Wednesday, May 6, 2009

BOOK: Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult, 455 pages

celebrate the author

Good compelling story about a school shooting. So it's yucky in many ways. At the staff meeting yesterday, we were reminded to get the tape on the floor of our classrooms to mark off the safe area in case of a lock down. In some ways, this was a difficult read. What can I do? What's happened to that kid in his/her life before I've met them? Scary stuff to be thinking about.

The story itself? Well done, very suspenseful as Picoult writes in two simultaneous stories - the before and after the shooting. I liked this back and forth in time, seeing what happened to lead to this point. We see Peter, the shooter and his battles to fit in and deal with the bullying; Josie, his childhood friend, who breaks the barrier and becomes part of the popular crowd; Alex, Josie's mom, a judge and distant mother. We see the other students and Peter's parents - a midwife and an economics professor. Sometimes Picoult seems to be trying to cover too much stuff - bullying, gun control, social strata in schools, the economics of happiness, homosexuality, family dynamics, the trial, an abusive boyfriend. Maybe this is to put the shooting in some context, as it doesn't appear out of nowhere.

I wasn't a fan of Alex and Josie and thought they were much more dysfunctional than Peter and his family. So why did Peter and not Josie react the way he did? I thought the behaviour of the 'cool crowd' was over the top for a high school. The story was good, but predictable, and provides a balanced look into many aspects and issues that could be involved in a school shooting. I prefer the other two books I've read on this subject, but I would include it as a trilogy on this topic:

1. Hey Nostradamus! by Douglas Coupland B.R. ( before reviewing, but it was one of my favorite books in 2007)
2, We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shiver
3. Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (here's a review by caribousmom)

This book is my read for May to celebrate the author, as Jodi Picoult has a birthday May 19, 1966.


  1. Glad to see that you thought this was a good read. I have it and We Need to Talk About Kevin on my TBR Shelf. Can't wait to get to both of them. Ahhh, too many books!

  2. I still haven't read Nineteen Minutes. No surprise there! I have read Douglas Coupland's book, though, and agree that it was a really good book!

  3. this book was awesome!! It put you in the mind of a kid who goes shooting in a school. Even though I think it is a tragedy and really wrong it makes you understand their point of view.

  4. I just received this book in the mail from a giveaway. I am excited to read it! I loved My Sister's Keeper.

  5. I read this book last year. I love Picoult, although this certainly wasn't one of my favorites. I think the main reason I really like her writing is that she goes at things from all different angles. You get to see mutiple points of view. I like that.

    I haven't read the other two books. With kids in school, this is one of those subjects that I'd just like to forget about. I'm all about burying my head in the sand!

  6. This book sounds good. I've read several other books by Jodi Picoult - the most recent one was My Sister's Keeper which I really enjoyed - but I have never gotten around to reading this one yet. Thanks for the review.

  7. I thought this was a pretty good book too but I thought We need to Talk about Kevin was even better!! Great post!

  8. Wow...I want to read all three of those! I've never read any of Picoult's books, but I do own this sounds like one I'd definitely enjoy.

  9. I read this one and liked it but didn't love it. I had some problems with the ending and Alex and Josie's relationship as well. Still a scary book though and not an easy read.

  10. I just said to another blogger, I need to make some time this summer for Jodi Picoult reading. They all sound great. I've only read The Tenth Circle so far.


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