FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK was a compelling story that made me ache for its main character. Leonard Peacock has decided to celebrate his eighteenth birthday by killing a former friend and taking his own life too. Before he does that, he needs to give presents to four people in his life who have meant a lot to him.As his day progresses, we see him visiting his elderly next door neighbor. He and Walt have spent hours and hours watching old black-and-white Humphrey Bogart movies. Leonard longs for the black-and-white life that looks so much better than the life he is living. He also has a present for Baback. They aren't friends but Leonard has spent countless hours listening to Baback play his violin in the school auditorium. The music has moved Leonard as has Baback's story of his life in Iran. Leonard also has to give a present to Lauren who is a home-schooled Christian girl that Leonard has a crush on. Lauren has tried to convert him to Christianity but Leonard doesn't have that sort of faith.The final person that Leonard wants to give a present to is his Holocaust Studies teacher Herr Silverman. Leonard feels that Herr Silverman is the only one at school who understands him and connects with him.As the day unfolds we learn more and more about the events that have led to his decision to kill a former friend and take his own life. Leonard is an articulate narrator of his own story. Some random thoughts occurred to me as I was reading this book. First of all, parents should be required to get and maintain licenses before having children. It seems like Leonard got a particularly bad set of selfish, irresponsible ones. Both parents have abandoned him. His one-hit-wonder rock star dad who fell in love with drugs and alcohol before running away to Brazil isn't really much worse than his fashion-obsessed mother who is so busy with her career in New York City and her French lover that Leonard isn't even on her radar. Even when told how unhappy Leonard is, she won't get him help for fear of how it would reflect on her. Second, there are people at his school who care besides Herr Silverman. His AP English teacher and the Guidance Counselor at the school are trying to help. Leonard is able to fool them with his "Hollywood face" though and they didn't push.This story of a young man abused, neglected, and pushed to his limits will linger in my mind for a long time.