Monday, September 14, 2009

Nineteen Minutes - Book Review

Nineteen Minutes
by Jodi Picoult
Atria Books 2007

This book revolves around 4 characters. Alex Cormier and her daughter Josie. Lacy Houghton and her son Peter. It is also about school violence and why it happens.

Alex is a lawyer and has just been promoted to the superior court of New Hampshire after spending 5 years as a district court judge. Alex is a single mother with just the one daughter Josie.

Lacy is an OB/GYN and she delivers babies. Lacy and her husband Lewis used to have 2 boys. Joe the older son had been killed by a drunk driver the previous year. Peter the younger son was withdrawn and depressed. Joe had been the favourite son, the smart one, the sports jock and the social butterfly.

Peter was always a very quiet kid, and fron the day he started kindergarten, he had been bullied by his school mates. Peter never said anything about being bullied. Peter was always being told by his teachers and his parents - Why can't you be more like Joe? But Joe was not perfect either. Joe had also teased Peter at school.

When Joe died the parents had both grieved over the loss of their smart son and they pretty much left Peter to his own devices.

Peter had only one friend - Josie Cormier. they hads been good friends in the lower grades. But when Josie had started making new friends, she was pressured by these new friends to stop being friends with the weird guy Peter. So she did. By the time they reached high school they had drifted apart.

This was the scene for the violent massacre at the local high school. Ten kids were killed and dozens wounded.

The first half of this novel was about Josie and Peters early lives when they were friends. The second half of the book is taken up with Peter's trial - as the state and the town of Sterling (New Hampshire) tried to understand why Peter Houghton had gone on a killing spree.

This was Jodi's first book to debut at #1 on the New York Times Best Seller list.

I know what it is like to be bullied. When I was 8 and 9, I was bullied by a kid who was from a different school than mine. But I had to walk past his home every day going to and from my school. He owned this big huge dog (possibly a german shephard). Every day he would have this dog, crouch and jump up on me and then stop me from walking forwards, and sometimes the dog was even told to push me into the road, in front of oncomimg traffic

When I was 10 I got my first bike and was allowed to ride to school. So while I still passed his home, I was going too fast for him or his dog to catch me.

To this day I am terrified of large dogs (german shephards, labradors, huskies) and I am terrified of any large dog is running around free where I am, because they might attack me.

There is one large labrador dog in my apartment building who is so quiet and so well behaved that I know he wont hurt me. I have never heard him bark in all the 7 years I have lived in this building.

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