“Today is Leonard Peacock’s birthday. It is also the day he will kill his former best friend, and then himself, with his grandfather’s P-38 pistol.
Maybe one day he’ll believe that being different is okay, important even.
But not today.”
It gets better. I mean the book. It starts out a little slow, but as you keep reading, it gets better. And then it hits you in the gut.
I’m not ashamed to admit that I was crying in the middle of Starbucks (literally, in the middle of the store) while reading this book. I guess you can say that Leonard Peacock speaks to me. Well, the subject matter at least.
No, I’m not suicidal. I think I need to write that down first. I’ve never been. I’m not well-adjusted. Not even a little bit. But, and I think I’ve written this down before, I’m way too much of a coward to even think about offing myself. And I’m way too paranoid that things would go wrong in the process, that I wouldn’t die and would have to live with a deformity for the rest of my life. I’m not kidding.
And I know I can’t dictate, but suicidal people should keep that in mind. Things can go wrong. And then what?
But, going back to the novel, Leonard Peacock isn’t suicidal either. At least, he isn’t to me. He’s a man with a plan: kill his former best friend, and then himself. He’s just trying to keep things in order.
Before you write me off as sick and deranged, I do not condone what Leonard Peacock is attempting to do. Killing is wrong. But reading Leonard’s life, you can’t blame the guy for what he wants to do.
It’s not easy to live a life without parents. Parents are supposed to be your guides, the beacon in this big world we live in. When they’re absent, whether mentally or physically, we get lost. And although a lot of us make it out okay in the end, many would lose hope. Many would turn out the way Leonard does.
But that reality by itself doesn’t make a good book. Why the novel worked for me was because author Matthew Quick didn’t pretend that things will get better. Which is ironic, seeing as how the book got better the more real it became.
Things don’t get better, but we become stronger. We work on becoming stronger. And I like how Quick has a character who imparts this. Who actually spells it out. I like how the novel doesn’t end with an ending wrapped up nicely with a bow. I feel like this is something more books should do: be real.
I know that books are supposed to be an escape. But there are times when books give us too much unreal expectations in life that we keep holding out for something better. That forces us to live more in books instead of outside in the real world. And while I’m all for more reading, I don’t want it to be at the expense of an actual life being lived.
It helps when there are novels like this that exist. Novels that remind us that if we want a good life, we have to work for it. That we have to work hard for it. That we have to get back to it.
And I think this whole post got away from me.