Nineteen Minutes Paperback – 3 Apr 2008
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Superb, many-stranded and grimly topical . . . Picoult binds together precarious alliances with sensitivity, giving depth to characters without losing pace. Inhabited by contradictory, flawed individuals, this intelligent novel draws suspense, moral complexity and a stunning final twist out of what initially seemed a monochrome situation (The Times)
A horrifying, close to real-life read, this novel is incredibly thought-provoking (Sun)
A gripping and chilling read, NINETEEN MINUTES is reminiscent of Arthur Miller's play The Crucible in the way it captures the claustrophobic atmosphere of small town America, where members of a community struggle to cope with their grief and shortcoming in a world they hardly recognize anymore (Daily Express)
Slick, emotive and as readable as ever (Daily Mail)
Jodi Picoult explores the issues of bullying and teenage school shootings in this riveting, thought-provoking and compelling number one bestseller.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
"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.
Peter kills 10 students in his High School. He has been the victim of bullying in every form from his first day at school and as the book moves from the present day to the past we can shudder with him as we read the descriptions of the intentional cruelty of the so-called "cool" kids to a boy who never done them any harm.
Judge Alex is fortunate that her daughter, Josie, survived - but having lost her boyfriend and claiming she has no memory of the events of that tragic day, why do the defence want her as a witness? Could their attempt to use "battered wife syndrome" really apply in this case - that a person subjected to daily abuse may suddenly and violently re-act the only way they can see?
Meanwhile, police chief Patrick is looking into the biggest case of his life and as the small town reels from the horror of the events with every family touched at some level, he begins to piece together the events that drove the almost "invisible" student to act as he did.
This book is not an easy read as the subject is one which appears likely to re-occur at some point in a school somewhere, however it is a thought provoking study of a difficult subject and although nothing can justify what Peter did - perhaps the reader can begin to understand why?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I couldn't put this book down. Definitely worth a read, I have never read a Jodi Picoult book before and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it (although I did guess the plot twist... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Charlotte Heaton
This has been really exciting book to read,easy to put down and pick up again. Great book enthralling all the way throughPublished 29 days ago by theresa
Such a different book . I don't usually become emotional but this book made me cry . I couldn't read anything else for a couple of weeks afterwards : I needed to mournPublished 1 month ago by susannah campbell
Just as gripping as all of her other books. Lots of unexpected twists, yet real life emotional intelligence and impact.Published 1 month ago by Sarah