Nineteen Minutes Nineteen Minutes question


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Peter's Death
deleted member Jul 29, 2011 05:03PM
When I read that Peter had chosen to end his life by shoving a sock down his throat, I was extremely disappointed. I felt that Picoult should have written this part of the book from Peter's perspective because I wanted to know what he was thinking. It would have been a really nice addition to the book if we got to see Peter reflecting on his actions, the trial, Josie's confession, etc. Did any one else feel the same way?

Additionally, I thought Peter's death was exactly the way it should have been. It just seemed right to me that he did not suffer the rest of his life in jail. Peter led a tragic life, with very seldom happy or positive moments. It seemed appropriate that he decided life had nothing else to offer him.



It was such a shock to know that the book ends by Peter killing himself. It left me shivering and there was this sunken feeling inside of me. I think it was mainly sympathy for Peter's tragic life.

While it lacks a description of Peter's thoughts, the scene where Peter saw himself sitting on the school bus alone can actually display Peter's perspective on his own death.

He was surrounded by so many sadness in his life that when he finally killed himself, he felt something that resembles inner peace. He was young again, before all his sufferings started, and he was alone, so he knew no one would be able to hurt him. And he had his lunchbox with him, the signs that probably reminded him of his life before all the bullying began.

So I think in one way or another Jodi Picoult did a good job in describing Peter's death.

Haha.. sorry for writing so long.. =)


I was left thinking at the ending of Peter's life in the book, I wanted Peter to be free from jail and the ending provided it. The law and society would never let Peter go free because of his actions. The twist is that I would never condone suicide and this is the conundrum. My thinking is Peter could not kill himself in the locker room, he needed to protect Josie as they were friends again. He had already planned to end his life.


I thought it was a twist to end the book. I think he was suffering so much through the book, and his peace came when he ended his life.


Definately no surprise here, a troubled boy committs suicide. Would have seemed more logical for him to have shot himself in the head in the bathroom after he killed all the other students? Isnt that most most school shooters do, they kill themselves after the shooting, them being the last one to die? Then we have to dig through a confusing past of second hand stories from friends and family. This was a much better ending because it honestly tied the reasoning behind the shooting, because the shooter was able to use his voice instead of his actions explaining the situation.


I was not shocked by his suicide. I kept thinking he was going to be found dead every time his lawyer visited him. But I thought he was going to use the tie his mom has so carefully picked out for him, it even mentioned him getting dressed in his cell and putting it in his pocket so the lawyer could tie it for him. Then it said something about a great thought and he smiled. I thought for sure that's how he would do it.


Peter had been so unhappy for so long, I think deep down we all know what he was thinking: What did life have to offer him besides pain, neglect, and disappointment?


I was so shocked at the ending. Her books always have a great twist in the end, but this one didn't seem to fit. I guess I was confused because we really don't get a good idea of what Peter was thinking through the book. If it was written in his perspective I think I would have understood what he was going through and why he eventually killed himself. Since this book gives us an insight to highschool bullying, hearing it from the victim would have been more beneficial.


I was definetly rocked to the core at Peter's death because i did not see it coming at all i though the book would end with the part about about josie going to jail and not, yet another person killing themselves even if he was the one that caused most of the death himself.


Miki (last edited Oct 20, 2013 04:13PM ) Oct 20, 2013 04:12PM   0 votes
I was not really that surprised in Peter's suicide, rather I was actually expecting it. This is because he not only felt that he had nothing more left to live for, he also felt guilty over the shooting and I do not think he could have lived with that guilt. You can see this when...I think it was Haley Weaver? The girl in the wheelchair who needed plastic surgery done?...well anyways when she came to trial, Peter felt horrible over what happened. This can also be seen when he gets the letter from the girl in his high school. I did feel sorry for him though. He never really got to experience a good life.


I was surprised that after going through all that, he ended up killing himself. Was waiting the whole trial for him to do it. Plenty of opportunity to do it before then, especially with the bit about the glass shard from the picture in his hand.


I was surprised. I didn't think Jodi Picoult would have ended the book that way. I thought she was going to end it differently. I didn't think Peter would have ended his life.


I always thought he was going to kill himself, there's was nothing left for him, he was never going to get out of jail.

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Bobby Karmakar That I knew as well. I was looking at my original answer from so long ago and someone else said they wish they saw Peter. I wrote that I can understan ...more
Feb 15, 2015 10:08AM

He had 8 life sentences and no hope. Not a surprise at all.


I agree with M that I was surprised that Peter waited so long. He wanted to kill himself all along, so it didn't shock me that he killed himself. I'm still not sure I believe that someone can kill themselves with a sock... It doesn't seem that easy to me.


I'm really happy that she didn't try to have Peter win the trial, but was really not expecting him to die in the end. I thought maybe Josie would commit suicide...

On another note, I was overjoyed last week when Jodi Picoult replied to an email of mine and asked to read some of my writing. She's a great author, the only thing is that I don't understand how she writes so much in so little time. Hopefully the quality of her books isn't compromised because of that.


Considering the entire book was written in third-person, I believe Jodi did a great job telling us what happened to him and even gave an insight of his death (when the sock went through his throat and what he saw after that...).
As for it being told in Peter's view, I think that would not only be hard to read but harder for her to write! It would be, however, an interesting thing to write and even read though.


M Mar 15, 2012 11:33AM   0 votes
I was surprised that he waited that long to do so. My heart goes out to Peter though he went through so much.


I think Peter makes it clear in the trial and by the way he talked to Jordan that he wasn't sorry about killing the students, but it was more of "I'm just glad they aren't here to hurt me anymore". I think the "dream" he had backs up that statement.


It was predictable that peter was going die, He had did not have anyone to talk anymore. When he started shooting at school he reaches the bottom of himself and he felt there was no more of himself so he killed himself.


It made me feel so sad to let Peter end his life just like that. But as a book anything can happened. That's the charming of Jodi Picoult.


I didn't even know that Peter had died with a sock in his mouth until I took a quiz! Wow.
He was my fav character to, along with Jordan McAfee.


I wasn't surprised by Peter's suicide. Even if he went to trial and was acquited, society would punish him for the rest of his life. Not to mention his mother would've been blamed and treated as a horrible parent. He wanted out of school, out of society, out of LIFE. And given the fact that his brother tortured him, I think he would feel there was no other choice. My son was bullied relentlessly because he has a mild case of Cerebral Palsy and had a slight limp. He is an adult now and his right hand and foot are smaller and deformed. During his school years, they were not. He was punished for everything from not coloring in the lines to sloppy handwriting. He got exactly 1 (ONE) recess period in elementary school. When he was 16, we took him out of school, because he was talking about suicide and homicide. He has a high IQ and passed his GED 6 months after we withdrew him and is now perfectly fine. His teachers were as much to blame as other students. I would like to send them a picture of his hand and foot today, so they could see he was not "lazy" or an "underachiever." He was a child with a high IQ and a physical condition that was not visible until he was over 20 years old. As adults, we need to give children the benefit of the doubt, especially in elementary school, and teach our children to treat others with compassion and understanding. I'm not holding my breath waiting for that to happen. This is an important subject and Jodi did a stellar job writing it. I just hope some readers learned to look at what is really happening in schools across America.


That ending was too convenient. It was like she couldn't think of a way to end it and settled for what she wrote. Look what happends to the gun in the climax scene. Would that happen in real life?


I thought Peter would find something to do with his time, maybe contact the writer again, tell his story. I definitely wasn't expecting his death.
However, I am surprised that he was able to kill himself by shoving the sock down his throat- I thought it'd be a little harder than that.
I am disappointed that we never got to hear more out of Josie, it would have been interesting if they became jail buddies.


I was not surprised by his decision to kill himself. He was depressed and had no where else to go since he would be in jail forever. It was probably a better option to kill himself than just to be stuck in the jail cell for the rest of his life.


Her books are always surprising.


I thought that it was a good ending to the book, after everything he had been through there was no way his life could turn around for the better. It was better for him to do that then to rot in jail for the rest of his life.


deleted member May 16, 2014 01:29PM   0 votes
I guess I'm the odd one at this, But I was more shocked at what Josie did to Her boy friend at the end of the story. I'm probably going to get Bashed, But I didn't feel that bad when Peter Killed Himself.

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David Schwinghammer It's been a while since I read the book, but Josie shooting her boyfriend was what I was talking about. It was a little too convenient the way she got ...more
May 17, 2014 10:32AM

I was definatly shocked in the end, in which Peter comitted suicide, because I presonally didn't see it coming. This is only because Jordan commented on how much more of a man he looked after spending months in jail, so it never crossed my mind that he was suffering a battle inside and beyond the reader's knowlage. I agree that Jodi should've wrote about what he was thinking up to that point!


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