It is no secret that Jodi Picoult is one of my favorite authors. When she releases a new book, I rush to buy it from the store or borrow it from the library. I love how she sucks you into the world she creates and creates characters that you can love. Normally, I adore her books, but Nineteen Minutes is near the bottom of my favorite novels of hers.
Nineteen Minutes was a surprise to me as it deals with a very taboo subject: a high school massacre by a student of the school. I think the best aspect of this book is that she takes us deep into the mind of the shooter, Peter Houghton. He has been bullied since the first day of kindergarten. Peter is pushed beyond his limits day in and day out by the popular kids and jocks. He spends his day at school dodging their antics and cheap shots then spends his nights at home glued to his computer. I think we are all familiar with the typical stereotype of “the nerd” as Picoult writes Peter to be. His answer to the police when asked why he did the rampage is haunting: “They started it.” But should bullying lead to murder?
I really liked how Picoult wrote this story from many point of views even though this seems to be a downfall of the story as well. The first 50 pages confused me slightly as I was trying to figure out who was who and how they related to each other. Picoult also jumps around in time to deliver the back story that is needed to understand the 2 main characters of this story. This is definitely a novel that needs your full attention until the middle to really grasp what is going on and why. We see the story from Peter's view, from his parents, his old best friend Josie who claims she doesn't remember anything from the shooting, and we even see into Josie's mom view.
The twist at the end of the story, in my opinion, really wasn’t necessary. I think Picoult went a little overboard for shock value. It left me saying “why did she write this into the story?” The depth of the characters of this story is definitely a great example of how a writer can draw the reader into the story! While this was not one of my top Picoult favorites, I do commend her for tackling the subject of bullying that parents and children alike deal with every day.
Here is an awesome book trailer done by Jodi herself:
Disclosuser Statement: This book was borrowed from the Cincinnati Hamilton County Library