Monday, April 20, 2009

Nineteen Minutes

"In nineteen minutes, you can mow the front lawn, color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game. In nineteen minutes, you can bake scones or get a tooth filled by a dentist; you can fold laundry for a family of five.... In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world, or you can just jump off it. In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge."

And so begins the novel, Nineteen Minutes, by Jodi Picoult. I've only read one other book by Picoult. I read The Pact back when I was working a part-time job at Barnes & Noble when I first moved to Minneapolis. Picoult was an author that one of the managers recommended. While I enjoyed The Pact, I wasn't totally sold on Picoult's writing. This book, however, has changed my mind about Picoult. I thought it was really well-written and was such a page turner.

The book is about a school shooting that happens in a small town in New Hampshire. The shooter, Peter Houghton, was bullied while growing up. After years of torment, he decides to seek revenge. He comes to school, armed with many weapons, and kills 10 of his classmates.

The book was really interesting. It gave you a glimpse into the life of the shooter - throughout the book Picoult flashes back to various moments in Peter's life when he was alienated and bullied by his classmates. The bullying in no way excused Peter's terrible actions, but it definitely makes you think about bullying and how it should be handled in schools. My cousin is a school counselor & is reading this right now so I can't wait to talk to her about it & see what she thinks.

Today marks the 10th Anniversary of the Columbine shootings, so I figured today was a good day to review this book - I just finished it on Friday and didn't even realize how close I was to the date of the Columbine shooting. I still vividly remember that day - it was spring of my senior year and I was just months from graduating. The 2 shooters killed 12 students and 1 teacher before turning the guns on themselves. I think Columbine really woke up the nation and changed the sense of safety that students & teachers felt in a school.

This book is not light reading since it deals with a heavy subject, but I would recommend it.


Jess said...

I really like Picoult, though most of her books are incredibly depressing. I haven't read 19 Minutes yet, but I've heard nothing but good things about it.

Hard to believe it's been 10 years. I can still remember it so vividly as well. Such a sad day.

aimee said...

i love this book!! actually, i love all picoult books! you should read "my sister's keeper." it's my fav of hers.

Amber said...

I still remember Columbine vividly too, even though I was only 10 years old.

I've heard good things about Picoult and I've been looking for a good book to read, I think I'll give this one a try!

Anonymous said...

I thought you had read My Sisters Keeper-if not I have been giving the wrong person credit for a great book referral! Well, if you haven't read it I agree with Aimee that is a really really good read.
-Julie anne

Oh, and as the school counselor counsin I'm not finished yet but am loving the book - we'll have to talk later!