Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes


Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult | LibraryThing

(Written on Monday, 14 January 2013)

Title and Author(s): Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
Release Date: March 9, 2007
Publisher: Atria
ISBN: 0743496728 
Pages: 455
Source: Library

Reasons for Reading: I read My Sister’s Keeper several years ago. Later, I posted a review when I reread it before doing a book talk at a senior center. When Nineteen Minutes came out in 2007, I didn’t want to read about a school shooting. Yet, watching the continuous coverage of the Sandy Hook shootings, I realized the importance of understanding such situations. So, I requested the book via HCPL.

Summary: Sterling, New Hampshire is a sleepy little town where denizens settle so they can send their kids to good schools. Nothing of note really happens in Sterling until March 6, 2007. In nineteen minutes, bullied Sterling High School junior Peter Houghton hauls five guns into the high school and goes on a shooting spree. When Detective Patrick DuCharme apprehends Peter in the locker room, he finds jock Matt Royston dead but Royston’s girlfriend, Josie Cormier, stirring. Daughter of Madam Justice Alex Cormier, Josie recalls nothing. Picoult relates a tale of bullying, broken relationships, and a reeling town.

One Thing I Learned from reading Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes: Battered person syndrome is a physical and psychological condition that is classified as ICD-9 code 995.81.

What I Liked:  I liked that Picoult began with the date of March 6, 2007. This gave me an idea of the setting and attitudes to expect. Also, she fed into my preference of having a date stamp.

Also, I appreciate that Picoult deals with relevant events and offers likely reasons for characters’ motives. On the whole, this novel has believable, sympathetic characters.

While I’ve yet to read Change of Heart, The Pact, or Salem Falls, I liked that Picoult brought back characters Patrick Ducharme, Jordan McAfee, and Selena McAfee. This gives me hope that I might see friendly faces if I pick up other books by her.

What I Disliked: I did appreciate the time stamp of March 6, 2007. However, Picoult would toggle between the big event and chapters with titles along the lines of “Seventeen Years Earlier.” Couldn’t she have added “1990” to this?

Then, there was the sense that this book’s plot was “straight from the headlines.” I’d avoided this book dealing with school shootings for a long time, not wanting to be reminded of Columbine High School Massacre around the time Nineteen Minutes hit the bookshelves.

Additionally, I remember reading My Sister’s Keeper and found reading Nineteen Minutes like watching any M. Night Shyamalan movie after I’d seen The Sixth Sense. Thus, I tended to smell a rat early in the narrative. I won’t spoil the end but I wanted to know more about how certain characters were doing. Maybe I’ll see them in another Picoult work.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: Foster The People – Pumped Up Kicks – YouTube

Setting :  Sterling New Hampshire

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Meg Waite Clayton’s The Four Ms. Bradwells


The Four Ms. Bradwells: A Novel | Jorie’s Reads Store @ Amazon

Clayton, M. W. (2011). The four Ms. Bradwells: A novel. New York: Ballantine Books. 9780345517081

Reasons for Reading: As I browsed the Overdrive Digital Media Collection for eAudio, I rediscovered the cover bearing a young woman wearing pearls. Drawn by the cover and the description, I downloaded it to my iPhone. A little ways into listening, I decided I wanted to read the book in the old-fashioned format from HCPL.

Summary: Fifty-something best friends Mia (the Savant), Laney (the Good Girl), Betts (the funny one), and Ginger (the rebel) gather in Washington, DC over a long weekend as Betts awaits Senate confirmation of her appointment to the highest court in the land. Christened “the Ms. Bradwells” in their very first class at Michigan Law in ’79, these four friends have been through it all together – marriage/divorce, birth/death, job promotion/termination.

When Betts seemed all but sworn in as the newest Supreme Court justice, a nasty skeleton peeks out of the closet. This is about that fateful spring break to the summer house on the Chesapeake in ’82. This buried secret rises  to the surface to the point that the Ms. Bradwells can no longer ignore it. Yet, as good friends do, they confront it together.

What I Liked :  I liked that these different, intelligent women remained loyal and true to their friendship. The mystery was compelling and I liked the roles not only played by the Ms. Bradwells but by their mothers. The scenes which took place in Ann Arbor were crystal-clear to me. Then, there was the sense of their daughters carrying on the torch of the Ms. Bradwells.

What I Disliked: One reason I gave up on the audio in favor of the print was because of the narrator. Yes, I realize Laney was from Alabama but did she really have to have her parts read in such an affected accent. Also, the narrator rendered Mia rather whiny. When I switched to the print, I struggled differentiating between the four voices. I was further flummoxed by back-to-back sections narrated by the same character. Another thing which bothered me was that Laney’s mother became a footnote rather than a catalyst of the action. I wanted to know more about her! Before I forget, the pearls described in the novel looked nothing like those on the cover.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: fun.: We Are Young ft. Janelle Monáe [OFFICIAL VIDEO] – YouTube

Setting:  Ann Arbor Michigan, Washington DC, Cook Island

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Jennifer Close’s Girls in White Dresses


Close, J., & Card, E. J. (2011). Girls in white dresses. New York, NY: Books on Tape/Random House Audio. 9780307939340

Girls In White Dresses by Jennifer Close | LibraryThing

Girls In White Dresses by Jennifer Close | LibraryThing

Reasons for Reading : I desperately sought out another audiobook for my work commute. I spot this on one of the shelving carts.

Summary: Broken into short story-like chapters, author Jennifer Close relays various vignettes about twenty-something single women. The main characters – Isabella, Mary, and Lauren – have much experience as bridesmaids. Throughout Girls in White Dresses, these three and others have the chance to share snippets of their lives.

What I Liked : These stories were pretty humorous. The chapter entitled “Hope” had me laughing my head off when I wasn’t nodding in agreement.

I felt I knew these characters pretty well before the end of the first chapter. I don’t completely identify with these women but I’ve met people similar to these characters.

What I Disliked : This pertains only to the audiobook version – the sole narrator did something weird with her voice when she read Lauren’s parts.

Additionally, it wasn’t always simple to keep track of the who was who in each chapter. Maybe that’s why the narrator gave Lauren an odd voice.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: Glee – My Favorite Things (Official Video) – YouTube

Setting : New York City, Chicago, Boston

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Elin Hilderbrand’s Silver Girl


Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand | LibraryThing

Hilderbrand, E. (2011). Silver girl: A novel. New York: Little, Brown and Co. 9780316099660

While in England, my roommate gave me a book she just finished. It was Silver Girl. This was the first book I’ve ready by Elin Hilderbrand.

Hilderbrand relates a story of two estranged friends in addition to a tale of a Ponzi schemer. The author gives us two perspectives – that one of Meredith Martin Delinn, the wife of the “Bernie Madoff” character – Freddy Delinn, and her childhood friend Constance “Connie” O’Brien Flute. Forty-nine year old Meredith has lost it all thanks to Freddy cheating rich people out of loads of money. Nobody wants to associate with Meredith and she can’t talk to her grown sons because they’re also implicated in her husband’s crime. Connie’s got problems of her own in addition to the rift between her and Meredith. Then, Connie calls Meredith and the two head out to Nantucket for the summer. Here, Meredith and Connie make way for reconciliation as well as ghosts from the past. Meredith also has to face her old boyfriend, Toby O’Brien, Connie’s brother. 

I found Silver Girl easy to read and the characters realistic. I liked that Hilderbrand offered a point of view such as Meredith’s. Also, I liked that the title was a reference to a song by one of my all-time favorite music acts. I wanted to know more about Connie, though. Also, I was annoyed by how the author stated the characters’ full names. For example:

“The ring had been inherited from her grandmother, Annabeth Martin, and not bought with dirty money.”

“And the way that Meredith knew that Veronica O’Brien drank was because her own parents talked about it. . .

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song: ‪Simon and Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water Original Version‬‏ – YouTube

Setting :  New York City, Nantucket

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Ann Brashares’ Sisterhood Everlasting


Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares | LibraryThing

Brashares, A. (2011). Sisterhood everlasting: A novel. New York: Random House. 9780385521222

A few years ago, I read all four of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books. Later, I read 3 Willows, perhaps an extension of the aforementioned series. When I recently stumbled upon Sisterhood Everlasting on Amazon, I quickly requested the book through HCPL.

Warning: This review is meant for those who have read all the previous novels ONLY.

Brashares picks up the story of the four best friends – Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget, ten years later. They’re all grown up and leading seperate lives. Carmen plays a character on a TV show and lives with her producer fiancé. Lena teaches art at RISD and wonders about what life would’ve been like had she been with Kostos. Bridget lives with her boyfriend Eric in San Francisco. When Tibby invites Lena, Carmen, and Bridget to a reunion in Greece, all the sisters are estatic. However, this is a moment which changes their lives irrevocably.   

While I found the climax of this book devastating, I read the whole book. When I made it to the last pages, I felt relieved. Still, I’m not crazy about some of things which took place. Perhaps I’m too fond of happy endings sans tragedy.

Three Out of Five Pearls

Song : These are Days – YouTube (Natalie Merchant)

Places : New York, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, San Francisco, Greece, Australia

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