leonard is turning eighteen and his birthday present to himself is a bullet from the Nazi pistol his grandfather took as a souvenir from the war.
This character-driven novel by the author of The Silver Linings Playbook, with a teenage protagonist who is melancholy, intelligent, and deep into introspection, is reminiscent of Salinger’s classic Catcher in the Rye, but in modern times. Delving into issues beyond depression and into sexual abuse and parental neglect, both Quick’s writing and Noah Galvin’s reading give Leonard a somber yet approachable voice, sarcastic and deadpan at times in a way which hints at his larger pain. A great read for teens and those who love straight talk and a dark tone with a sober yet not tragic end.