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 well...it 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!