(Written on Monday, 14 January 2013)Title and Author(s): Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
Release Date: March 9, 2007
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
Setting : Sterling New Hampshire
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- Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer
- My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
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- Silver Girl by Elin Hilderbrand
- Carrie by Stephen King
- The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
- The List by Siobhan Vivian
- The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold