by Jodi Picoult
Most readers will look at the cover of this book and say I am crazy for selecting this title as my Thrilling Thursday selection. Synonyms of the word thrilling include: breathtaking, electrifying, gripping, stimulating, mind-blowing, stirring, and sensational (to name more than a few). This book exemplifies all of these words.
On my husband's 37th birthday the United States was shocked when two teenagers killed twelve students and a teacher, wounded 23 others and then committed suicide in Columbine, Colorado. It was the first time I had ever felt vulnerable as an educator. As a member of our campus crisis team we had talked about what to do in the case of a tornado, fire, or an evacuation. We had never discussed an active shooter scenario. The following school year, our team began talking about what we would do if an active shooter were to come on campus, or God forbid into the building.
A friend recommended Nineteen Minutes to me. I believe it was the first of Jodi Picoult's books I ever read. When I began reading this book, I had no preconceived notions. I really didn't even know what the book was about. I didn't read the blurb because I didn't want to have any kind of spoiler. I wanted to enjoy the book for the story and not for what I might predict would happen.
As I found out later, Jodi Picoult enjoys taking on a challenge. She seems to love controversy while making the reader step back and reconsider their own beliefs. She made me do just that. Nineteen Minutes is the amount of time it took for the small town of Sterling, New Hampshire to be shattered much like Columbine. I don't want to give any more of the story away. I do want you to know you will question your beliefs about so many different subjects when you have finished reading this book. I would love to hear back from anyone who reads the book because of this recommendation.
Here are a few questions to ponder.
- What are your feelings toward Peter Houghton at the beginning of the book?
- Do those feelings change as you read his story? If so, how and why?
- Is anyone a victor at the end of this book? Why or why not?
- Why do you think there are so many instances of school violence?