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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sticking to what she knows best
Nineteen Minutes sees the return of defense attorney Jordan McAfee (The Pact and Salem Falls) and Patrick DuCharme (detective from Perfect Match) and is another example of Picoult's skillful psychological and social insight.

The protagonist this time is Peter Houghten, a 17-year-old high school student who has endured years of verbal and physical abuse at the...
Published on 17 April 2007 by Zannie

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars thought provoking
This is the first JP book I have read. I have to say I found certain sections a bit stodgy, and did get bogged down in the middle - so much so that it sat around unread for about three weeks. However that said, once I got past the middle bit, it picked up pace and I couldn't put it down to the end. The characters are carefully constructed, and personally, I found myself...
Published on 21 May 2008 by L. Cook


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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sticking to what she knows best, 17 April 2007
By 
This review is from: Nineteen Minutes (Hardcover)
Nineteen Minutes sees the return of defense attorney Jordan McAfee (The Pact and Salem Falls) and Patrick DuCharme (detective from Perfect Match) and is another example of Picoult's skillful psychological and social insight.

The protagonist this time is Peter Houghten, a 17-year-old high school student who has endured years of verbal and physical abuse at the hands of his classmates. Even his best friend, Josie Cormier has succumbed to peer pressure and is now part of the gang that instigates the abuse. One final act of bullying sends him over the edge and he commits an act of violence that will forever change the lives of the town's residents.

As per the Picoult formula, the town is small where many lives intertwine and the superior court judge assigned to hear the Houghten case is the mother of Josie Cormier, who witnessed the act. Josie is emotionally fragile and the strain of the court case poses a realistic threat to her relationship with her mother, Alex. She claims she can't remember what happened in the last few minutes of Peter's rampage and Peter's parents compound the tension and pressure in the narrative by ceaselessly examining the past to see what they might have done as parents to compel their son to such extremes.

The overriding theme of the novel is the question that do we ever really know the people closest to us? However, it poses more questions than that - what does it mean to be different? Is it ever OK for a victim to strike back? And who really has the right to judge someone else? This is Picoult's most honest, straightforward and meaningful novel yet - if only she could stretch beyond her currently rather contrived plots, she would be a truly great commentator on modern times.
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77 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Written with Love and Filled with Exceptional Insights, 13 April 2007
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nineteen Minutes (Hardcover)
We've read about too many school shootings. These are intensely sad events as young lives are ended and harmed while sickening fear is permanently released to further separate communities. We all blame the parents for being so clueless.

I wasn't sure I wanted to read a long novel about such an event. But I'm glad I did. Nineteen Minutes takes the bare facts of such an awful day and helps us see the whole experience from every perspective. And the book does so with a kind and gentle heart.

This shifting of the balance of our perceptions is accomplished by several well-performed techniques including many narrators (different students, three parents, the police, the defense attorney, and his wife), connections among the characters, and multiple back stories that reach literally into the womb. The book's theme is far more universal than school shootings: How we grow away from our real selves and the damage that does to us and others.

I was very impressed by the way that Ms. Picoult viewed every character with mostly sympathy, even when you might think of them as being unsympathetic from the facts. Each character is also mildly funny. She doesn't let the tragedy pull us too far away from the realities of everyday life. It's an extraordinary storytelling gift.

If you are like me, you'll probably feel that your faith in people is increased by reading this story rather than the reverse. That reaction also surprised me.

No matter what your age is I think you'll find this book will draw you back into those turbulent teen years when being popular meant way too much. It'll be an intense and self-revealing visit.

Bravo, Ms. Picoult! This is a remarkable book.

Highly recommended.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Interesting Insight, 16 May 2007
By 
Ms. Lauren Sampson (U.K) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nineteen Minutes (Hardcover)
Jodi Picoult gives the insight into so many different lives/minds and situations. This book showed how people are pushed into scenario's everyday and with the event of school shootings ever more present in American culture i got an insiders view. This felt like a reconstruction of what actually happened and happens in real school shootings. All seemingly fuelled by heirarchy and popularity at school. Even though we are meant to pity the victims in the story i couldnt help be compelled by the shooter and feel his pain more than any parent of the killed, and understood his situation and the attractiveness of guns to easily end a problem.

Another clever story i really enjoyed
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing Picoult-fest....., 20 Aug 2007
By 
L. Scarpati "LAS" (Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nineteen Minutes (Hardcover)
I bought this book on holiday and must admit, my eyes did sparkle a la Homer Simpson- "Hmmm! New Picoult novel, big read!" when I saw it on the shelf. That is to say, I was thrilled to have a longer read to dive into. I've often speedily read though one of Picoult's novels and often wished they lasted a bit longer.

The story is about Peter, a loner who is continually bullied throughout school and who one day shoots his fellow pupils and teachers. It also details the conflict between Peter's childhood friend Josie and her mother Alex who is the presiding Judge on the case and her conflict of interest.

This is yet another controversial topic for Picoult that she handles with the usual grace, tact and emotion. She builds up suspense by alternating chapters both from before the shooting including the relationships between Peter and Josie, their parents and their place within the social hierarchy at school and also, how their lives are changed by the event at Stirling High School.

I must admit, after reading this book, I found it hard to not feel for Peter, despite the horrors he had committed. This book follows the same path as Lionel Shriver's "We need to talk about Kevin", although it gives more information about the perpetrator of the crime and what shaped him into being the person he was when he walked into the school that day. It forces you to think about what he's gone through, how and why he reacted the way he did and although you don't excuse what he's done, you realise it's not all quite so cut and dry.

Picoult undertakes mammoth research of her topics and this comes across in her novels. The only criticism I would have of this novel is that in the British Legal System, a case such as this would never be heard in the city's local Court due to conflict of interests. This would particularly be the case if one of the Judge's children were involved. I can't speak for the U.S legal system where this may be perfectly legal, however it spoiled the novel for me as it seemed completely unlikely.

I can see this novel may not have sat too comfortably with readers across America who have suffered through the real life horrors of Columbine; but again, Picoult forces you to think about other points of view and to perhaps try to understand a little more and judge a little less; without undermining the horror and emotion of what the families have been through in real life.

I didn't see the twist in this tale coming and although I was pleasantly surprised (without giving the end away), again- it did not sit quite right with me. Make up your own mind on this one.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jodi Picoult doesn't disappoint, 7 Oct 2007
This review is from: Nineteen Minutes (Hardcover)
Having read many of Picoult's books I must say that I am a great fan of hers. She is not frightened of writing about many controversial issues that blight all of our lives.

Dealing with a young boy bullied mercilessly at school who plans and executes slayings of fellow pupils she still manages to retain sympathy for him and the plight he found himself in. The book keeps you riveted and from the first page to the last you do not want to put it down until the very end.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars thought provoking, 21 May 2008
By 
L. Cook (Hampshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nineteen Minutes (Paperback)
This is the first JP book I have read. I have to say I found certain sections a bit stodgy, and did get bogged down in the middle - so much so that it sat around unread for about three weeks. However that said, once I got past the middle bit, it picked up pace and I couldn't put it down to the end. The characters are carefully constructed, and personally, I found myself feeling more sympathy towards Peter than some of his victims. I would have liked less concentration on Judge Cormier, and Jodie's background, (which is where I found it stodgy) , and more on the Houghton family, who had after all managed to produce a killer. I had previously thought of JP books as "Beach Reads" I was wrong. It was far better written, and much more thought provoking than I had expected and I will certainly try others by this author.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Makes you wonder, 19 April 2007
This review is from: Nineteen Minutes (Hardcover)
"Nineteen Minutes" vividly explores how Peter Houghton, a New Hampshire teenager bullied in school, goes on a shooting rampage, which given the shootings at Virginia Tech or Columbine make you think what went so terribly wrong to produce a monster. In this book it's the little incidents that create the rage inside Peter and make him go wrong. On the first day of kindergarten, his Superman lunch box is thrown out the window by a bully:

"Hey, freak," the bully taunts. "You want to see Superman fly?"

Those little taunts over time add up to rage and a seething desire to exact revenge. For anyone interested in reading how psychologically a seemingly normal teen from an average family can go on shooting rampage "Nineteen Minutes" is a vivid portrayal.

Like many of her past novels, this book explores another hot topic of school shootings with Peter as a victim. The book's conclusion is stunning. It has all the ingredients that make Picoult engaging, unique and compelling. I also recommend the novel "NEXUS: A Neo Novel" for its spiritual depth, strong characters and an engaging narrative voice of two authors together.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic!, 20 Aug 2007
By 
M. Gibson (N.ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nineteen Minutes (Hardcover)
This book is THE best jodi picoult novel I have read so far, and I've read them all! I read it while on holiday and could not put it down. Throughout the book your opinion and views change so often, I didnt know which characters to feel more sorry for! I can see some americans who have been personally affected by high school shootings not liking this book and I dont blame them as you end up feeling sorry for the shooter even after the horrible things he did. Well worth a read!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read overall!, 16 Feb 2009
By 
Mrs. Margaret O'Donoghue (Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nineteen Minutes (Paperback)
I've read a lot of Jodi Picoult's novels and, in my opinion, this is her best one yet. Heart-breaking at times but always intriguing and well worth your time.

The positives:
1) Good characters - hard to like them at times, but well rounded descriptions and believable.
2) Very readable and believable plot. I don't like to use the word 'good' as the subject matter is so tragic but, it was very well done.
3) Great timeline - the book goes back and forth to before, during and after the school shooting but is done in an effective way. Many novels fail to do the back-and-forth thing well but Picoult succeeds.
4) Great suspense.
5) Picoult raises some very important issues e.g. bullying, teenage anxiety and parent-child relationships.

The negatives:
1) This is a criticism of all Picoult's novels - she uses way too many adjectives and metaphors. It drives me nuts. I'm so accustomed to her writing now (which is very good outside of the adjective-mania!) I have an inbuilt warning system when she gets flowery and overly descriptive - I kinda speed-read through those parts. I blame her editor. This book could have been cut by about 80 pages.
2) The ending was disappointing. I won't give it away here of course but if Picoult insisted on sticking with that ending, she should have expanded on it a great deal more. Considering she gives pages and pages to descriptions of somebody's innermost fears and considering how repetitive she is (in her attempt to ensure that we GET the point) I think she was way too rushed and sparse in her details about that surprise at the end.

Still, I give it 4/5 because it was well written and she raised many important and thought-provoking issues.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping And Very Thought Provoking, 20 May 2008
By 
This review is from: Nineteen Minutes (Paperback)
I have been an avid fan of Jodi Picoult since I read 'My Sisters Keeper' about 2 years ago. Some I have loved, others I have struggled my way through but from the moment I read the synopsis of Ninteen Minutes inside the dust jacket of the hardback book I have been looking forward to this one.
As a parent with 2 young children this book really stayed with me, even days after I had finished it I found myself contemplating what their futures held for them at school, will they be like Peter - ostrecised and ridiculed, bullied perhaps daily, will they follow Josie's path - never quite feeling like they fit in but just trying to get by. What impact will this have upon their lives now and in the future.
No matter how you look at it this book talks about what for many children is a reality - waking up every day afraid of what faces you at school and a desperate desire to get by.
Woven throughout this book are the viewpoints of people including Peters lawyer, his parents, survivors of his attack on the high school, parents of victims and also Peter's own viewpoint - how can you not listen to his plea of 'They started it!' without your conscience pricking you just a little.
I struggled to put this book down - by far the most emotional of Jodi's books since My Sisters Keeper and now a firm favourite.
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Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
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