‘Nineteen Minutes’ by Jodi Picoult

(book review)

3 stars. The incredible Jody Picolt captivated me again in the grip of a wonderful story, but this time I did not give up. ‘Nineteen Minutes’ shooks me to the core, and I am grateful to the author for such a topic, but the book is much weaker than My Sister’s Keeper, for example.

You bet, in nineteen minutes people’s lives can be changed dramatically, and so it happened in a small town of Sterling, where Peter, a student, started shooting at school. Nineteen minutes and ten killed people… What made the teenager take up arms? Why aren`t parents and children on the same page? Who is to blame for the cool students playing wishy-washy classmates like a fiddle? The high tension story reveals the cruel world of bullying and humiliation, the problems of raising children and the secret troubles of adolescents. In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world; or you can just jump off it.

Easy style of writing a book about a tragic event, a separate look at the events of each character, sharp and emotional plot twists belong to the compelling advantages of the book. Jody Picolt shows a true story, without metaphors and embellishments. However, the best literary trick here was the usage of flashbacks, which helped me see the characters through and puzzle out the mood of a killer. The story also makes you think about friendship, love and revenge, “When you begin a journey of revenge, start by digging two graves: one for your enemy, and one for yourself.”

Speaking about appalling disadvantages, I would like to note that such topic is difficult to reveal in literature. Jody Picolt is too immersed in the psychology of characters; the positions of them are contradictory and it is difficult to understand who is really guilty. Although Peter suffered from bullying, that’s not a reason to kill, right? It also seems that the author wants to reward the killer and say that justice has won (by the price of death of children). As for the plot twists, they are, as in other books, built on a certain pattern: tension, slowing down in the middle and a magic trick at the end. Surly, there is no need to dramatize, but it’s chasing déjà vu feeling!

Overall, the book is emotional and actual, but does not make me want to re-read it. If you are interested in the shooting in American schools and teenager’s bullying, you can read ‘Nineteen Minutes’, it is worth a shot.

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