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Ninteen Minutes Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult's fictional thriller involving a high school shooting

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Couldn't put it down

  • Jul 15, 2010
Rating:
+3

Jodi Picoult's Nineteen Minutes is a riveting tale that will keep you turning the pages until the very end. It tells the story of a school shooting in a small town in New Hampshire, focusing on some of the key players: Peter, the lifelong bullying victim-turned-murderer; his mother, Lacy; Josie, a student whose boyfriend is killed in the shooting; Josie's mother, also the judge initially assigned to Peter's trial; and Patrick, a local police officer investigating the shooting.

Picoult structures her story by opening with the day of the shooting itself, and then going back to the births of Peter and Josie and telling the story of their childhoods. Throughout the book, she alternates the events that follow the shooting with those that lead up to it. In this way, Picoult sets up relationships and assumptions right from the beginning that she spends the rest of the novel exploring and overturning. The story is driven by a few key mysteries concerning the exact events of the shooting. They hold our attention until the final twist, which is foreshadowed perfectly but still comes as a genuine shock.

Picoult's greatest achievement in Nineteen Minutes is the balancing act of making us sympathize with Peter and understand his crime without actually justifying it. He's not exactly a likable character, but we can feel for him as he is consistently tormented and rejected over most of his life. Almost all of the characters are similarly complex: we understand their motivations and are interested in what happens to them, even if we don't always condone their actions. The fully realized characters and fast-moving plot make Nineteen Minutes a captivating and emotional read.

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More Nineteen Minutes reviews
Quick Tip by . June 15, 2010
Another excellent book by Jodi Picoult.
Quick Tip by . June 15, 2010
This is a fascinating novel that came at a time when this is a very hot topic. I love the Picoult tends to publish books that are relevant to the tone of society. This novel is a real page turner and keeps the reader wondering what is going to happen next and what the real story truly is.
review by . February 17, 2010
Peter Houghton would hardly be considered a typical seventeen year old teenager. Because one morning, he loaded his backpack with four guns, went to school and killed nine students and a teacher. Jodi Picoult's enthralling best-selling novel "Nineteen Minutes", titled to portray the astonishingly brief period of time that Houghton took to complete his brutal spree, examines the genesis of that event and the people affected by it from every conceivable perspective - families, victims, survivors, …
review by . July 14, 2009
Jodi Picoult is a wonderful author.  More often than not her stories are penned about tragic events befalling the everyday family.  Though, as I've come to learn over time, while Jodi Picoult is a fascinating writer--particularly because she tackles such intense issues and pits her main characters in such interesting situations--she often writes in a very formulaic way.  The books are good at least.  Many formulaic authors tend to eventually lose steam.  Perhaps Picoult …
About the reviewer
Colleen Powers ()
Ranked #1444
I am a 22-year-old college graduate with a degree in journalism and film studies.
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Books, Book, Cafe Libri, Mass Murder, Teenage Angst

Details

Author: Jodi Picoult
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Date Published: February 5, 2008

First to Review

"An Emotional Read"
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