this afternoon I finished a book that has left me somber. nineteen minutes tells the story of peter houghton, a 17 year old who has endured years of teasing and bullying, beginning his very first day of kindergarten. the abuse never lets up, and sometimes is very physical. the book centers around peter, Josie -his friend and protector the first 12 years of his life- and their families.

it moves back and forth through time, beginning with the awful day that peter realizes he can’t take anymore abuse and goes on a shooting rampage in his school. it chronicles milestones in his and josie’s lives, telling peter’s painful story: the bullying, the golden older brother whose shadow he’ll never fill, the parents who just don’t realize what’s going on.

when these things happen in real life, it’s easy and justifiable to blame the shooter. so often, we don’t look into his heart, his feelings.

this book touched a nerve in me. I endured four years of misery that was supposed to be high school. I can’t tell you how many times I fantasized about hurting my tormentors the way they hurt me. I know in my heart that many, many people have felt like that. the difference is, most of us don’t act on those thoughts.

the thing I really liked about this book was the way the author -jodi picoult- wrote from many different perspectives. there’s bound to be one to appeal to any reader, whether it’s the mother of the shooter, the parent of a lost life, the judge who has known peter all of his life, or peter himself.

it was a good read; emotional and thought provoking, but very good. 19-minutes.jpg