Nineteen Minutes

January 21, 2009
By Bapalapa2 ELITE, Brooklyn, New York
Bapalapa2 ELITE, Brooklyn, New York
1044 articles 0 photos 1 comment

The day you wake up teary-eyed from yawning and your body yearning for sleep, you tell yourself time to go to school. Little did you know that you might not be protected the way you believe. All because in just nineteen minutes lives can change, “In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world, or you can just jump off it. In nineteen minutes you can get revenge.” The superb novel Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult, takes place in Sterling, New Hampshire. With the intrepid characters, the must know themes and the most unexpected setting, where bullying has gone to far in Peter Houghton's life and now has left him to commit an act of violence that will leave Sterling with the vivid memory of the day he said “No more.”

Deceiving lies and gorgeous appearances of those who are “popular” and those who are the high school “sellouts” pulls the cast of Nineteen Minutes together.
There is the nice, but always-nerdy Peter Houghton and the daunting Matt Royston, which both guys have or are now tied together with Josie Cormier. The ex-best friend of Peter's and Josie is now involved with Matt. The two are made up to make one of the most known couples in Sterling High. The characters of Picoult's novel string together the whole story line, and how the characters are described and the intensity of what takes place in their lives is somehow unbelievably true. Josie's words are lost and are the words that Picoult uses to try and foreshadow the ending. “She would never kiss Matt again. She would never hear him laugh. She would never feel the print of his hand on her waist, or read a note he'd slipped through the furrows of her locker.” Josie is one of the main characters and has done something that will make the unspoken words that rested on Matt's lips the day he passed stick like super glue in your head. And make your heart ache for those that were lost or are now haunted with the visions Peter has created.

The safest place is never where you think it is; in this case the town of Sterling, New Hampshire will have to overcome the immunity of their own thoughts. “Sterling isn't the inner city. You don't find crack dealers on Main Street, or households below poverty level. The crime rate is virtually non-existent. That's why people are still so shell-shocked. They ask how could this happen here?” Well how could it not happen there? It really never matters where you are, it matters if your paying close attention to the kid that might possibly be sitting in front of your flat screen TV right at this moment. “You might not have recognized Sterling High. There was a new green metal roof, fresh grass growing out in front, and a glass atrium that rose two stories at the rear of the school. A plaque on the bricks by the front door read: A SAFE HARBOR.” Disaster can always lead to something better. In this case the school Sterling High has overcome a drastic change all to make students feel safer. For the security of their lives they believe a new building structure can help although many can still see through the make-up pasted over what used to be there. Josie, Matt and Peter make Picoult's novel enclasp around the worlds troubled kids lives, the lives of which we live today.

Bullying can hurt inside and out, Abuse can hurt just as much. Possibly even more because the suffering is showing on the outside where people can see, where the words pass from one mouth to another, which then spills out all over the floor. The floor that which everyone has laid eyes on but never really realized that other peoples hurt is the only thing holding them up. They think it's their stable ground, but little did they know that it's not their ground to even be near. The pain that kids inflict on each other makes love seem terrifying and not real. “When I was little I used to pour salt on slugs. I liked watching them dissolve before my eyes. Cruelty is always sort of fun until you realize that something's getting hurt. It would be one thing to be a loser if it meant no one paid attention to you, but in school, it means your actively sought out. You're the slug, and they're holding all the salt. And they haven't developed a conscience.” There are so many kids that are lost and insecure because of the cruel things that occur way to many times in their lives. Young adults never really get to experience or feel love from another person because they are already wallowing in self-doubt or hate.

“I think a persons life is supposed to be like a DVD. You can see the version everyone else sees, or you can choose the director's cut- the way he wanted you to see it, before everything got in the way. There are menus, probably, so that you can start at the good spots and not have to relive the bad ones. You can measure your life by the number of scenes you've survived, or the minutes you've been stuck there. Probably, though, life is more like one of those dumb video surveillance tape. Grainy, no matter how hard you stare at it. And looped: the same thing, over and over.” Some people think themes are inutile, meaning they have no useful purpose; this is just because they aren't looking at the intricate parts. Or people are just being plain lazy and are not thinking about the details they were offered. Until the day they come to a halt, they have ran to a dead end only realizing then that a mile ago they should have listened to the directions they so dearly needed. Themes are convenient and beneficial in life and we, as people need to take advantage of these lessons more often.

Nineteen Minutes, the novel of which has taught me so much, through the relationships, the unheard thoughts, the themes and the setting where it was truly needed the most. It was a surreal wake-up call when I and the rest of the world severely needed it the most. It is in my best interest to recommend this book to young and mature adults, it will be sure to leave you with the impact of sympathy and compassion for those families that were caused great pain. Nineteen Minutes will also make you open your eyes way more than the human body will even allow.

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This article has 6 comments.

gwill16 said...
on Feb. 9 2015 at 10:42 pm
gwill16, Sterling, Illinois
0 articles 0 photos 1 comment
In a blink of an eye your life can be changed and not always for the better. In Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes, Picoult displays the affects excessive bullying can have on one person. The books main character, Peter Houghton, is a teenage boy who under went more torture and bullying than the average person can endure. Eventually, when he cannot take anymore pain he walks into his school with multiple guns and fires at any student gets in his way; some even were not ones who caused him pain. The way Peter feels and is treated, unfortunately is relatable to events that happen to people in real life. The events in this story are relatable to the events that happened during the 1999 Columbine shooting. The way Peter Houghton began the shooting ties into the way the two students from the Columbine shooting began their rampage. Both start with bombs and eventually lead into using guns to kill their classmates. Both stories are also stemmed from constant bullying and torture. In the situation of being bullied it is critical that you deal with the issue rather than allow it to have a negative affect. Peter allowed the bullies to take over his happiness. Picoult writes, “A mathematical formula for happiness: reality divided by expectations. There are two ways to be happy: improve your reality or lower your expectation.” Unfortunately this is something Houghton failed to do. Personally, I feel as though Picoult did an exemplary job at displaying the emotions within her story. The book opens the eyes of readers that their words do leave an impact on others whether it is positive or negative. The story allows for the reader to have his or her own opinion on Peter. Do they see him as a monster, or as a boy who had enough and lost all sense of what is right or wrong? Picoult writes, “If you spent your life concentrating on what everyone else thought of you, would you forget who you really were?”

jennar2 said...
on Jul. 1 2013 at 6:51 pm
I love this book. My new favorite. It gave me new insight on events like this, and I've learned to consider others' points of views, not judge them for their actions. Peter wasn't a monster from birth: the bullies & the fact that no one helped him turned him into a monster. Beautiful book. I usually don't blog like this or whatever but this book is perfection. I love this, and I'd read it every day. I wish this was a movie, I'd love to watch it, but then again it'd cause controversy. LOVE THIS GO READ IT

AmyC said...
on Sep. 25 2012 at 11:01 pm
This overall was a great book that really kept my attention throughout the twists and turns of the plot. It was written excellently, along with every other Jodi Picoult book I've read. However, the only thing I would change would be the way the book ended. Don't get me wrong the twist at the end had my jaw on the floor as well as everyone elses, but I just wish it went into more detail of the aftermath of it all. 

on Oct. 29 2011 at 12:17 pm
PinkSilverfish BRONZE, Gainesville, Florida
2 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."-Dr. Seuss

This is an excellent book. I love it.

on Sep. 15 2010 at 5:50 am
taintedannex GOLD, Hong Kong, Other
15 articles 5 photos 166 comments

Favorite Quote:
The truth is that at some point, everyone's going to hurt you. You just have to decide who's worth the pain.

Some say having something to lose is what makes you vulnerable. I believe that having something to lose only makes you stronger.

This is a beautiful review of a book I, myself, enjoyed immensely. I have to say, I'm a fan of most of your reviews - your stuff is great!

on Oct. 9 2009 at 1:00 pm
ElisabethElizzLiz BRONZE, Brookpark, Ohio
2 articles 0 photos 15 comments

Favorite Quote:
Love is the flower you've got to let grow.
-John Lennon

Great book. I learned myself that even though adults make the world seem oh so perfect and safe, its not.

Parkland Book