Okay, so I cheated.
Gracie’s Literary Stylings came creeping on little cat feet and surprised the dickens out of me – Has it already been a month since my last official participation? – and like most surprises do, it caught me completely unprepared.
As I scrolled through my Goodreads entries, I realized that I’ve been primarily focused on fantasy/sword and sorcery novels in the month of March, and as much as it would’ve been fun cosplaying, I just don’t have the creative juices to tie in a Tolkein-esque outfit with any of my other linkup challenges. Maybe if you’d caught me pre-Spring Break Can’t Come Soon Enough, I could’ve done it. But as it stood, I couldn’t even muster the energy to entertain the thought.
So rather than ransacking my brain and/or my closet, I took the cheater’s way out, drove the 30 miles to my favorite public library and snatched some YA fiction off the New Releases shelves in the hopes that one of them would elicit some sort of inspiration. Of course, some would say my way isn’t cheating at all – is actually the harder road since it requires me to read something entirely new in the span of mere hours before March turns into April.
But I didn’t graduate CAL an English major for nothing.
Enter Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick, stage right.
The only reason I picked it up was because the book jacket mentioned that the author was the same one who’d penned Silver Linings Playbook. I’ve not read that book but I saw and enjoyed (?) – can one truly say they enjoy a movie about bipolar disorder? – the movie, so I decided to give Peacock a chance. The title was intriguing, at the very least.
I thought I found my quote pretty early on in the book – page 46 of 273, to be exact – and I’ll share it with you eventually. What I wasn’t prepared for was the roller coaster I’d ride for the remaining 200+ pages and the two and a half hours it took me to finish reading.
This book is gut-twisting, immensely disturbing, wickedly caustic, seemingly predictable then dizzyingly unpredictable, and deftly manipulative. I was repulsed and fascinated, sometimes alternately after chapters but often concurrently. I sped through this book simply because I had to know how it ended. If I may be granted a bit of presumption, I’d hazard an opinion that this could possibly be this generation’s Catcher in the Rye. Leonard Peacock can certainly hold his own against Holden Caulfield in terms of acerbic judgments of the world and the people who infest it.
Read it at your discretion. There’s a disaffected teen, a gun, a planned murder/suicide, and homosexual themes. Some critics say it’s got everything and the kitchen sink which makes it feel sensationalist and emotionally unscrupulous. I say it’s an unflinching narrative about what a lot of kids feel is their only recourse, especially after Columbine.
Dark themes indeed.
Before I turn you off entirely, however, I have to say that the last chapter, although definitely obscure, is ultimately redemptive if you think about it long enough. And now I share with you the quote on page 46.
Do something you love today. Ride a roller coaster. Swim in the ocean naked. Got to the airport and get on the next flight to anywhere just for the fun of it. Maybe stop a spinning globe with your finger and then plan a trip to that very spot…Eat some type of ethnic food you’ve never heard of. Stop a stranger and ask her to explain her greatest fears and her secret hopes and aspirations in detail and then tell her you care because she is a human being.Sit down on the sidewalk and make pictures with colorful chalk. Close your eyes and try to see the world with your nose…Catch up on your sleep. Call an old friend you haven’t seen in years. Roll up your pant legs and walk into the sea. See a foreging film. Feed squirrels. Do anything! Something! Because you start a revolution one decision at a time, with each breath you take.
And when I choose to throw on a houndstooth dress, a statement necklace and a dramatic hat just to teach English to a bunch of disinterested sixteen-year-olds, that’s my personal revolution.
:: Just the facts, ma’am ::
Dress – H&M
Hat – eBay
Necklace – eBay
Pumps – Janine @ Payless