Monday, December 23, 2013

Forgive me, Matthew Quick

The book: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick

And it's about?

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 neighbour, 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 book, acclaimed author Matthew Quick unflinchingly examines the impossible choices that must be made—and the light in us all that never goes out.

In a word, it was... Frustrating

I should have known better. I read Silver Linings Playbook and was deeply underwhelmed: so underwhelmed, in fact, that I could not even bring myself to tweet about it, let along blog about it. But I thought, hey, this new one looks good. People seem to like it. Why not?

Here's why not:

The thing I love about great novels, and indeed great novelists, is that they are fearless. They go to dark places and force us to follow into something unknown and sometimes unknowable. And we go. We could go back but onwards we push because the novel challenges us, forces us to think and allows us to feel. At the end, we are not guaranteed a happy ending or even one that makes sense but, end it must. This book has an ending and I guess it was sort of happy and even sort of made sense but I was left with a feeling that nothing really happened. My reward for attempting to wade through the half-hearted darkness was not worth the effort to read the damn book. Because this book does not have the courage to give us anything but dark-lite: it says 'it's bad but don't worry, you don't have to read about it or its implications in any detail at all. It's as bad as I suggest. I think?'. And that was not good enough for me.

I think Matthew Quick has another hit on his hands. And, lucky for him, it already reads just like a Hollywood screenplay. But I didn't want all of the lights. I just wanted something real and something fearless. This wasn't it. So never, ever again. I will not be fooled again, Jodi Picoult-style, Mathew Quick (please don't get me started on My Sister's Keeper, the blurb made it sound like hard-hitting not emotionally-manipulative). No silver linings here.

No comments:

Post a Comment