Thursday, 8 January 2015

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult is the story we've seen unfold before but never represented in the way that Picoult has framed for us. In the opening chapter, seventeen-year-old Peter Houghton wakes up one morning and packs his bags for school. Rather than pack the usual text books and stationary, Peter packs two sawn-off shotguns and two pistols as well as a home-made pipe bomb to prepare for a rampage on Stirling High School.

Ninteen Minutes isn't just the story of a school shooting, but a deeper look at how the way we treat people has consequences and that we all have a role to play in shaping people's lives. In true Jodi Picoult style this book has no real heroes, rather that each character is explored and their flaws laid bare. Picoult even takes us back seventeen years before the events at Stirling High School, unfolding Peter's family and childhood to paint a backstory of how he committed his terrible crime.

Growing up Peter is an awkward and unpopular child who has only one friend Josie Cormier. As they reach middle school and Josie is welcomed into the popular crowd, Peter loses his only friend. Over the course of his life at school Peter is constantly bullied, ignored and made fun of until he decides to seek his revenge.

I enjoyed the way Picoult divided the story between different points of view including Josie, her mother who is also the judge sitting on the case, Peter's parents and the detective who is working the case. While Picoult is trying to explore each of the characters, Peter's didn't seem to fit with that of a violent kid who would go on to commit mass murder.

Also I couldn't help but see the character of Josie Cormier as being very one dimensional. She chose to hang out with the popular kids who she hated and her dick-head boyfriend because if she wasn't popular then she would get picked on. It's like the whole school was divided into 'jocks' and 'nerds', when I think the majority of high schools are just filled with normal teenagers.

All in all I think Nineteen Minutes is a book which is well worth picking up at least for the ideas the Picoult is trying to put forward. 

No comments

Post a Comment

© Sundays and Ink. All rights reserved.