Monday, June 23, 2014

Leonard Peacock and Love Letters to the Dead

Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick follows the story of Leonard Peacock, who has plans for his 18th birthday. He plans to kill Asher Beal and then commit suicide. Leonard has always been an outcast, where Asher has always been the popular one, the jock, the one that everyone likes. Something happened when they were kids that Leonard can't forget. And he doesn't have anyone to confide in, his father is gone and his mother seems to forget that she has a son. He goes through and gives the four people he cares the most about presents, and no one seems to pick up on the signs. No one seems to care about Leonard Peacock. And he knows about it.

I don't really have anything but good things to say about this book. First, Matthew Quick is known for the way he handles mental illness in his novels, and I don't think this one is any different. The way he deals with depression, and suicide, is very realistic and believable. And he writes about it beautifully. There really are some absolutely gorgeous moments in this novel, and I just couldn't put it down. Not to mention, I think Leonard Peacock is a very complex, well-crafted character. He is relatable, and throughout the novel, you can't help but feel for him. Not to mention the footnotes. Throughout the novel, Leonard interjects his thoughts, or history about some event or person, throughout the novel. I think this was a clever way to provide background information without really bogging down the reader too much. Overall, I think this novel was well-crafted, and definitely one that I would read again.

Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira follows the story of Laurel, who falls into a school assignment of "Write a letter to someone who is dead." It becomes a sort of comfort for Laurel, who writes to people like Kurt Cobain, Amelia Earhart, Judy Garland, and River Phoenix, all people whose lives ended as abruptly as her sister's. The letters are a way for Laurel to work through her emotions as she begins high school, makes new friends, falls in love for the first time, deals with family issues, and grieves for her sister. The letters allow her to find some common ground, and eventually work through her issues. 

While I was reading this book, I couldn't help but think of The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. While it's not exactly the same story line, and doesn't deal with quite the same issues, Ava Dellaira writes with a similar quality to Chbosky. Not to mention, the novel is formatted like letters. Love Letters to the Dead is beautifully written, and Laurel is a character that a lot of teens could relate to. She deals with depression, her first love, making new friends, not wanting to be completely alone in high school. Once I got into the novel, I couldn't put it down. It was unique, and definitely one worth taking a look at. 

Next, I will be reading Legend by Marie Lu. 

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