…by Jodi Picoult.
This is the story about a shooting spree in a high school where a student, Peter, kills 10 and injuries many more. Right from his kindergarten days Peter is bullied by his classmates. His non-athletic build, emotional nature, doesn’t-fit-into-the-popular-crowd character makes him an outcast in the school, giving his classmates every opportunity to take advantage of his sensitivity. Even one of Peter’s best friends, Josie, eventually leaves him behind and joins the popular kids’ crowd. At home, Peter’s constant need to live up to the standards his brother has set builds up intense emotions in him. All this built up tension, from school and home, leads to the 19 minute shooting spree in his school where he kills his fellow classmates and gets arrested for it.
What all events lead to Peter’s gruesome act of taking things under his own hands? Did Peter have psychological disorders? How does this effect Peter’s parents? How does Peter take it after being arrested? How does the victims’ families react? How does Josie, Peter’s one time best friend, hold up when she learns that her boyfriend Matt was one of the victims? Who blames whom for the cruel 19minutes that took people’s lives? Does Peter get convicted? – all these questions and more are answered in this well crafted story.
This is definitely one very emotionally gripping tale. There is just so many factors as to why one acts a certain way…and that’s very well brought up. I, especially, loved the way the author has weaved how this one incident took a toll on the victims’ and the convict’s parents. Parental emotions are not so easy to put in words…a love so eternal, a love that looks beyond all the flaws, a love that knows no bounds when it comes to caring for the child…all this very well described in the story. Also, all that Peter had to go through right from his childhood, how all that pushed him to do the unthinkable – this was very well written. And of course, the part about being a teenager – how stupid they can be, how they don’t think much about the consequences rather settle for short term content, how detatched they can get from their family – the author has done a good job describing.
The only thing I couldn’t quite come in terms with was Josie’s part on the day of the shooting. As much as I understood the roots of what made her do what she did, I think that the author could’ve dived into the relationship of Matt and Josie a bit more to justify her act. Although light was shed on the negative aspect of Josie-Matt relationship, I didn’t feel like that was enough to have her do something drastic.
Overall, a highly recommended read.
My rating: 4*.
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