Saturday Book Review

March 11, 2007 · 0 comments

Holy crap!  I picked up a new book the other day, and due to circumstances beyond my control (Matt, who had been exhausted for hours would not go to sleep! So while he sprawled in the recliner, I sprawled on the couch, reading), I finished it tonight.  I’ll start by saying that by the last chapter, I had to wait for the tears to fall from my eyes to finish reading.

19.jpg I’ve read nearly all of her books and have probably been emotional about all of them. She has a way of writing that almost drowns you in the characters emotions and lives. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about a school shooting book; I, like many, watched Columbine unfold on television as if I were watching some horrible movie.  So I decided not to think about it like that – it is a work of fiction (though she did use true experiences of recent school shootings for research, including survivors).

Here’s the Book Description from

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.

Sterling is a small, ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens — until the day its complacency is shattered by a shocking act of violence. In the aftermath, the town’s residents must not only seek justice in order to begin healing but also come to terms with the role they played in the tragedy. For them, the lines between truth and fiction, right and wrong, insider and outsider have been obscured forever. Josie Cormier, the teenage daughter of the judge sitting on the case, could be the state’s best witness, but she can’t remember what happened in front of her own eyes. And as the trial progresses, fault lines between the high school and the adult community begin to show, destroying the closest of friendships and families.

Nineteen Minutes is New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult’s most raw, honest, and important novel yet. Told with the straightforward style for which she has become known, it asks simple questions that have no easy answers: Can your own child become a mystery to you? What does it mean to be different in our society? Is it ever okay for a victim to strike back? And who — if anyone — has the right to judge someone else?

I wish I had those answers. I don’t and it honestly scares the hell out of me to think that any kid could turn out “bad”. Any kid.  I never condoned the actions of Peter, the boy who does the shooting.  She humanizes him wonderfully – I feel for him, but I never pitied or excused him.  I did feel anger at him as I cried for his poor mother, who chose not to see her son as he was, and who tried to remember him as a little boy splashing in the tub or stroking her soft sweater while in her lap.  I felt for the Judge who was more comfortable in the courtroom that being a mother until she no longer had a choice.  And I felt for Josie – a young girl struggling with who she really is and feeling trapped in her fake self she created for popularity. In the end, her popularity changed her life and not necessarily in a good way.

Anyway, I’d recommend it. It’s a good read, and in true Picoult style, she jumps back and forth between present and past with each chapter so that you get what is currently happening and all that leads up to it.

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