Dear Jodi Picoult

April 18, 2008
Dear Jodi Picoult,

Books are like food. They feed your mind and change your mood. Reading your book, Nineteen Minutes, is a feast with mouth watering words and motifs dripping in a luscious sauce. The most delicious ingredient in your book, however, is how you transform readers like me into completely different people.

In Nineteen Minutes the most dynamic and impactful character was, for my part, not Josie, but Peter Houghton. I think that some readers connect with Peter better than characters like Josie or Matt because Peter was a victim of bullying at his high school. Even so, Peter’s fury at being a victim to the horror of online, verbal, and physical harassment changed my opinion of Peter and the book itself. By the time I finished Nineteen Minutes I had heard from the voice of, not the viewer of the bullying, but the bullied and realized how real Peter’s situation was. Suddenly, I was all too aware of people around me being called “fags” and others getting pushed into walls and lockers. After reading your book I’ve recognized who’s really getting the “echo of the call.” The bully. Disturbing as Peter’s actions were, they were still real. And real people get bullied every day. It’s up to people who have been victim to or witnessed bullying, like me, to prevent it. Nineteen Minutes has made me realize that.

Another delectable ingredient in Nineteen Minutes is how you use the theme that anything can happen in nineteen minutes and how anything could have changed those same nineteen minutes. Sometimes, I even think I know a real life Peter. He’s the same quiet, weak, and vulnerable boy Peter was. I used to try to ignore people bullying this person, but since reading Nineteen Minutes, there is no option of ignoring him. I’ve seen loads of videos on how to stop bullying and how to recognize it but none of them have made an impression on me. I guess that’s because they were all “school appropriate.” But I think bullying doesn’t have to be school appropriate because bullying isn’t appropriate at all. Bullying doesn’t get stopped when one kid says, “Stop, this school has rules!”

And the bully doesn’t stop and say, “Okay let’s solve this peacefully!”

Nineteen Minutes puts bullying in retrospect and had me realize bullying isn’t just an inappropriate school action, but a factor that could change the lives of anyone around it. Like I said, reading your book is like a feast. The plates of food that changed me were like lemons. They seemed sour and disturbing at first, but that lemon was just a taste of reality. Thank you for changing me with your delicious feast of a book. I’ve never “eaten” any books like this before.



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