Nineteen Minutes

Nineteen Minutes

Book rating: 04 Paperback

By (author) Jodi Picoult

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  • Publisher: Hodder Paperback
  • Format: Paperback | 608 pages
  • Dimensions: 137mm x 197mm x 38mm | 419g
  • Publication date: 3 April 2008
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0340935790
  • ISBN 13: 9780340935798
  • Sales rank: 13,540

Product description

Sterling is a small, ordinary New Hampshire town where nothing ever happens - until a student enters the local high school with an arsenal of guns and starts shooting, changing the lives of everyone inside and out. The daughter of the judge sitting on the case is the state's best witness - but she can't remember what happened in front of her own eyes. Or can she?

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Author information

Jodi Picoult grew up in Nesconset, New York. She received an A.B. in creative writing from Princeton and a master's degree in education from Harvard. Her previous novels include Keeping Faith, The Pact, and Mercy. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children.

Customer reviews

By Astrid Juckenack 01 Jun 2012 2

Personally, I didn't enjoy reading this book very much.
After I reading "My Sister's Keeper" already a while ago and liking it I thought that "Nineteen Minutes" sounded like an interesting book to read, too. I expected to read a boo which looks at the topic of rampages in a differentiated yet sensible way - but it turned out to be nothing like it.
The flashback's toPeter's past a rather obvious and pure cliché. None of them were surprising or at least much different from the "social victim that was always picked on bursts with anger" picture many have of students that run amok anyways. Which would be okay, since I, too, find it important to pay attention to the ordeal some, even though rather young, people are put through in school.

But I think that Jodi Picoult doesn't stress the position of the victims - she wants people to have sympathy for Peter but as for my taste she's taking it one step too far. She does mention that many of Peter's victims are those who never had anything to do with him - yet one feels at times that she, even though I'm sure she didn't mean to do so, has created a justification rather than an explanation for the commited murders.

The writing is okay -neither particularly sophisticated nor disappointing- and I'd say it's a quick read (it took me two nights to finish). So I guess the style is okay, but the content disappointed me a lot, which is why I'm giving this book such a low rating.

By Chang Sun 25 Apr 2012 5

I absolutely loved this book!! perhaps even more than My Sister's keeper! I could not put it down and perhaps the best jodi picoult book so far!

If you do enjoy Jodi's books, or are interest in family, relationship, adolescence, love etc then believe me you have to read this!!!

By Fiona Connolly 08 Apr 2010 5

None of Picoult’s novels can be described as easy reads, but Nineteen Minutes may have been the hardest yet. A master of taking controversial topics and revealing the grey areas to us, Picoult takes our emotions on a rollercoaster ride and doesn’t leave them – or us – quite the same at the end.

Peter Houghton has been bullied his entire life, and Nineteen Minutes shows us what happens when he finally snaps. The beginning certainly grabs the readers’ attention as Peter goes on a shooting rampage in his high school, and the resulting conflicts keep it. As usual, there are numerous subplots linking into the main narrative which help give the story depth. At times they also take attention way from the main character. Peter’s transition from victim to murderer could have been explored more, but the way in which Picoult makes us feel so much for Peter, regardless of what he’s done, makes her oversight forgivable.

The plot is not a new one but the way she tells it is classic Picoult. Starting in the present with the massacre and the aftermath, the story frequently jumps back in time to significant periods that give a deeper insight into the characters and their actions, slowly unravelling the whole picture. The flashbacks allow the story and our understanding to grow over time as we realise not everything is back and white.

Nineteen Minutes was one of our book groups last February. A fantastic novel for discussing as there are so many questions and points to make that really made us think. We had a great discussion which, for me at least, allowed me to enjoy the book even more as I took away other people’s points of view on certain topics and broadened my opinions. I think we all learned something from the discussion and the novel, and had fun doing so. Parts were difficult to discuss but it made the experience richer and was worth the hard read. I think it is safe to say we all thoroughly enjoyed it, but were ready to read something lighter after it.

Review quote

Jodi Picoult is not one to shy away from fictional controversy; in fact, the more tangled and messy a moral dilemma appears, the better she likes it. -- Daily Mail 'As usual Jodi Picoult manages to bring us a hard-hitting, heartbreaking story. Its brilliantly written with feeling and understanding The characters are believable and you can almost feel their emotions as you read.' -- New Books Picoult has been incredibly successful in dissecting the pain that family members go through when faced with sensitive and emotive issues -- Daily Express 'This book makes for uncomfortable reading in light of real life school shootings, but the author's meticulous research at Columbine in the USA makes the book all the more powerful and authentic. An outstanding read.' -- My Weekly Picoult, once again, grabs a razor-sharp issue and uses her brilliantly intricate pen to expose all the shades of grey with PERFECTION. -- Cosmopolitan 'As usual Jodi Picoult manages to bring us a hard-hitting, heartbreaking story. It's brilliantly written with feeling and understanding of how all those involved react to what has happened ... I love Jodi Picoult's writing and would highly recommend it for both personal and reading groups' -- newbooksmag

Editorial reviews

Picoult's 14th novel (after The Tenth Circle, 2006, etc.) of a school shooting begins with high-voltage excitement, then slows by the middle, never regaining its initial pace or appeal.Peter Houghton, 17, has been the victim of bullying since his first day of kindergarten, made all the more difficult by two factors: In small-town Sterling, N.H., Peter is in high school with the kids who've tormented him all his life; and his all-American older brother eggs the bullies on. Peter retreats into a world of video games and computer programming, but he's never able to attain the safety of invisibility. And then one day he walks into Sterling High with a knapsack full of guns, kills ten students and wounds many others. Peter is caught and thrown in jail, but with over a thousand witnesses and video tape of the day, it will be hard work for the defense to clear him. His attorney, Jordan McAfee, hits on the only approach that might save the unlikable kid - a variation of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder caused by bullying. Thrown into the story is Judge Alex Cormier, and her daughter Josie, who used to be best friends with Peter until the popular crowd forced the limits of her loyalty. Also found dead was her boyfriend Matt, but Josie claims she can't remember anything from that day. Picoult mixes McAfee's attempt to build a defense with the mending relationship of Alex and Josie, but what proves a more intriguing premise is the response of Peter's parents to the tragedy. How do you keep loving your son when he becomes a mass murderer? Unfortunately, this question, and others, remain, as the novel relies on repetition (the countless flashbacks of Peter's victimization) rather than fresh insight. Peter fits the profile, but is never fully fleshed out beyond stereotype. Usually so adept at shaping the big stories with nuance, Picoult here takes a tragically familiar event, pads it with plot, but leaves out the subtleties of character.Though all the surface elements are in place, Picoult falters in her exploration of what turns a quiet kid into a murderer. (Kirkus Reviews)