Wednesday, May 9, 2007
I have gone to hear Jodi Picoult speak twice. She is a lovely woman, very generous, and I can just imagine her as a neighbor that I would chat with outside or have over for dinner. She loves talking to her fans, answering their questions, and is very grateful for their support. She falls into the popular fiction category more than the literary fiction category, though I know her biggest fans would argue with that. She seems to have a formula that she is comfortable with, it often includes teenagers, often a court scene, and pretty much always a twist at the very end. I have read many of Picoult's books. Some I have liked and some have just been so-so. I keep reading her, though, and I think it's because I just like HER so much.
I finished her most recent offering, Nineteen Minutes, a few days ago. It is about a school shooting, the events leading up to it and the aftermath. The difference in her story is that the shooter survives the event and goes to jail. She presents him in a very sympathetic light. There is the usual twist at the end, but I thought it a bit too abrupt and wish she'd spent more time on it. Overall, I liked the book and thought it one of her better ones.
This phenomenon of school shootings in the United States is quite horrifying on many different levels. The fact that this is not generally occurring in other countries should be some sort of huge red flag to our government that something needs to change. What are we doing differently that is leading to this? Guns, of course, are a big factor. Also, I believe it is our education system. Perhaps it should be more rigorous and intense so that students don't have so much time to spend on their social lives. I think this topic was of interest to Picoult because she looks for controversial topics but I think primarily because she is the mother of teenagers and was driven to research and understand how and why these shootings happen.
Life around here lately has brought one sick child - strep throat, and one very tired Mommy. In the last 2 1/2 months my daughter has had strep twice, conjunctivitis and an ear infection. I do hope this cycle ends.