Nineteen Minutes

…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?Ā  – 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*.

*for the rating scale, click here.

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7 comments on “Nineteen Minutes

  1. Nu says:

    whoops !!! Nice review btw !

  2. Oh…I loved the book too. But it also scared the shit out of me given that it’s a client group I work with. I could see some kids in primary school being bullied and no one having an effect on the bully and finding myself wondering whether this was the path they were headed. On the bright side, gun laws here are very different to the US. I felt so sorry for Peter though…especially once cyberbullying begins. I tell my clients here that the minute there’s cyber bullying they should save things and take it to the cops. I seriously think laws need to change around how bullying is dealt with. I must say I’m so grateful for not growing up in a time where cyberbullying existed.

    • Titaxy says:

      It is so scary, isn’t it? Never know who will turn out to be what and what would trigger one to go to an extent of taking lives.

      You know what, all the time I was reading the book, I was thinking about you. How you have to deal with teenagers and how you might see some like Peter.

      I felt v sorry for the boy too…more so for his parents, his mother, especially. Losing both the boys must’ve been soooooo hard. šŸ˜¦

  3. oh will pick it up sounds a little like “We Need to talk about Kevin” that is also a brilliant book must read

  4. […] a review though it does discuss the book to some extent, if you want to read a review of this book go here to Bond With Books where it has been done very well by Titaxy) Its a book about a child named Peter who shoots down 10 […]

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