Nineteen Minutes Paperback – February 5, 2008
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-- AP Newswire
"Picoult spins fast-paced tales of family dysfunction, betrayal, and redemption.... [Her] depiction of these rites of contemporary adolescence is exceptional: unflinching, unjudgmental, utterly chilling."
-- The Washington Post
"Jodi Picoult's books explore all the shades of gray in a world too often judged in black and white."
-- St. Louis Post-Dispatch
About the Author
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I am in my late 60's and glad that my child
rearing days are well behind me. Parenting is very challenging, especially the teenage years. Although people always look to the parents when a child exhibits antisocial & troublesome behaviors but while the parents may be the primary caregivers the child comes in contact with many people who help shape their personalities. This book examines every aspect of Peter's life experiences and leaves us to decide which influences contributed to his attitudes.
Top international reviews
High school shootings continue and probably - sadly - will continue to be at the forefront of public consciousness, and as the media frenzy that accompanies them portrays the shooters as evil psychopaths and not as victims too, the story is often one-sided. And why should it not be when innocent children lose their lives or sustain horrific physical and mental injuries in a place that should be a sanctuary? However Nineteen Minutes forces the reader to consider these incidents from different perspectives. The shooting itself is horrific, and the aftermath devastating, but Picoult doesn't just show us the effect it has on those who died, those they left behind, and the survivors. She also explores how it is for the family of the perpetrator, and the perpetrator himself - a boy who in so many ways is a victim himself. I found it emotionally confusing to feel sorry for the gunman while also feeling guilty for feeling sorry!
I wouldn't say this is a perfect novel - not only is it full of glaring errors, sometimes it got a bit confusing keeping up with what timeframe I was in. That said, I have still given it five stars, because it did make me think, I couldn't put it down, and while the final twist was perhaps a little obvious (and some may say contrived) it still packed a punch in the final pages.
Having read 'We need to talk about Kevin' this one simply does not compare! It's very easy-to-read, with the page-turner quality but it lacks real depth and analysis of this controversial subject. The ending was very abrubt and disappointing entirely.
I am giving the book 3 stars because I do love the writing of Jodi and her books in general,and as always the book kept me up at night. In the end I felt a bit cheated though.
If I had to sum up my opinion I'd say that it's an entertaining page- turner that you can read in a weekend but not much more than that- I don't feel it will stay with me, I don't feel affected by the characters. About a year ago I read 'We need to talk about Kevin' and the book has stayed with me in a way this one just isn't capable of.
Peter Houghton has been bullied his entire life, and Nineteen Minutes shows us what happens when he finally snaps. The beginning certainly grabs the reader's attention as Peter goes on a shooting rampage in his high school, and the resulting conflicts keep it. As usual, there are numerous subplots linking into the main narrative which help give the story depth. However, at times they also take attention way from the main character. Peter's transition from victim to murderer could have been explored more, but the way in which Picoult makes us feel so much for Peter, regardless of what he's done, makes her oversight forgivable.
The plot is not a new one but the way she tells it is classic Picoult. Starting in the present with the massacre and the aftermath, the story frequently jumps back in time to significant periods that give a deeper insight into the characters and their actions, slowly unravelling the whole picture. The flashbacks allow the story and our understanding to grow over time as we realise not everything is back and white.
Although parts were difficult to read, I thoroughly enjoyed the novel and will be reading more from her. I think right now however, I need a light read to come down from such an emotional high.
It is difficult to not like the 17 year old boy in question and to try to find excuses or reasons for why it might have happened. Either way the entire novel, to me, is about discovery. Many of Picoults books, most of which I would also recommend, force the reader to figure things out and try to determine what they would do. This is so exicting, or at least I have always found it to be - and I'd therefore definitely suggest reading this book.