Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Sterling is a small, ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens-until the day its complacency is shattered by a shocking act of violence. In the aftermath, the town’s residents must not only seek justice in order to being healing but also come to terms with the role they played in the tragedy. For them, the lines between truth and fiction, right and wrong, insider and outsider have been obscured forever. Josie Cormier, the teenager daughter of the judge sitting on the case, could be the state’s best witness, but she can’t remember what happened in front of her own eyes. And as the trial progresses, fault line between the high school and the adult community begin to show, destroying the closest of friendships and families.

I really enjoyed Nineteen Minutes. It was raw, honest, and correct in its portrayal of high school life and the bullying it holds. Peter Houghton strikes back in the severe manner of shooting the ten students who bulled him. I especially loved the ending of this book as it was defiantly not what I was expecting.

And the beginning was phenomenal:

“In nineteen minutes, you can mow the front lawn, color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game. In nineteen minutes, you can bake scones or get a tooth filled by a dentist; you can fold laundry for a family of five…In nineteen minutes, you can order pizza and get it delivered. You can read a story to a child or have your oil changed. You can walk a mile. You can sew a hem.

In nineteen minutes, you can stop the word, or you can jump off of it. In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge.” (pg. 5)

In some ways, I felt I could relate to Peter, especially in the manner of his family.

“Lacy remembered holding Joey’s grades up against Peter’s; telling Peter that maybe he should try out for soccer, because Joey had enjoyed it so much. Acceptance started at home, but so did intolerance. By the time Peter had been excluded at school, Lacy realized, he was used to feeling like an outcast in his own family.” (pg. 286)

Nineteen Minutes questions our legal system, the value we place on being “popular” or “cool,” and if it is okay for a victim to strike back. I was heartily recommend it, especially for all high school students, and it is certainly a favorite of mine.

Others’ Thoughts:

Book Mentioned:

  • Picoult, Jodi. Nineteen Minutes. New York: Atria, 2007. Print. 480 pgs. ISBN: 9780743496728. Source: Library.
Book Cover © Atria Books. Retrieved: March 11, 2008.
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3 thoughts on “Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

  1. Great review! This book seems to whisper my name every time I walk past my bookshelf…perhaps when I’ve finished reading East of Eden for my book club (a reread for me), I’ll finally answer its call. 🙂

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