Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

From the Publisher:

In nineteen minutes, you can mow the front lawn, color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game. In nineteen minutes, you can bake scones or get a tooth filled by a dentist; you can fold laundry for a family of five…. In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world, or you can just jump off it. In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge.
Sterling is a small, ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens — until the day its complacency is shattered by a shocking act of violence. In the aftermath, the town’s residents must not only seek justice in order to begin healing but also come to terms with the role they played in the tragedy. For them, the lines between truth and fiction, right and wrong, insider and outsider have been obscured forever. Josie Cormier, the teenage daughter of the judge sitting on the case, could be the state’s best witness, but she can’t remember what happened in front of her own eyes. And as the trial progresses, fault lines between the high school and the adult community begin to show, destroying the closest of friendships and families.

Nineteen Minutes is New York Times–bestselling author Jodi Picoult’s most raw, honest, and important novel yet. Told with the straightforward style for which she has become known, it asks simple questions that have no easy answers: Can your own child become a mystery to you? What does it mean to be different in our society? Is it ever okay for a victim to strike back? And who — if anyone — has the right to judge someone else?

My Comments:
Through some sort of wonderful fluke, Barnes and Noble sent me my re-order early and I read this last week.

Picoult is by far my favorite author. She’s only mildly disappointed me once with one of her early works, Picture Perfect. And while this book moved me right down to my toes, I feel that she’s gotten a little political this time. Picoult has a gift of taking all sides of an issue and showing you things you never considered. She acomplished that this time as usual, but I felt she was more one-sided. That is most likely because I’m very sensitive to certain issues. I’m very conservative politically and I don’t like conservatives being protrayed as bad guys in books, or at least more accurately in this case, never the hero. I’m also very pro second ammendment rights, and I knew this book would tough on some issues close to home for me, but I trusted Picoult to handle it with her typical even handedness. I was a little disapointed this time. Maybe I’m the one who has gotten political, but I was hoping for something different.

Politics aside, it was a wonderful, deep read. I stayed up reading into the wee hours simply because I literally could not put it down. I wept openly after reading the final page. It made me ask so many questions about myself as a parent and I felt so hopeless. This mother thought she knew her child, and she did. Better then so many of us I think. But she still didn’t *know* him. She didn’t know what was going on inside his heart and his mind. And it led to tragedy I can only imagine. Do we ever really know our children as well as we think we do?

It made me so grateful that we home school our children. Bullying isn’t a small thing anymore. It can’t be ignored. And it’s only one challenge of many that affect our children in a serious way, especially at school. It made me really stop and listen to the words my children use with each other. They are usually very kind to each other, but it doesn’t take much to start a bad habit of hurt feelings that can build and build.

While I am slightly disappointed in the manner in which Picoult handled parts of some issues, this book was amazing. I’ve yet to find another author who has touched me to my very soul. I can hardly wait for her next book to come out and I look forward to reading the few I haven’t read yet.

And she’s a very nice lady! I wrote her an e-mail once about her book Tenth Circle and she e-mailed me back very quickly and was so wonderful. Her readers truly matter to her.

Keep It Or Pass It On?
I’ll be keeping this one. At least until Mom’s visit when she can borrow it!

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