Matthew Quick is a brilliant author. I stumbled onto The Silver Linings Playbook 6 years ago (haven’t seen the film, but was very excited when I heard they were making it), which is before the time when mental health became such a huge part of my life. Even then, I remember being struck by how he captured the mind of someone experiencing such difficulties, and now I am in awe of his depictions.
I’ll start by saying this: Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock hurts. It’s almost agony at points, and I cringed away during sections. It shows just how damaged the mind can get, of the pain that one person, one young person can hold inside them. It’s about how we can fail other people. How we can brush things aside, and ignore them because we just don’t want to know. We don’t like talking about mental illness. We don’t like saying the word suicide, let alone contemplating that someone close to us might feel they want to end their life. It’s impossible to think about but it happens, all too frequently. Leonard asks:
“What type of mother ignores so many warning signs?”
Leonard’s mother comes off terribly in this book, but it’s written from Leonard’s perspective. Despite the unreliable narration though, he feels she’s failed. Of everyone that he wants to notice his warning signs, it’s his mother; the one person who just can’t handle it and will never notice. Which is one of the reasons why this book hurts as much as it does.
It’s finally about trying to save someone. About people who do see the warning signs and try to help, in their own ways. And those people who will risk all they have to help, to understand and to listen; through everything.
This is an excellent book, but it’s a painful read. As long as you’re prepared for that, pick up a copy and read. It’s worth it.