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Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, Matthew Quick
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, August 2013
Reviewed from ARC

True confession: I had never heard of Matthew Quick until Silver Linings Playbook became an Oscar contender last fall, but then Sophie reviewed Boy 21 for the blog, and then in true Baader-Meinhof fashion, the ARC for Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock showed up on Karyn’s desk. This was probably less a case of Baader-Meinhof and more that Matthew Quick really was (and continues to be) having a moment. Which means I approached Leonard Peacock with a mixture of curiosity and tempered expectations because I’m always skeptical of anyone who’s “having a moment.”

Well, there is a lot of Printz-worthy stuff going on here. Thematically rich, ambitious in voice and style, this novel absolutely deserves to be a contender. But does it hold up to a close reading?

Written in first person present, the titular Leonard Peacock is THE driving force of the novel. We’re in his head, living every moment of what he intends to be his last day on earth. It’s a difficult place to be, an uncomfortable place, filled with pain and anger. But it’s compelling because he has depth and nuance. Homicidal and suicidal, Leonard impulsively cuts his long hair and leaves the clippings in his refrigerator, actions that are clearly indicative of unstable behavior. However, Leonard demonstrates that’s he’s capable of empathy: in his relationship with his neighbor Walt, in the way he speculates about his favorite teacher’s private life, and even in his failed attempt to apologize to his English teacher after they argue. This is no “case-of-the-week” psychopath; Leonard is fascinating.

His troubled past, which unfolds over the course of the book, leaves a trail of the themes at work in the text. My snap judgment after reading was that abuse, neglect, depression, suicide, and murder are explored at length, but perhaps without too much depth. I think this is partially because we see these issues exclusively through Leonard, and Quick’s focus is on developing him as a character and building his story. Leonard’s depression is profound and clearly the result of the abuse and neglect he’s endured, but how much more is there to say about this? There is a latent commentary on the stigmatization of boys who are victims of sexual abuse, but without enough information about the other characters involved at the time the abuse was occurring, it’s hard to make any definitive conclusions.

But this is not a thematically shallow book, it’s just that the ostensible themes are not actually the richest and most meaningful in the text.

As I was re-reading and gathering my notes for this review, it struck me that duality comes up again and again. Matthew Quick actually lays out the thesis: “…Herr Silverman says we all double in some ways. And everyone in the class knows exactly what he’s talking about, even if they pretend they don’t.” I have mixed feelings about authors speaking through the narrator to “explain” the main idea, but I think it works here because Leonard’s an unreliable narrator whose comments initially read as complaints against his peers.

Having dual aspects of one’s identity is very present in many of the characters. Herr Silverman tries to explain to Leonard that his identity as an educator and as a gay man can’t co-exist at school. Walt and Leonard speak to each other in Humphrey Bogart movie quotes, each taking on Bogie’s persona to communicate. Asher has the public persona of “cool kid,” but he is also dealing with private pain. Quick says that everyone is like this in some way, he demonstrates it, and this concept is the core of Leonard’s character. One part of Leonard wants to take revenge on his abuser and end his own life; the other part is trying to dream a life beyond his pain.

But now, I have to talk about the letters.

Okay, this is a major spoiler but it would be pretty hard to discuss this book at all without major spoilers so you’ve been warned.

Who else was disappointed when it turns out that those letters aren’t actually from the future? The first one appears early on in the narrative, and perhaps I’m biased because I read and watch sci-fi, but I was genuinely excited that the story had taken on an entirely different dimension. The letters put an interesting demand on the writing, because if they are real they assume a positive outcome of the story, shifting the narrative tension from “will Leonard kill Asher Beal and himself?” to “how will Leonard save himself from committing murder and suicide?” The latter is a fascinating question, one that I was excited to explore through the text.

And then, ugh. Nearly halfway through the book, after three letters, the sci-fi bubble is burst when Herr Silverman asks Leonard if he wrote the letters from the future. Goodbye nuclear holocaust and time travel (because how else would the letters from the future reach Leonard?) and hello writing exercise meant to save a troubled boy. It’s a lovely idea, really it is, but it was the real-world equivalent of Harry being pulled out of the pensieve.

Putting my personal disappointment aside—because we have to critique the book that exists, not the book as I would have preferred it—the letters demonstrate that Leonard has another side of him that is trying very hard to transcend his deep pain. What’s done so beautifully is that Leonard’s imagined future scenario mirrors his hopes for his present: he will survive a horrific situation and become a better person, one worthy and capable of love. To be able to write from the perspective of people from his dream future, he must have the capacity to hope and he shows that he has it.

There are some warts on this frog though. Not all of the characters are well-crafted. In fact, most are caricatures: Lauren and Linda stand out as particularly ridiculous (and doesn’t that seem problematic as these are two major female characters in the novel?). I also wasn’t thrilled about the footnotes. From a design perspective, they  were really well laid out to be as unobtrusive as possible, but they represent such a deliberate structural choice, and I found it hard to believe that Leonard’s thoughts are so organized.

Despite the flaws, I think Leonard Peacock is among this year’s best, and it’s certainly one of the stronger contenders. I’m really curious to hear from all of you about this one though, because I have feeling it will also be one of this year’s most divisive titles.

About Joy Piedmont

Joy Piedmont is a librarian and technology integrator at LREI - Little Red School House & Elisabeth Irwin High School. Prior to becoming a librarian, Joy reviewed and reported for Entertainment Weekly’s PopWatch. She reviews for SLJ and is the President of the Hudson Valley Library Association. When she’s not reading or writing about YA literature, she’s compulsively consuming culture of all kinds, learning to fly (on a trapeze), and taking naps with her cat, Oliver. Find her on Twitter @InquiringJoy, email her at joy dot piedmont at gmail dot com, or follow her on Tumblr. Her opinions do not reflect the attitudes or opinions of SLJ, LREI, HVLA or any other initialisms with which she is affiliated.


  1. I read this book several months ago, and not everything about it is very clear in my mind, so forgive me if I’m a bit vague. Mostly my reaction was disappointment. I think Quick is a fine writer of prose, and I admire his willingness to take on tough issues, but I just don’t think he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to mental health (for the record, I feel the same way about Boy21 and Silver Linings).

    Now, this is super anecdotal, and I know there’s someone out there who will say “Leonard Peacock is me!” but I have worked with, been friends with, and been relatives with literally thousands of people with severe mental health diagnoses, and practically nothing about Leonard’s voice rang true to me as an account of depression and PTSD.

    Beyond that, I found the plot pretty creaky. The four goodbyes and all four people saying to Leonard some version of “why today . . . ?” The big reveal of Leonard’s rape seemed like it was withheld from readers for Quick’s purposes rather than Leonard’s.

    I realize I’m being overly harsh – I actually gave the book 4 stars on Goodreads. As I said, Quick’s prose is great, it was a quick read, and it kept me very interested. I just don’t see it as anywhere near the top of this year’s pile.

    • Joy Piedmont says

      Thanks for sharing your take on Leonard’s voice, Mark, because I think it’s an important part of assessing accuracy in a novel like this.

      I didn’t even talk about accuracy in my review because I felt like in a novel that is essentially a character study, I didn’t feel qualified to assess how “true” the character or situation is; I just know that it worked for me because I saw depth and nuance.

      But this raises a great question: when three points of the Printz criteria (voice, character, accuracy) depend upon whether or not you buy the narrator, how do you assess this? Mark’s got personal experience to call upon, but sometimes I just don’t buy a narrator because they feel or sound wrong, but I can’t put my finger on exactly why. I’m interested to know if anyone who does feel that they can assess accuracy based on personal experience related to, or recognized Leonard’s voice.

      • Indeed – there’s nothing more maddening than trying to explain why you didn’t like a book and having to say that it or a character just didn’t “feel right”. And as I say, even with personal experience like my own, there’s bound to be someone else with different experience for whom it *does* feel right. A very hard question.

      • I was nodding all through Mark’s comment–I feel like Quick is consistently a writer that I want to like much more than I actually do. (Which is my baggage, but also definitely borne out for this book.) Plot wise, the central conceit is interesting, but then it gets bogged down with a lot of other details, which leaves Asher as actually one of the most unrealized characters in the whole thing. I felt like technically there were way too many things going on–the framing narrative of the four gifts and the four goodbyes, the letters from the future, the footnotes, the semi-poetic shifting of text during key moments. One or two of those, well developed, would have served the story a lot better.

        Leonard is definitely a compelling character, and I really struggled with how much to believe him and his view of the people around him. I hated the characterization of the women in the story, which I’m sure was done deliberately–that is, I’m not ascribing Leonard’s view to Quick–but which ultimately read as very ugly to me. (I have just started September Girls, so I’m interested to see if that strikes me the same way.) I really did not like and did not believe the depiction of Lauren, not so much as woman, but as a Christian. (Full disclosure: I’m a practicing Christian.) It was all a mass of stereotypes, which didn’t make sense–the likelihood of a Christian family who homeschools for the reason stated* allowing their daughter to wear anything with spaghetti straps at all, let alone to church is just downright implausible. Unless, Leonard is making up some or all of that–but that would suggest a level of unreliability on his part that I didn’t really see. So, more baggage on my part, but also something that completely jerked me out of the story and had me writing furious notes.

        * Homeschoolers=fundamentalist Christians is also a huge blunder in my book, but it’s pervasive enough that I took a deep breath and moved on.

        Basically, all of that to say I definitely struggled with how much of my emotional reaction was being in Leonard’s head and not liking what I saw there, versus how much was sloppy depictions. I’m still not sure, but enough of the rest of the book didn’t work for me that, in and of itself, that aspect wasn’t so huge. (Now that I’ve talked about it for three paragraphs.)

        I was also interested in the way that Leonard seems to focus his attention in the Holocaust Class, and his related thoughts, on the Nazis–why they did what they did, how they felt about it, the double lives–rather than on their victims. I can see what Quick was going for, that line in every human heart that divides good and evil, to misquote Solzhenitsyn, which seems to be the truth that Leonard sees and his classmates apparently don’t. But, maybe since I’ve read too many Holocaust memoirs, this sympathising with the instigators rather than the victims was more than a little disturbing–as, again, I suspect it was meant to be. I suppose my question is whether that meaning works or not. I don’t quite have an answer.

        So those are my thoughts for the book: gutsy, takes on big topics, but is also fairly flawed. I realize I’ve said almost nothing about what did work, but I think a lot of it comes down to whether you buy Leonard as a character or not. (I was super wordy! Sorry about that–I just read this one and clearly had a lot to say about it.)

        As far as the “Feeling right” goes, it is definitely a hard thing to parse out, especially when it involves so many unconscious reactions that can be almost impossible to talk about coherently. At the risk of sounding sort of precious, I think the biggest antidote can be looking honestly at a differing opinion and trying to sort out what that person is seeing that you’re not, and whether you think it’s a mis-reading, or something that you didn’t get. (I’m using you here generally and including myself in it.)

        • Joy Piedmont says

          I agree with you about the characters, Maureen. They’re all very shallow because they’re seen through Leonard’s perspective, only getting a more neutral view of them through their dialogue which is often wooden and clichéd. (I’m assuming that the first person present narration means we’re in his head in the moment, rather than getting a memory). Herr Silverman’s particularly guilty of this. He’s the typical “teacher who makes a difference” with nothing else to make him a real human. Even his personal history that he shares with Leonard seems unoriginal, making him a dull character. It’s a major flaw, but I still buy Leonard as a character so I can’t completely mark “character” as a failure when I go down my Printz guideline checklist.

    • Yeah, thanks for all your opinions I guess, and yeah, the book is imperfect, kinda like people. So I guess it makes sense for you to dwell on that fact rather than any actual point of the book. It obviously wasn’t written for critics. Ubermorons as someone might put it. Because I can tell you from my perspective, as a suicidal highschooler, I relate to Leanord’s voice more than any book character or actual person I’ve ever understood. I read a lot. I probably don’t know enough people. And that’s why I feel I can tell you I love this book and it has helped me, so much, and my view is more weighty than any official language you can pull out of your cured little meat brains. Even though mine may be rotting. Love this book. You have been silenced as I close this review and never return.

  2. Karyn Silverman says

    Crumbs. I just wrote a reply at least as long as Maureen’s and the computer ate it.
    Short version:

    I didn’t buy the letters because I just didn’t believe Leonard as he is in the text could have written them; they take the long view and are rooted in someone who has gotten past the trauma. Plus I too thought they were a science fiction element and they confused me for a while. Also I felt that the book cheated in that all of the emotional catharsis (at least for me as a reader) happened through a fictional construct within the novel and not through the actual character of Leonard and his journey.

    The adults — the absurb tv trope/ripped from the CW dad (see: Captain Archibald; Richard Casablancas); the caricature mom who doesn’t make sense (either Linda shouldn’t show up at all or she should be slightly more present than Leonard’s version when she does appear, otherwise why is she there?) — were they played for laughs? Outsized to make a point? These are details that distracted me because they didn’t seem entirely in keeping with the book; Leonard is darkly funny, sure, but that’s his voice; these are “funny” (absurd) elements outside of his experience.

    In the end, it’s too self-consciously a book, something that in a third person narrative might have me defending it strongly as a Printz candidate but in a first person narrative is way too much authorial intrusion into the character.

    All of that said, there was an emotional response as I read and I think there’s a reason people love this book and a reason (or 5) we should be getting it into teen hands. I just can’t see it going the distance if all we’re looking at is the literariness.

  3. Elizabeth Burns says

    I loved this book! Will it stand up as a contender, though? Is it even one of my top five for the year?

    Scattered thoughts: Leonard’s view is skewed. Deeply. Do I believe that the Christian girl is such a Duggars meets Stargirl stereotype? No; I believe this is how Leonard sees her and wants to see her. Just as I don’t believe that all his classmates are ignorant sheep, etc. So one thing I like about this book is its willingness to have Leonard’s biased and subjective views be the only view. for example, his parents who appear to have abandoned him — when his mother returns, she is very “what now, like the last time…” and the last time isn’t mentioned, but it did make me wonder if there was a last time and how much Leonard is or isn’t telling us.

    I also wondered what, indeed, Leonard’s diagnosis would be because the text shows that his being “apart” and lonely wasn’t recent: it’s not his parents, it’s not Asher. (“I was already weird back then, and people were starting to notice more and more”). His letters from the future (his happy place of the world dead except for his isolated lighthouse) reminded me of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, and that narrator’s dream of a world where nearly every one is dead — is Leonard somewhere on the spectrum, and does that explain, also, his inability to connect with others?

    My personal problem with the book is the lack of Leonard getting any type of help after the end of the book, to indicate any type of real-world or real-life way for Leonard to get out of his current pattern of isolation and rage. While I don’t want “and then the therapist solved all the problems!” band aid, I wanted something more than “and one person saw him as a person” because I don’t think that is enough. I’m not convinced that much has changed for Leonard by the end — and is that really the book’s issue? Or is it more about me and what I want from a book?

    As an aside — a terrific look at depression, PTSD, and good therapists is SEX & VIOLENCE.

    • Joy Piedmont says

      Yes! That ending is so ambiguous, right?

      I too felt like in the end, Herr Silverman has really made little difference. As long as Leonard doesn’t have support at home, he will remain in his fragile state. However, that letter that ends the book; if we assume that it’s written after pancakes morning, then perhaps some of Herr Silverman’s message got through? In the letter, his imagined daughter says, “keep weeding” and encourages him to hold on, so can we infer that he’s still conflicted but maybe the hopeful side is a little more hopeful?

      Or we can take Karyn’s view that the letters are cognitively and emotionally dissonant with Leonard’s current state of mind, and therefore, it’s all invalid.

      I’m somewhere in the middle. Perhaps I see so much attempted meaning, that I’m connected the dots where it’s not actually happening?

      • Elizabeth Burns says

        While I understand and appreciate one of the overall points of Leonard Peacock — that every day there are kids who may be pushed to thinking violence is the answer but do not commit violence — and I also would buy the argument that Leonard’s weapon of choice was non-lethal (while a gun, was old, perhaps not usable) — so that arguably, Leonard has a hopeful enough day and a human enough connection made that his “worst day” is over and his future will be getting better — I am having a tough time overcoming what may be my own bias that the Leonard in the book needs more help than an attitude change. I’d also say he needs more than a parent at home or friends at school. Nothing in the end suggested that Leonard would be getting any type of professional intervention, and I think that is what I would want to see.

        But that is what I would want to see – -that is my bias — so can that really be held against the book?

        • Joy Piedmont says

          A good question. One I struggle with ALL the time. Sometimes I have to remind myself that just because it (being any book, movie or tv show) isn’t what I want it to be, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s flawed. There is a lot of truly great art that leaves the reader/viewer unsatisfied—my favorite movie, Brazil is a great example of this; the ending just kills me—but sometimes discomfort is what the work requires. And yet, sometimes leaving your audience disappointed does point to a flaw in the work. So how do we tell one from the other?

          I think as Maureen has mentioned elsewhere in this thread, listening to other opinions is really valuable because you will never find two people who will have the exact same response to a book. I also think that close attention to the text is needed. If you had asked me a week ago about Leonard Peacock’s ending, I would have said that I think the ending works. But I think your points about the ending are valid, and not just your own bias. As soon as Herr Silverman comes to “save” Leonard, the book becomes less of an interesting character study and more of a “teacher saves the day” narrative, which of course would lead to an expectation of a positive resolution. The shift in tone means that it’s hard to accept the bleaker more ambiguous ending that fits with the rest of the book, but not quite as well after the potentially life-changing scenes with Herr Silverman.

    • This is in response to both Liz and Joy’s comments, just to be clear!

      Do I believe that the Christian girl is such a Duggars meets Stargirl stereotype? No; I believe this is how Leonard sees her and wants to see her. Just as I don’t believe that all his classmates are ignorant sheep, etc.

      I definitely take your point here, Liz! I do wonder–to me it seems like there’s a difference between Leonard’s perception of Lauren, which can easily be read as flawed and unreliable, and the details given (like the spaghetti strap dress) which don’t add up for me.

      And the ending! Yes, I was really confused by the way the ending of Leonard’s narration seemed to say that nothing had changed, that he might not have gone through with it this time, thanks to Herr Silverman, but that there would always be a next time. Linda would never see him. But then you add in the letter at the end, with its ambiguous timing, and I’m not sure what’s being said.

      I’m not convinced that much has changed for Leonard by the end — and is that really the book’s issue? Or is it more about me and what I want from a book?

      It’s definitely what I want from a book, which is part of my baggage. On the other hand, I have read books with open-ended or ambiguous endings and been personally frustrated while also admiring the craft of it. Here, I just felt frustrated. I think it’s partly because in the scenes with Herr Silverman, Leonard seems to be reaching towards that change–think about how different it would be if the story had ended with him leaving the apartment. But then he goes home and Linda arrives, and everything is apparently back to the way it was, previous possible changes completely lost. Although there is the scene with Walt, which I haven’t really considered.

      I realize that I’m being very critical of this title; I do agree with Karyn that there are reasons people love it. But in Printz-ly terms, I think its flaws knock it off my personal contender list.

      • Elizabeth Burns says

        I personally loved Leonard Peacock, in part because I believed in Leonard as a person, with all his flaws. The scene, where he remembers being a kid and riding that bike with Asher? It just hurts, to think of that promise, and then how it ended. And that there are kids like Leonard who think they are invisible in school — showing that invisible kid, that was powerful to me.

        But — and here’s the thing about this blog and these conversations — but what about the Printz?

        Yes, I love it; can booktalk the hell out of it; think it’s a great choice for book discussions and to create discussions; but is it Printz? And for that I have to also look at the flaws, and the total book, and separate out biases and listen to what others think. It’s why I’m glad you guys have this forum for us to hash it out!

  4. An interesting side story: this book and Evan Roskos’s DR. BIRD’S ADVICE FOR SAD POETS came about after Roskos and Quick planned a single book together with two narratives. The joint book was going to have a “don’t worry, it gets better” message and include themes of mental illness. (Roskos has experienced clinical depression and social anxiety disorder.) But something interrupted the plan and both men wrote separate books instead. I haven’t read either, but it would be fun to explore whether the two works share any lingering traits from those early discussions. (Aside from multi-syllabic titles!)

    Here’s a post where Roskos talks about his almost-collaboration with Quick.

  5. I do think that Leonard Peacock is – so far – one of the strongest 2013 publications. But it’s almost inevitable that it will be linked to another “suicide book”, if you will, that was published earlier this year, namely Gregory Galloway’s The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand. I actually think they are both great books, both possible contenders, and that both will divide the readership enormously, and not just because of their topic, also because of the way the protagonists are developed, and because of the intricate style (definitely true for Adam Strand).

    I have to admit: I was thrown off by Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock. It wasn’t because I didn’t expect a good book from Quick – because I did! It was because, despite the incredible compassion in this book (something that was also present in his two other YA books, which I think are far better than Silver Linings Playbook, his “adult” book), what stood out initially was the despair in Leonard Peacock’s young life. Usually, there’s that glimmer of hope that lifts Quick’s book from being completely despondent despite the very bad things that have happened to the main characters (like how Tiffany manages to break through to Pat in SLP or how Amber Appleton is really sorta like a rock star just by being who she is). But Forgive Me, Leonard Peocock just threw me off. I didn’t really see that glimmer of hope immediately. Leonard Peacock is depressed. Leonard Peacock wants to kill his former best friend and then commit suicide. He is intent on doing that. That’s how things are. There’s nothing that can change his mind. No, there’s no one that can change his mind. He’s gone far beyond that point already. This is the day. The day he’ll walk into his school with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.

    But then, it’s there… that spark. Leonard wants to say goodbye to the people that have done right by him in some way before killing himself. People that mean something to him: his old next-door neighbor, a boy from school who’s a wonderful musician, a weird bond with the home-schooled Christian girl Lauren, a high school teacher… Slowly the reader uncovers the events that led Leonard to his drastic decision, and it’s not a pretty history. It’s a story of neglect (by his mother), it’s a story of abuse and bullying.

    Leonard Peacock, whose voice is insistent, cocky even, is not an easy character to love: he almost intentionally scares off the readers, hellbent on proving that he’s got all the right reasons for his drastic decisions about other people’s lives and his own. And Leonard does get preachy too, enough to put off a lot of readers, I’m sure, but it works for me. I believed Leonard’s pain. It’s part of Quick’s plan to write his protagonist as real as possible. The footnotes he includes, the letters from the future with his (yes, scary) vision of the future, they all aim at establishing Leonard’s character. And Leonard is definitely a struggling protagonist: struggling with his past and his future. It should come as no surprise either then, that Leonard questions Lauren’s blind faith in religion – religion and faith has always been an important element in Quick’s writing.

    Then there’s Galloway with Adam Strand:

    Adam Strand is 16 and he has killed himself (and has actually died)… 39 times, but for some reason he never stays dead, which is the only thing he really wants: to not exist. Just like As Simple As Snow has garnered so many different responses (just check out the Goodreads page on the book), the same will be true for this one. And to be honest, I also felt a bit conflicted about it too at times. As much as I love whole parts of this book, there are also parts that made me feel indifferent about Adam Strand’s fate. Adam Strand can be such a little s**t sometimes, such an unbelievably prime example of the disease that is rampant amongst many contemporary teens – total boredom and lack of engagement, a sort of existential ennui coupled with lots of irrelevant whatevers – that it’s hard to get into the character of Adam at times — but just like for Leonard Peacock, my feelings towards Adam Strand are a consequence of the character development done by the author, Gregoray Galloway, if that makes any sense at all, …

    That being said, Galloway’s prose is also ever so descriptive, and even when he’s having Adam explain his total and utter boredom for the umpteenth time, there’s a sort of poetic quality that’s hard to overlook here. So the writing is definitely above par, a very learned kind of writing too, erudite, with definite signs of lots and lots of editing! Dense, too, which means it’s definitely not a book you’ll fly through…

    The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand is also one of those almost plotless books. There is some plot, of course, but it’s really minimal: Adam dies…like 39 times, and there’s a very significant narrative thread involving a 10-year-old girl as well, Maddy. But I think it’s almost a novel of ideas, an introspective investigation in the concept of suicide. By its very nature, this is obviously something that will alienate some people, and even have some people vehemently hate this. However, whenever Adam describes the feelings he had just before he decides to kill himself again, his whole inner emotional outburst is so incredibly powerful, so very enlightening too in trying to put the almost incomprehensible into words.

    Once more, this is the type of book that will raise a lot more questions than it actually answers (to name a really obvious one: does Adam have any ‘physical’ leftovers of his 39 suicides??). That will be yet another reason for a polarized response to it of course: people often just want things neat and with a proper sense of closure, while Galloway doesn’t make any sort of judgment, nor does he have any of the minor characters make any sort of moral judgment about what Adam does. If there’s anything at all, it’s first fascination, which later turns into indifference… which is infinitely worse than the fascination part, of course.

    Just like Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock, The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand may not be for everyone, but it is definitely compelling and thought-provoking. And I also think it’s one of the stronger releases of this year.


  1. […] Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick: A Cybils contender, as well as one that was featured on the Printz Blog. The central conceit of this one was interesting, but I thought there were way too many things […]

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