Thursday, May 1, 2008

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Yes, I just read another book by Jodi Picoult!! Crazy, I know!! All I can say is that she is one of my new favorite authors!! She has such an amazing talent of creating relatable characters, addressing some very sensitive and controversial issues, and doing it all in such a way that the reader becomes hooked!

Nineteen Minutes was just such a book. In fact, my favorite of her books that I have read so far (but, please keep in mind that it is only my third!). However, due to the subject matter, it is hard to say that I liked it so much! As for the subject matter, it is one that is near and dear to my heart . . . school violence. Peter, one of the main characters, has been bullied his whole life until one day he just breaks. He sets off a bomb as a diversion and then continues into his high school to shoot multiple students, all within a timeframe of nineteen minutes. These nineteen minutes change the lives of not only the students, but the entire community, creating further divisions and in some, closer relations. And, Picoult did her homework . . . she interviewed multiple people associated with Columbine and other school shootings. And, she explores more lives than just the victims . . . the shooter himself as well as his parents' point of view.

Overall, it was an emotional roller coaster ride that made me laugh and cry; it made me scared, yet hopeful. My heart broke and yet, it swelled with love for the characters. And, as a mother, it also brought out a lot of anxiety -- am I doing everything I can to help my child(ren) to cope effectively through these rough years in their life and to make good choices when dealing with them? Personally growing up in a similar community, I could easily relate with many of the characters, though I think if you have been a high school student at any point in time in your life, I think you could easily relate well too! The book often made me think of another recent read, Odd Girl Out, and I truly believe that there were more victims in this story then just the ones that were shot. Amazing, powerful, thought-provoking . . . a must-read!!

For more information and additional resources, check out Jodi Picoult's website.

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