Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

I recently finished Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult.  I used to read her novels like crazy, but then I took a bit of a hiatus.  They are always so intense, I just needed a break.  While Nineteen Minutes is definitely intense, I really enjoyed this novel a lot.  It gave me lots to think about and I found myself telling others about the book as I read it (I usually just save that for book club or the blog).

This novel is about a teenager who has been bullied since kindergarten and comes to his HS one day and kills 10 people and injuries at least 19 more.  The story tells what happen up until that day, that day, and the court case following the school massacre.  It isn’t told lineraly, we have flashbacks throughout the book, from several different perspectives.

Jodi Picoult gives us another disturbing tale in this book.  As a parent and school psychologist, this book really touched me.  As a parent, I sided with the parents of the victims.  As a school psychologist, I could appreciate the side of the killer, who was a victim himself.  I feel like the author gave such a balanced picture of both sides of this story instead of just focusing on one side.  This would bring up a lot of areas of discussion for a book club, that’s for sure.

The characters were numerous in this novel.  I felt like that added a great deal to it.  Not only did we get a victim’s and the killer’s outlook, we also saw this from several parents’ perspectives, the community’s and the law enforcement’s perspectives, as well.  And, all the points-of-view were realistic to me and not contrived.  They all made me think.

The relationships in this book were quite complex.  They never quite seemed to be as they always appeared.  I was shocked and often touched by the changes or behind the scenes looks at many of the relationships.  It made me remember that not everything is as it appears.

Of course, Jodi Picoult added a little twist at the end.  I’ve come to expect this of year, so I guessed the twist before it came (although not too much before).  I’m still thinking about how I feel about the twist.  If anyone else read this, I’d love to know what you thought of it.  I’m not sure the author fleshed this out enough for me.  I could see it coming, but I’m a little confused by it.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would love to discuss it.  I have to get some people I know to read it!

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3 responses to “Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

  1. I do like Picoult, have read a few of her books but haven’t read this one yet even though I do have it on my shelf.
    So far, my favorite of hers is Vanishing Acts.

  2. This is my favorite of the few Picoult books I’ve read because of the balanced view of the situation. I really felt bad for Peter’s mom. Such a sad story. I knew there was a twist coming, but I didn’t guess what it was.

    –Anna

  3. I missed this for some odd reason – sorry. I haven’t read this but it was on the school reading list for our hs which I found amazing, personally but am trying to w/hold judgement since I need to read it, right? and this is the only reason I want to read it. I’ve heard it is good and I do give credit for JP to give so many sides to a complicated issue.

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