Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
This book centers on the shooting in a high school by a disaffected student and explores the idea of what drives a student to do such a horrible deed. She explores the relationships amongst the teenagers-including their past. This is a small town and most of the high schoolers have always been in school together.
From Jodi Picoult’s website:
“In Sterling, New Hampshire, 17-year-old high school student Peter Houghton has endured years of verbal and physical abuse at the hands of classmates. His best friend, Josie Cormier, succumbed to peer pressure and now hangs out with the popular crowd that often instigates the harassment. One final incident of bullying sends Peter over the edge and leads him to commit an act of violence that forever changes the lives of Sterling’s residents. “
The main problem is that Picoult is clearly much more comfortable portraying adults than teenagers and so while the portraits of the parents of the students have depth and are believable, the students themselves are not fully developed and you can’t really understand anyone’s actions-certainly not to the point of murder.
Here’s an odd little thing: the blurb on the back of the book was very misleading…”fault lines between the high school and adult community begin to show…” Having read the whole book, I have no idea what they’re talking about! That was one of the ideas that attracted me to read the book but it simply is not in this book!
If anyone else has read this book, I would love to read your comments-I’m really still bothered by it.
This is the second book by Jodi Picoult that I have read: the first being My Sister’s Keeper. I don’t think I’ll read another-I’m actually bothered by realizing that she seems to take the central ideas of her books from the news.