Happy birthday to me! I had a FANTASTIC birthday weekend filled with my family and some close friends. I really cherish the quality time I get to spend with the people I love, and I truly appreciated being able to spend my birthday with those people again after being away last year.
Today, as promised, I'm sharing about the book I actually meant to share last week when I accidentally deleted my own post.
The book is Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. I have to admit that I was convinced that I wasn't a fan of Picoult's writing after I read My Sister's Keeper. For some reason, that book kinda dragged for me, and it wasn't until my mom couldn't stop talking about The Storyteller that I even tried another one of her books. I was so impressed with it, that I decided to give her another chance with this novel, and I definitely think my initial impression was wrong.
In this novel, what impressed me the most was the fact that Picoult was able to make me empathetic toward the perpetrator of a high school shooting, Peter Houghton. My heart broke as I followed his journey as the victim of unfathomable bullying. The whole story made me even more aware of the subtle bullying in my own school. I feel like I'm on a personal mission to make sure every student has a place where they feel valued and respected.
The novel starts on the day of the shooting and then backs up to give you the back story, allowing readers to see how the lives of everyone impacted by the tragedy are interwoven. It then continues into the court room where the reader is given a play-by-play of the shooting, including an unexpected twist at the end.
The story does not just center around Peter. It also follows Josie Cromier, his childhood friend who dumped him in the name of popularity. The guilt she feels isn't even fully understood until the last pages of the book, but I also felt empathy for her situation. The pressure to fit in with the "in" crowd is real and overwhelming, and as Josie mentions, it's a precarious place where one wrong move could easily cause one to fall our of favor, social suicide for a teenager. You almost can't blame her... if only you didn't know how badly Peter needed her by his side.
And, as in real life, the shooting has profound impacts on the parents in the community, who question, as all parents do, whether or not they are doing enough for their children. It seems that no parent can win, no matter their style.
This book was very emotional for me, in so many ways. I was really drawn to the story because I felt so conflicted about how I wanted it to end. I definitely recommend this read!!
**Please check my book log for a complete list of my Monday book reviews.