Windy's Reviews > Nineteen Minutes

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
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did not like it
bookshelves: read-in-2009

This is what I have come to understand about Jodi Picoult. She takes a controversial or emotionally-charged topic. School shootings. Childhood leukemia. Amish people. Then she centers that topic around terribly cliched characters and cranks the schmaltz meter to 11. The novels alternate between characters' points of view so quickly that Picoult rivals most TV news stations in offering endless shallow ten-second bits of information. Each little section, offered at a rate that would overwhelm even the worst case of ADHD, ends with a cutesy phrase that is a thin attempt at instilling a flimsy motif. Then, near the end of the book, there's a surprise twist that I can only guess is meant to titillate the unsuspecting reader in the midst of their mindless revelry of such crappy writing. Of course, that little plot twist is so ridiculous, at least when offered at the rate that Picoult spews them up for the delight of her idiotic claque of bovine "readers," that any central issue that once may have been considered almost sacrosanct is reduced to senseless drivel that makes for easy ridicule, as evidenced above.

School shootings or bullying are topics that should not be mismanaged to the point of hilarity, and they certainly shouldn't be used by hack writers cashing in on the public's worst fears to make a few (thousand) bucks. Either that's the case here, or Picoult is just a terrible writer.
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Reading Progress

June 9, 2009 – Shelved
June 10, 2009 –
page 249
Started Reading
June 17, 2009 –
page 464
June 17, 2009 – Finished Reading
July 11, 2009 – Shelved as: read-in-2009

Comments Showing 1-14 of 14 (14 new)

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message 1: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Just the cover of this book would make me wary to read it.

Windy I know. It's a bit sickening. I'm now on page 154... of about 450! Not counting the reader's club guide in the back. Maybe I should just take this off my Goodreads page. I feel kind of dumb.

message 3: by DeAnne (new)

DeAnne No, it's nice to see you read something other than the classics or critically acclaimed works...

Windy I feel like an English-teaching fraud. As long as I don't start reading Nora Roberts, though, I guess I can live with myself.

message 5: by Nicole (new)

Nicole Burn to you, mother!

message 6: by Windy (last edited Jun 10, 2009 06:35PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Windy I blame this on your influence. I used to be a nice person.

(Burn to you!)

message 7: by Halle (new)

Halle Russell I actually agree and disagree with the points you made in your review. Jodi Picoult takes very sensitive subjects and makes them the basis of her stories. This book, in my opinion, was very eye-opening to the topic that the media only portrays as a one-sided discussion, when in fact, as shown in this novel, has many different contributing layers. Her characters are very cliched at first, but I feel as though Picoult definitely gives the characters more background as the story progresses than what is given at the beginning. I do not believe that she wrote this novel to earn money off of the horrifying topic, but instead to paint the victims in a different light and show that they had normal lives before the tragedy took place.

T.L. Farmer I read this book and I absolutely loved it. It is a good example of a reenactment of what happened in the columbine shooting. The story line is amazing. It can be confusing at times but in the end you see how all the characters interconnect and how all their stories mesh together. It teaches a life long lesson and is based on a true story. It gives amazing examples of emotions, anger, fear and sadness. I wouldn't recommend it for children because it does contain some mature content. But over all the story is worth the read. Especially for high school students and it adults. This book targets the high school community and the things that could happen from bullying. Eventually it builds up inside people and they cannot take it anymore. You see the transition of events and when things begin to spiral out of control. This book makes you think and unravel a mystery of your own through the story. My favorite quote on the back of the book states: this book dares to remind us, that's someone loved the killer too. I love that quote.

Purita Bravo review!!! Exactly my thoughts but written way better than I would have. Every worthy societal issue she picks for her novels has huge potential to make the novel great already but she has to go and plant cliché cluster traps and flatten her characters into mush to fill up mostly empty and thought unprovoking pages. And top the whole thing off with extremely forced twists. Recipes for disaster. Every single time!

Chelsea I keep trying to like this book—but the bullying scenes are SO dramatic. As someone who works in a high school, it’s hard to imagine there being an actual fight on the school steps and no teacher or admin notices. Maybe I just work at a small school, but even the depantsing situation (which was the last straw for me) left me in utter disbelief. A kid gets his pants pulled down and the teacher simply says “do you two need to go to the office?” What???
Maybe this was written before newer policies were put into place but that seems like excessive negligence, even for a few decades ago.
Eh. Gave it my best shot. Made it halfway through and I’m just done.

message 11: by Almira (new)

Almira I have never read any of Jodi's books, they are checked out frequently at the library, however, after reading this review I doubt that I shall check one out myself...….

message 12: by Ari (last edited Sep 26, 2019 05:54PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Ari Avocette I have 100 pages left to read of 455, and have been waiting for it to be over since around page 50. This book is terrible- full of cliched characters and some nonsensical plot lines. If you’re interested in a good book about the aftermath of a real school shooting read A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold (mother of Columbine shooter Dylan Klebold). Klebold’s book is excellent. Picoult’s book is the opposite.

message 13: by Emma (new) - rated it 1 star

Emma “...they certainly shouldn't be used by hack writers cashing in on the public's worst fears to make a few (thousand) bucks. Either that's the case here, or Picoult is just a terrible writer.”

Why not both?

Everything you said was completely on-point, from the cutesy ending bits to the ridiculous plot twists and the horrible mismanagement. The entire book is built on stereotypes and cliches and is in no way an accurate or meaningful representation of such heavy issues. It is 455 pages of blatant oversights, leaps in logic, extraneous information, and over-dramatization thrown in for “entertainment value.”

Jodi Picoult is not a good writer. Coming from a place of privilege, she capitalizes on the plight of people suffering under the weight of things she barely understands and barely cares to research. Her depictions of mental illnesses were, across the board, completely inaccurate; her depiction of law enforcement and professionalism in general was shoddy at best; her frequent use of unnecessarily explicit sex scenes was egregious.

I get the feeling she thinks she’s saying something profound, but in the end, I don’t need hundreds upon hundreds of pages of Picoult’s misinformation to know that bullying is bad. If she truly wanted to add to the conversation, she should have written a case study, or at the very least done some research.

message 14: by Jason (new)

Jason Lee Windy’s complains that Jodi’s story is compromised by writing a topic that is very controversial which is school shootings. While there may be some truth to this critique, I argue that Windy’s overlooks the message that the author is trying to convey.

The author wrote this book allude to the readers that the environment we live in can affect the person that we are today. Jodi wanted to address a young high schooler, who has endured a lot of emotional and physical pain which lead him to do the school shooting. This author wanted to open the reader's eyes in the mind of a killer. Showing what goes behind the scene of a killer that we don't see or know.

The author wanted to truly convey that even school shooters are still a human being, that they have emotions and go through struggles, which may affect the way they act. Although it may be a sensitive topic or a controversial one, but it was very crucial for Jodi to to really bring awareness of depression. Knowing that depression is such an epidemic in this world that many people go through that we may not see in our own eyes. So Jodi did not write this book about school shooting to earn a lot of money or to make a successful book but instead to open the eyes of the readers minds of a school shooter in what they are going through. Knowing that were just a normal human being, living a normal life before.

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