Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Nineteen Minutes

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.


Nan said...

Tara, do you know the Cheryl Wheeler song, If It Were Up To Me? It was written ten years ago, but is just as meaningful today, I think.

Bookfool said...

Oooh, I love your blog! I'm so glad you visited me. :)

Sorry about the sick kiddo. Mine had a migraine, last night. Wow, can he whine! I felt for him, the poor thing inherited migraines from me. Hope your daughter recovers quickly and gets off that roller coaster of repetitive infections. I'm beat, too. I think I'll take a 30-minute nap before I have to go sit in the school line.

Iliana said...

I've only read "My Sister's Keeper" which unfortunately I didn't enjoy very much. Especially the end! I keep hearing such good things about Jodi Picoult though that I will definitely try another of her books. Anyway, hope your daughter feels better!

Tara said...

Nan, I did not recognize the Cheryl Wheeler song, thank you for sharing it with me. I agree, the message is very relevent.

Bookfool, thank you, and thanks for visiting me! Migraines sound awful, I've never had one and they seem debilitating. A nap sounds like a dream...

Bookgirl, I can understand not liking 'My Sister's Keeper'. I liked the idea of the book, but thought there was too much extraneous filler. I, also, hated the ending but it's classic Picoult. I think my favorite book by her has been 'Second Glance'. It's a while since I read it, but remember liking it. I believe Picoult has said it's her favorite of her own books. And thanks, she's mostly better but still very hoarse; it's worrying me.