Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nineteen Minutes


The following synopsis is from ReadingGroupGuides.com:

In nineteen minutes, you can mow the front lawn, color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game. In nineteen minutes, you can bake scones or get a tooth filled by a dentist; you can fold laundry for a family of five....In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world, or you can just jump off it. In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge.

Sterling is a small, ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens -- until the day its complacency is shattered by a shocking act of violence. In the aftermath, the town's residents must not only seek justice in order to begin healing but also come to terms with the role they played in the tragedy. For them, the lines between truth and fiction, right and wrong, insider and outsider have been obscured forever. Josie Cormier, the teenage daughter of the judge sitting on the case, could be the state's best witness, but she can't remember what happened in front of her own eyes. And as the trial progresses, fault lines between the high school and the adult community begin to show, destroying the closest of friendships and families.

Nineteen Minutes is New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult's most raw, honest, and important novel yet. Told with the straightforward style for which she has become known, it asks simple questions that have no easy answers: Can your own child become a mystery to you? What does it mean to be different in our society? Is it ever okay for a victim to strike back? And who -- if anyone -- has the right to judge someone else?

My review:

Jodi Picoult is such a talented author! I have read a few of her books but I do consider this one my favorite to date. She always seems to take such a controversial and difficult subject and give you so many different perspectives of it.

This book is about a school shooting that helps you understand why it happened from the shooter's point of view. The human dynamics and relationships within this novel were amazing. You really come to understand why Peter was driven to commit such a violent act of revenge, even though you don't agree with it.

Another important part of the novel is the strained relationship between Josie and her mother, Alex Cormier. Alex decided to be a single parent when Josie was born and also to pursue a successful career as a judge. This choice has created a rift in the mother-daughter relationship that does not get mended until the events of the tragedy unfold. You really see their relationship strengthen as they realize they can trust each other once again.

I sometimes have a hard time reading novels where the time-line jumps around on me, so it took me a little while to get used to that with this novel. I think that type of writing really added to this story, because it allowed for more of an element of surprise.

It is not very often that everyone in my book club enjoys a book, but we all loved this one! I do believe that many schools actually use this book as part of an anti-bullying campaign. I highly recommend this book!

2 comments:

Dar said...

I read this one last year and I loved it also. I agree that Picoult is an awesome author. I've read almost everything she's written. This is a great review.

Betty said...

I've really got to get my book club to read this too, I'm so jealous that you actually got to hear Jodi Picoult talk about the book in person! I think this book is one of the best books for discussion. Great review!