Sunday, April 15, 2007


As most of you know, Jodi Picoult is my all time favorite author. I have loved every single one of her books since I picked up Perfect Match about 4 years ago. She doesn't write nearly often enough, only publishing about once a year, leaving me wondering why she can't be like Karen Kingsbury, publishing almost every other month? Unfortunately though, her latest, Nineteen Minutes, left me a little bummed. Where was the super-charged ending? The huge twist? Oh had to happen sometime.

The story follows Peter (as well as a myriad of other characters) before, during, and after he goes on a shooting rampage at his school, killing 10 of his classmates and wounding 19 others. Peter has been socially tormented by these students since the first day of kindergarten and every single day after that. He is humiliated day after day, but his one saving grace is Josie, his only friend in the world. When she turns on him too, in favor of the popular crowd, Peter simply loses it and as the humiliation continues, his angry just continues to build until the result is a major school shooting. Picoult centers on the trial and the individuals most involved in Peter's life, allowing the reader to feel sympathy for not just the victims, but for Peter as well.

Picoult's stories are always books that I have to read slowly, to savor, but this one was a rather quick read. I didn't feel compelled to savor. It was a good plot, but the characters were not nearly as deep as in past books. I found Josie to be somewhat whiny, as I did Lacy, Peter's mother. Yes, both had reason to be to whiny, but it wasn't whiny in a tragic way. It was just plain whiny. The ending did have a twist, as most of her books do, but it wasn't dramatic and I almost saw it coming. Typically, ya just don't see the train before it hits you. For example, in My Sister's Keeper. I don't know, maybe I'm being too hard on this book, simply because it wasn't quite as outstanding as her others, however I did finish the book feeling a little disappointed. Oh well, I'm a little bummed, but definitely ready for her next one!! Too bad I have to wait until next Spring. :-( Nineteen Minutes gets an 8 out of 10.

Oh and just a quick update on the Banned Books Challenge. I'm giving up. And being blunt about it! :-) I don't like to give up on things, especially things that I, or someone else, has challenged me to, however I just don't want to do this one anymore. All of the books I've picked, besides the two I did accomplish, are heavy, depressing books and as I said in my last posting, Nineteen Minutes, was the last of the heavy reading I wanted to do for awhile. With the upcoming nuptials pending, I want lighthearted, quick reads to keep me going, rather than heavy and harsh. Therefore, I am abandoning the Banned Books challenge. It's ok to give up sometimes right? I'm still sticking with the Spring Read Thing, even if some of the books are a little "tragic" in nature (i.e. Left Behind) and I'm also sticking with the Non-Fiction 5, starting in May. I think I'll be ok with those two challenges and the choices I've made for those, as well as some extra credit books that are bound to pop up. Enjoy your Sunday!


Debi said...

I think you made the right decision...why force yourself to read something simply because of a book challenge. Reading should be enjoyable, a learning experience, in some way positive; it shouldn't be a chore!
By the way, I'm so glad you mentioned that the Non-Fiction Five wasn't starting until next month...I'd assumed it had already started. So excited to come up with my five and get signed up!

Boltbabe said...

I almost put down the last book I read. But I pushed forward, and kept wondering if I was wasting my time. However, when my son puts something in front of me to read, I put a priority on that. =)

Good review. I also read another mediocre review about this title. So, you have sealed the deal; it won't be going on my list.

Katya said...

You know I had a problem with the ending of My Sister's Keeper. This one, I had a problem with the premise -- I think a judge whose daughter was so intimately involved would be expected to recuse herself, so I decided not to read this one. Can you recommend a Picoult book that you really liked?

Bookfool said...

Yes, it's definitely fine to give up. Reading should be fun and if the titles aren't right for you at this moment, that's fine. You can always come back to them when you're in a mood that you can handle bummer reading.

I'm not a Picoult fan, myself, but I was planning to give this one a go. Hmmm, maybe not. I've got Salem Falls on my shelf; I'll just stick with that one. Thanks! Great review!

Amanda said...

Katya, I love My Sister's Keeper, but that one gets mixed reviews from other people (see BookFool's comment), I also loved Perfect Match, Plain Truth, and Keeping Faith.

Gavin said...

If you get a chance to listen to the dramatized audio version of the Left Behind series, they are really well done.


Cee Cee said...

Amanda, you've made the right decision. No worries.

I've been looking at Picoult's books for a while now. If you could recommend just one, what would it be..then I'm off to the store. I knew I wouldn't enjoy this offering especially in light of what happened today.

I really like your patchwork of books! Happy reading!

Amanda said...

Hmm...just one? I guess that would be My Sister's Keeper. It's a Jodi book all the way. Just keep a tissue box nearby!

Cee Cee said...

Yesterday I'm standing in front of a Picoult buy-one-get-one free display at Borders. Didn't know which book you suggested because I hadn't read it yet. Low and behold let me tell you how frustrated I was! I had to wait on maintenance for my car so I must have stood in front of that display for an hour!! Why don't they have a computer for internet use!??

Needless to say, I did purchase MY SISTER'S KEEPER, KEEPING FAITH, and VANISHING ACTS. And I wasn't supposed to spend any money. Yea. Right! Thanks for the rec!

Amanda said...

YAY Cee Cee!! I can't wait to hear how you liked them!