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Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

In nineteen minutes, you can mow the lawn, color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game...In nineteen minutes, you can order a pizza and get it delivered. You can read a story to a child...You can walk a mile... In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world...In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge.
From the opening lines of Nineteen Minutes

In nineteen minutes, you can read a chapter of a book, losing yourself in the world in which its characters live. In nineteen minutes, you can write a review for that book and publish it to this blog... Well. That last one is a stretch.

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult is the story of a boy and a community. The narrative can be divided into two parts that are effortlessly and skillfully interwoven by the author. One part tells of the aftermath of the nineteen minutes it took for the boy to shoot up his high school, and the other part tells the story of the events and experiences of the preceding seventeen years that led the boy to commit such an unspeakable act of violence.

Ultimately, it is a story about the daily cruelties children are capable of inflicting upon each other and the effect these cruelties wrought upon their recipients. It is also a story of the struggle students endure every day to fit in at their school, to maintain appearances, and to keep hidden deep inside that which makes them who they are for fear of it being used against them in the schoolyard. It is the story of the cost of keeping our true selves hidden and protected from friends and family for fear of being rebuffed and rejected.

Regular readers of Picoult's novels won't be disappointed, this story, like all of her stories, draws the reader into its pages, and it is deeply effecting. The pages keep turning because you know, instinctively, that appearances are deceiving, and all will not be revealed until the end. For those who have never read a Jodi Picoult novel, this is a good one to start with because it will make you stop and think about a lot.

For me, I have yet to find the Picoult novel that is as heart wrenching, effecting, and haunting as one of her earlier novels, My Sister's Keeper. Nineteen Minutes comes close. And at some point in a future blog entry, you will hear more about My Sister's Keeper.

Nineteen Minutes can be found at Fic/Pic in adult fiction, located upstairs in the library. I hope you'll check it out.

Jodi Picoult's official website can be found here

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie


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