Book Description (from Goodreads):
On Peter Houghton's first day of kindergarten, he watched helplessly as an older boy ripped his lunch box out of his hands and threw it out the window. From that day on, his life was a series of humiliations, from having his pants pulled down in the cafeteria, to being called a freak at every turn. But can endless bullying justify murder? As Picoult attempts to answer this question, she shows us all sides of the equation, from the ruthless jock who loses his ability to speak after being shot in the head, to the mother who both blames and pities herself for producing what most would call a monster. Surrounding Peter's story is that of Josie Cornier, a former friend whose acceptance into the popular crowd hangs on a string that makes it impossible for her to reconcile her beliefs with her actions.
Ask a random kid today if she wants to be popular and she’ll tell you no, even if the truth is that if she was in a desert dying of thirst and had the choice between a glass of water and instant popularity, she’d probably choose the latter.
In Nineteen Minutes, Jodi Picoult’s excellent style of story-telling is revealed once again. Through this, the plot gives a feel of a cause that goes on for a long period of time, and effects that in the end suddenly trigger the horrific action of a young victim of bullying.
This may be my favourite by Jodi Picoult so far. The novel starts out with what happened before the event of the school shooting, with Picoult leaving out specific details that is meant to be revealed in the end. Afterwards, she manages to delve into the topic of bullying from the very beginning of Peter’s life, explaining what one may encounter as a child. It is amazing how Picoult also writes from various points of view. What I think is important is how we see how the parents of Peter are going through, and how they may be coping. The other characters are interesting, and although there are many, we get used to them as more of them are mentioned.
Jodi Picoult reveals the truth of everyday life, as she does in all her novels. I could not help but think of my high school life after reading Nineteen Minutes. This is definitely a novel that would stick with me for a long time. Through an emotional and intelligent way of story-telling, Jodi Picoult brings out the reality of bullying and its significant effects.