I never read The Silver Linings Playbook, but I did see the movie and liked it. But now, having read Matthew Quick’s more recent book, I’m wondering…do all of his books have to do with young people and mental illness? I’m just curious.
Leonard Peacock is a high school senior with a somewhat strange family life. His father was a huge one-hit wonder back in the 80s, but has since disappeared to somewhere in South America in order to evade the IRS. He is also an alcoholic and drug addict, and all around irresponsible adult. Leonard’s mom is a former model, and now a fashion designer who lives in New York City. She tries to visit Leonard on the weekends sometimes, but often forgets. Leonard lives alone in his suburban Philadelphia home, trying his best to figure out life.
He’s not doing a very good job.
As the book starts off, on the morning of Leonard’s 18th birthday, Leonard is packing his backpack for school. Not with books, but with a gun he can use to kill his former best friends, and then himself.
As the story goes on, we learn all about Leonard and his former friend Asher. We also meet Leonard’s other “friends” — including the one teacher Leonard trusts and respects, and the elderly neighbor that Leonard spends a lot of time watching old Bogart movies with.
No doubt at all that Matthew Quick is a great writer. But something about this book just rubbed me the wrong way. I think my major problem was reading it as a parent and being constantly furious at Leonard’s parents — his mother, in particular — and not being able to get past their absence. However, there were many parts where Quick’s brilliance got the best of me. Leonard writes himself letters from the future, in order to try and convince himself that his life will indeed be better someday. I loved these parts, and almost wish the entire book had been written as such.
I’m curious about Quick’s other works, and will probably give him another try…just not anytime soon.