Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Nineteen Minutes and a Year

Not long ago, I finished Jodi Picoult’s book, Nineteen Minutes. I loved it, although some critics didn’t.

Peter Houghton, a loner, has been bullied since kindergarten. Only Josie Cormier refrains from making his life miserable. By the time he and his tormentors reach high school, the bullying by certain jocks—members of the hockey team—has increased substantially, and Josie has joined the popular crowd that delights in bullying him. Armed with guns he’s stolen from a neighbor, Peter shoots 31 students—10 of them fatally—in nineteen minutes. Then he is arrested and eventually goes to trial. The ending is a surprise.

But Picoult says, “As with all my books, I knew the ending before I wrote the first word.”

From Picoult’s website:
Rich with psychological and social insight, Nineteen Minutes is a riveting, poignant, and thought-provoking novel that has at its center a haunting question. Do we ever really know someone?

One year ago today at Virginia Tech—two counties away from where I live—Cho Seung-Hui, a loner, killed over 32 people before killing himself. Did anyone ever really know him? Did he know the ending? We are still haunted by what happened—and why.

Today is a Day of Remembrance at Virginia Tech.


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Blogger Amy Hanek said...

My mother has been hounding me to read this poignant novel by Picoult. It is on my must-read list.

Thanks for reminding me what a great book I have been putting off - I will move it up the list!

1:40 PM  
Blogger Amy Tate said...

Interesting. Did the book come out before the shooting out in Colorado or after the fact? It looks like an "on the edge of your seat book", I'll have to add it to my rising pile.

2:08 PM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

The hardback edition hit the bookstores on March 7, 2007— one month plus one week before the VA Tech shootings.

2:58 PM  
Blogger Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

I'm surprised I didn't hear about it before then. You'd think, being so timely, it'd be all over the place.

I always want to know why. How do people become sick and evil? How does someone not FEEL another's pain?

10:01 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

I started this book and was not prepared for the storyline. We lived a few miles away from Columbine at the time that happened. This is the second time I've unsuccessfully read Piccoult, and I've given up.

I don't like this week (each year). OK City. Columbine. VT (which happened a few months before we moved here). I don't think about it (the week) consciously, but it's always there under the surface.

11:42 PM  

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