Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult is about a bullied high school kid who seeks revenge on his classmates who have bullied him all his life. Jodi Picoult attempts to get inside the head of the person who could commit such a crime and the people in the same town who are directly affected by this tragedy.
Picoult writes vividly what could have happened at that time during the shooting and afterwards. She tries to make us, her readers, understand what Peter, the shooter, could have been thinking when he decided to shoot his classmates. Picoult also takes us back in time to the start of Peter’s school life to learn why he could have done what he did. We learn to sympathize with him and think of him as a high school kid, and not as a psychopath who went on a shooting rampage at his school.
Picoult also takes us into the mind of the victims and the parents of the victims to have a sense of what’s happening. We get into the mind of Josie Cormier, Peter’s former best friend, whose boyfriend is killed by Peter. We also get in the mind of Alex Cormier, Josie’s mother, as she tries to help her daughter understand the situation and, at the same time, understand the mind of her daughter.
As with her other books, Nineteen Minutes is a book that tugs at your heart more and more with every page. You will root for the seemingly wrong people and curse the right ones. But most of all, you will be able to understand even for a bit what happened and why it happened. In Picoult’s website’s message board, a lot of of readers said that Nineteen Minutes helped them understand what was an otherwise senseless act.