Book Review: Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

We’ve read about them in the newspaper, heard about them on the radio and seen the aftermath on television. There’s no denying that school shootings are tragic events that are prominent in our society.

It’s hard to imaging the effect such a tragedy may have on a town and the families of victims, among others. But best-selling author Jodi Picoult is there to provide a fictitious behind the scenes view to a very real issue.

In her novel Nineteen Minutes, a small town in New Hampshire is shaken by a school shooting and Picoult explores the events leading up to and following the incident from various characters’ points of view.

The author bravely delves into a sensitive issue and reminds us that there is always more than one side to a story. She makes you realize that when traumatic events like this happen, it’s not only the victims and their families that are affected, but the community as a whole. And that the shooter isn’t the only one viewed as the bad guy, but there’s also the lawyer who agrees to defend him and the innocent unknowing parents woh share the health and blame. Picoult presents the story so that you’re able to see it from all angles; angles you didn’t even think would exist.

Knowing that this fictitious story is very much similar to the reality of school shootings is  chilling and a real eye-opener. When we read stories about events like this in the news, we only get a view from the outside looking in. In Nineteen Minutes Picoult breaks that fourth wall, taking the reader and their emotions for a roller coaster ride with the characters making it feel as though we’re experience the issue ourselves.

It’s a page turner that makes you as the reader continually ask questions such as “why did this happen?” “how could someone do such a thing?” and “why didn’t they see this coming?”. Picoult makes her signature imprint by including a plot twist at the end. Though the novel jumps back and forth on a time machine, traveling from the past to the present nonchalantly, the story flows well and all of the characters are delicately strung into a web that in the end makes sense.

Picoult is well versed and it’s evident that deep research was done in order to make the novel as accurate as possible. From the legal terms to the history of mental illness, she nailed it all.

As published in humberlife newspaper.