Lynn's Reviews > Nineteen Minutes

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
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May 28, 2012

it was amazing
Read in May, 2012

Haunting. I couldn't put this book down because Jodi Picoult did what she does best - tackles a difficult issue that keeps you turning pages to answer questions such as "what happened", "how" and most importantly "why." Like most of her novels the answer is gray and blurs the line between right and wrong.

***Spoiler****

Sterling is a small town where people feel safe until one student takes a back pack with four guns to school and slaughters 9 students and 1 teacher. The story flips through past and present as we glimpse the events of that day as well as the lives of the students and parents impacted by the horrific event. As in life, the relationships are complex. As humans we are multi-facteted but often a parent will only see one side of a child and vice versa. While the students are stereotyped: Popular, Geeks, Jocks, etc. The main characters explore beyond the surface to their inner insecurities and strengths.

Josie and Peter have been unlikely friends since early childhood. From the beginning Josie protected Peter from the daily bullying he received. Josie moved in and out of different social circles until she made the decision that life was easier as part of the popular crowd. In a small town, their paths continue to cross and the depth of the feelings that they share in these encounters can take your breath away. It pulls me back to being a high school student without the confidence to know who I am. Instead, in high school there is often the desire to please and be the person that you are expected to be rather then well ..you.

The parental relationships also felt incredibly real. The love, hope and dreams that the parents have for their children. Yet they struggle to connect with them on an emotional level and although the parents think they know their children, they really have no idea of the struggles and life of a teenager in a small town. I've stayed up at night since reading this book wondering how to prevent that gap. If anyone knows the answer, please share with me.

Again, one word describes this well written novel...haunting. I read chapters here and there one day and then spent a night reading instead of sleeping because I NEEDED to find the answers to the above-mentioned questions. Now three days later, I don't want to start another book because I'm still rolling bits and pieces of this novel around in my head. Excellent storytelling,
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