The Life of Bon: Bon's Book Club: Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Bon's Book Club: Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

It occurred to me the other day that people who haven't read our book selection of the month probably don't care much to read the book club post in case of spoilers, or not really understanding anything that is being talked about.  So from here on out I'll do a "If you haven't read the book" book talk and a "If you have read the book" book talk.

If you want more deets on book club go here.  Every month we gather together the last Thursday of the month to talk about a book that we all read that month.  It's fun!  Next month's book is "Why Not Me?" by Mindy Kaling and the book discussion will be Thursday, June 30. (My birthday!)

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult Book Club

The "If you haven't read the book" review:

-  The main gist of the book is that it is about a boy, Peter, who has been severely bullied since kindergarten.  He creates a video game where he wins by shooting and killing the popular kids and jocks who have bullied him.  Eventually, the bullying becomes so severe that Peter brings the video game to life and kill ten classmates and injures many others.

- The book is a very sympathetic look at killers involved in school shootings and what led them to get there.  It definitely does not place all the blame on Peter, but really the myriad of kids who severely bullied him and all of the adults who could have stepped into help, but didn't.  Teachers overlooked the bullying, saying it was "just a part of high school" and when he told his mom about it as a young boy she told him he would just have to fit in.  You can tell that Picoult really wants readers to sympathize with Peter and it makes you question your certainty of who the "victims" are in these cases.

- All in all I thought the book was very interesting.  The first 150 pages or so were sloooooow but once it got going I had a hard time putting it down.  I read the last 200 pages in 2 days.  Picoult is a great storyteller and creates very real characters- this part I loved.

- I would recommend this book to most people with the following caveats:
1.  It is heavy and sad, as can be expected from the book intro.
2.  It is quite long- 450 pages.  Picoult can be overly descriptive to the point of distraction.
3.  There are sex scenes between teenagers and some language.  I think it'd be a PG-13 or R rated movie depending on how graphic it was made.

The "If you have read the book" review:

- I found it hard to like any of the people in this book.  Alex is maybe supposed to be the protagnoist?  But to me she was a pretty cold and often selfish mother.  Josie was a liar (which I thought was pretty easy to guess from the beginning that she was lying about not knowing anything).  Peter was a killer, Peter's parents were totally unaware and uninvolved, Josie's boyfriend was abusive, etc, etc, etc.  I kind of felt like Picoult was focusing on the worst of humanity and that was hard for me.  Who am I supposed to be rooting for here?!

-I did like Patrick, the detective, but did not like it when he randomly got together with Alex.  As the only two single adults in the book, I thought it was obvious that Picoult would have them hook up.  But I didn't really buy it.  For all the detail she includes I felt like she didn't develop their relationship at all and it just felt forced.  And the random pregnancy at the end?

- I did like the twist at the end (Josie being the one who first shot Matt) but I also thought it was a little weird considering how heavily she was grieving after his death.  Again, some parts of this didn't quite make sense all the way to me.

- At some parts it was hard for me to believe all the bullying that was going on and all of the adults that were totally ignoring it.  At our book club on Tuesday I asked if others thought bullying was really this severe in our country.  Some said yes, others said no.  I went to high school and have worked in a high school for six years, and I don't think I'm naive to the stuff teenagers do and say, but I really think bullying on this extreme a level is not common.  (The pulling down his pants, stuffing him into lockers, spamming out personal emails admitting to a girl that he likes her, throwing his lunch box off of the bus, etc.)

-Josie's abusive relationship with Matt was very interesting to me.  That was probably the most interested/ invested I was in the book.

Alright, tell me your thoughts!  I am toying with the idea of reading another Picoult book because I did enjoy this one for the most part.  Those of you who are huge Picoult fans, what do you recommend?

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