Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
(Atria Books, 2007, 464 pages)
When the residents of Sterling woke up on a cold March morning, they had no idea Peter Houghton would change their town forever. Peter has been the victim of bullying since his first day of kindergarten. He endured years of torment that led him to lashing out in an unthinkable violent way. One of Peter’s victims is the boyfriend of Josie Cormier, who used to be friends with Peter when they were young. Josie decided to abandon Peter when she thought it would be easier for her social status to rise without him. Now Josie and Peter must face the consequences that their actions have had on one another.
This was an interesting book to read for the second time. The first time I picked it up was in 2007, right after it was published. Since then, there have been multiple school shootings, including the tragedies at Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook. I’m not sure if I was a little too young to completely understand what happened at Columbine but this time around, the read seemed more intense and life-like. Maybe this was because those shootings happened when I was more understanding of what was happening in the world. Picoult has a great ability to take current events and display the issues from both sides of the spectrum. In Nineteen Minutes, Picoult covered the victims of the shooting trying to move on with their lives and Peter as the victim of bullying that led up to the shooting.