Matthew Quick is a New York Times bestselling author and one of his books-The Silver Linings Playbook- has been adapted into a film. With that said I admit that I went into this one with high expectations and as it turns out I wasn't disappointed.
From the outset we know something is going to happen. Leonard is the first person narrator of this book and we are privy to all his thoughts and his memories. Of course he doesn't reveal it all at once though we suspect something is wrong when he details how he cut of all his hair on a whim, in a very uneven manner. He then wears a hat to cover his faux pas. In a sense he is begging for attention; it is a cry for help from one who feels that here is no one he can turn to.
When he narrates his home life we begin to understand why he can't talk to someone. His mother is as self-absorbed a person as can be. She is very much into her career and seems to think that Leonard can handle himself. Leonard for his part seems closest to his neighbor Walt with whom he communicates using lines of dialogue from old Humphrey Bogart movies-very weird.
The target of Leonard's rage is a fellow student with whom Leonard has some history (to put it mildly). Through flashbacks we see how what occurred and it is a very sad situation all around. One of the few adults that Leonard does admire is a teacher he calls Herr Silverman, one of the better developed characters in this book.
I won't say much more in case I divulge more plot points but I will say that this book is definitely worth reading and discussing with students.