A Day In The Life

Nineteen Minutes
April 10, 2007, 9:47 pm
Filed under: Books

“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.” 


I spent the Easter weekend in bed with a nasty sinus infection.   In my usual attempt to always see a positive side in any situation, I will also add that I was able to read a very powerful book (between blowing my nose and coughing) over the Easter weekend.   The book is “Nineteen Minutes” by Jodi Picoult. 

This book is about a school shooting.  It is not a book to be read for entertainment purposes only.  It is a raw and intense journey through the life of the young man who does the shooting.  It is an examination of the guilt, trauma and pain of his parents.  It is a glimpse of what it feels like to be an outcast in high school society.  It is a trip along the tightrope of high school popularity where one misstep will send a child plummeting. 

This book is powerful.  You can’t help but identify with the characters.  You can’t help but ask yourself so many questions as you get caught up in the story.  Is it ever okay for a victim to strike back?  What does it mean to be different?  Who has the right to judge?  How can you not know your own child? 


11 Comments so far
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i’ve never been interested in jodi picoult, but your review has piqued my interest. i’d sure like to borrow this book if i see it in the library…


Comment by sulz

As my children enter school age, I worry about them. I don’t want them to be the Popular kids – but Lord knows I would HATE it if they became outcasts too. I really hated high school and hope my children have a better time at it.

Comment by Karmyn R

I’ve actually got the book on hold at the library… I’m really anxious to read it now! Thanks for the review!!

Comment by Jodi

This is terribly frightening, particularly the four questions you ask. Is it ok for a victim to strike back? I remember my son getting bullied immercifully in elementary school by the student who followed him alphabetically in his class. Wouldn’t you think the teacher would have figured out a different way to keep track of her students? He sat behind him in class and walked behind him in line. My son could not get away from him. After months of being pushed, poked, and having his heels rubbed raw he finally turned around one day and popped the kid in the nose. They suspended him for a few days, but honestly, I was so glad that he stood up for himself. Is that bad of me?

Comment by gawilli

I’ve read almost everything Jodi Picoult has written but that book. I was afraid it would be dark. If you like it, more than likely I will like it so maybe I’ll get it this weekend.

Comment by Vicki

I’m glad you are feeling better. I wish I could mail you chicken soup.

Comment by Vicki

Sounds educating. . .I might have to find it and have a read. . .

Comment by Shauna

Did you and I watch “Bang, Bang, You’re Dead” one night at my house? Somehow, your description of this book made me think of that movie.

All I can hope for is that I’m raising The Offspring to be confident and self-reliant, enough to fend off the bullies, and even her overbearing mother, if need be.

(BTW, LOVE the new photo of you and your seniors on your choir blog – forgot to tell you today! And thanks for the loot!)

Comment by Tiggerlane

It sounds like a must-read. It’s so hard for kids to deal with all that goes on now a days. And it does seem to me that it is worse…or maybe we are just hearing more about it.

Comment by Susan

Those are some tough questions and I have very mixed feelings about the possible answers. I will have to pipe in with Gawilli and say that it’s so hard to not be happy to see your kid take charge of a situation. We’re not supposed to teach our kids to lash out, but there are times in kidhood when that seems the most appropriate action. My husband was bullied by one particular kid in school for months. The kid kept hitting him and pushing him. Finally, one day Philip turned to the bully and punched him in the nose and the bully never touched him again.

I was bullied too and managed to finally defeat the bullies by ceasing to fear them. I said to one: “OK, go ahead and hit me. Just do it because I’m tired of this and I’m not going to fight you. So just hit me and get it done so we can move on.” This made the bully stop, then she wanted to be my friend (ha! I wasn’t so keen on her!)

So it’s hard to say. I want my kid to stand up for himself but how do you teach that without teaching any kind of retaliation?

I would be scared to read this book.

I’m not excited to send my son to high school either Karmyn!

Comment by Angelina

i have to say i am currently on page 401 and this book is amazing! im not a big reader at all and havent been able to put the book down! i cant believe how interested and how much ive read in such a short time! another great book is “tuesdays with morrie!”

Comment by jon2011

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