March 10, 2014

IMWAYR: Nineteen Minutes


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.

10 comments:

  1. Hmm...I shall add that to my summer reading list! Happy Belated Birthday!!!!
    Erin

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh gosh I read that book several years ago, and the first paragraph still gives me chills when I think about it!!
    Erin
    Learning to be awesome

    ReplyDelete
  3. I teach this in my senior literature class every year! It is a haunting book, yet so good. One of my other favorite Picoult books is The Pact, about a suicide pact between a teenage boyfriend/girlfriend, and one of them doesn't follow through on it. Very interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  4. One important thing I like about reading: it makes me more compassionate toward others, even those who do incomprehensible things.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Happy Birthday Erin!! I'm glad it was such a great day!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm pretty sure I have read Nineteen Minutes, but I can't remember. If I did, it was years ago. HAPPPPPPY BIRTTTTHHHDAY! I hope it's been your best one yet! XOXOOXOXOXOXOX
    Alison
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

    ReplyDelete
  7. Happy Birthday!! I'll definitely read the book. You've got me intrigued :)

    ReplyDelete
  8. I haven't read any of Jodi Picoult's novels yet, as I know that most are crafted deliberately to be tear-jerkers. I'm glad to read your thoughts about 19 Minutes, though, as I feel that this is truly an important issue that needs to be out there. I've just discussed bullying in my own higher-degree class last night, but we used picturebooks to look into this theme.
    And yeah, belated happy birthday! Looks like we have the same birthday, or at least quite close to each other. Mine is 9th of March. :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is one of my favorites of Jodi's books!! ALL of them make me feel and think and cry and... :)

    Shannon
    http://www.irunreadteach.wordpress.com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Jodi Picoult is one of my absolute favorite authors. The way she constructs images and detail is amazing. Nineteen Minutes was fantastic. Picoult's best work since My Sister's Keeper. The plot was gripping. I had trouble putting this book down. In a post-Columbine world, I think the reader is searching for an answer as to why something like this would happen, even if it is a work of fiction that provides it. I cannot praise this novel enough. I highly recommend this novel and all of Picoult's works

    ReplyDelete