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03 September 2008

Nineteen Minutes

Jodi Picoult's Nineteen Minutes is an excellent book. Not only is the subject - a school shooting - timely and interesting, but she is a great writer who captures the essence of each of her characters to the point that they are rich and compelling. By the end of the book you have sympathy for the "bad guy" and anger toward some of those who were shot.

A small town in New Hampshire is knocked off of its axis when there is a shooting at the high school. The suspect, who has been taken into custody, walked through the school for nineteen minutes shooting students and teachers. The police reached him in the boy's locker room just as he was about to take his own life.

Beginning with the day of the shooting and then traveling back and forth in time, Picoult illuminates the lives of those effected by the shooting. Though she does not presume to speak for any actual shooting, she captures the emotions and trials of anyone who is forced to deal with tragedy on a large scale.

Picoult, Jodi. (2007). Nineteen Minutes. New York: Atria.

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