Sunday, February 10, 2008

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
480 pages
Finished 2/9/08

I have read all but one of Jodi Picoult's novels - I think the only one I haven't read was her very first book. Since I've read all of her books, I've found that most of them follow the same formula, with a "surprise twist" at the end of the book. This formula obviously works for her, as she's sold a ton of books, but as a reader it gets a little annoying.

The story is about a pretty sensitive matter - a 17 year old boy brings a gun to school, and ends up shooting at killing 10 people. The story jumps back and forth after the shooting - it goes from 17 years before the shooting, to one month after the shooting, to 11 years before the shooting, etc. I like this way of telling the story - it interweaves the characters and the story and gives you a good feel for the characters.

I liked the book, although, as I mentioned before, Picoult's books all seem to follow the same formula. That said, I figured out what the surprise twist would be almost immediately - it was pretty obvious to me within the first couple of chapters. The ending also seemed a little off - the last paragraph seemed a little thrown together, with not enough detail about certain characters, and other characters seemed to have their story wrapped up with a little bow (a little too happy of an ending).

I did have a little bit of problem with some her her timelines - maybe I was reading too fast, but in one part of the book, the storyline said that two brothers were starting school a year apart - one was starting kindergarten when his older brother was in first grade. Later in the book, it was mentioned that they were two years apart (10 & 8), which still makes it possible to be a year school-wise apart. However, later on in the book, it talks about one year before the accident, and I understood it as the younger brother was in 9th grade, and the older brother was somehow a senior. Maybe I don't get it, but it was a little confusing.

One thing that I like about Picoult's books is how she uses some of the same characters - in this book, there are at least 3 people that have been the main characters in some of her other books (The Pact, Perfect Match, and Salem Falls). You don't have to read the other books before reading this one, but it is helpful, especially since this book gives away relationships that are in the other books.

Overall, I thought it was a pretty good book.

Three stars.

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