By Jodi Picoult
A thought provoking piece by Jodi Picoult, Nineteen Minutes centers around a teenager who goes on a shooting rampage in his school.
Peter Houghton was never the “popular” kid in school. He always ended up being bullied by someone or the other, with no friends to his rescue…rather no friends at all.
The story is about how his elder brother never came to his rescue right from the first day of kindergarten; his childhood friend Josie abandoning him to join the “popular” cheerleader gang; his parents not understanding him through his worries. The peak of his patience is reached when he is gravely insulted and he ends up killing about 10 people and injuring 19 others, in nineteen minutes.
Josie’s mother presides over Peter’s trial and as the events are uncovered in search of truth, parents and children are shocked to realize the actions and behaviors that led to it all.
Picoults tact of smooth prose and driving narrative pace is one of the reasons it is difficult to put the book down once you start reading it. She portrays the emotional battles of the all the characters realistically, with a lot of ease.
The ideation though simple was delivered in a very impressive way. Hoards of emotions were explored addressing sensitive and difficult issues that are usually not discussed openly in the fear of bringing them to reality.
She spins a grasping tale of intolerance, fear, horror, insight, rage, depression, and varied other emotions that people generally choose to ignore.
The author’s extensive research on the subject reflects in the sensational plot (based on true scenarios). She coaxes readers to address issues that affect society at large.
Peter was driven into a situation where he took extreme violent measures. Had someone lent him a listening ear, or helped him overcome his fear, or stood by him, the tragedy wouldn’t be as drastic.
The book can truly help make the world a little kinder, stronger and maybe more safer for kids to grow up into understanding adults who respect and make space for others.