Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Nineteen Minutes

Some of you know that I am a voracious reader. I read everything I can get my hands on...except for bad "Christian" fiction...ok...well...sometimes even that (when I need something that will numb my brain enough for me to fall asleep at night).

I will try to be faithful to updating my "what I'm reading" list which you can find on the right-hand side of my blog site. You might notice that my fiction titles change more frequently than my non-fiction titles. This is simply because I will devour fiction form of an eating escape, sanctuary, alone time. It's been this way since I hid myself away as a child, pre-teen and teenager in the imaginary worlds of Mrs. Piggle-wiggle, Encyclopedia Brown, then Narnia, then anything by Madeleine L'engle, Judy Blume (who didn't hide Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret or Forever or Deenie under your pillows so mom wouldn't find out you were reading about s-e-x?), and a short foray into Danielle Steele and Jackie Collins (just to see what the fuss was all about...verdict: not worth the fuss...therefore, no links!). With non-fiction, I tend to chew longer, only swallowing after I've tasted each idea and decided whether to spit it out or ingest it.

Right now I am in the midst of "Nineteen Minutes", the new novel by Jodi Picoult (prounounced "pee-ko"). Here is a brief synopsis:

"In this emotionally charged novel, Jodi Picoult delves beneath the surface of a small town to explore what it means to be different in our society.
In Sterling, New Hampshire, 17-year-old high school student Peter Houghton has endured years of verbal and physical abuse at the hands of classmates. His best friend, Josie Cormier, succumbed to peer pressure and now hangs out with the popular crowd that often instigates the harassment. One final incident of bullying sends Peter over the edge and leads him to commit an act of violence that forever changes the lives of Sterling’s residents.
Even those who were not inside the school that morning find their lives in an upheaval, including Alex Cormier. The superior court judge assigned to the Houghton case, Alex—whose daughter, Josie, witnessed the events that unfolded—must decide whether or not to step down. She’s torn between presiding over the biggest case of her career and knowing that doing so will cause an even wider chasm in her relationship with her emotionally fragile daughter. Josie, meanwhile, claims she can’t remember what happened in the last fatal minutes of Peter’s rampage. Or can she? And Peter’s parents, Lacy and Lewis Houghton, ceaselessly examine the past to see what they might have said or done to compel their son to such extremes. Nineteen Minutes also features the return of two of Jodi Picoult’s characters—defense attorney Jordan McAfee from The Pact and Salem Falls, and Patrick DuCharme, the intrepid detective introduced in Perfect Match.
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?"

I am intrigued by the ability Ms. Picoult has for exploring every facet of an issue. I always find myself rethinking how I judge an issue or a character and then clarifying my own value system based on my new perspective. Whether I change my opinion or not, I am always left with a stronger sense of why I believe what I believe. (This is the same reason I love Madeleine L'engle and Anne Lamott.)

I am finding myself reliving parts of growing up that I would rather forget. But, frankly, I probably need to relive them again now that I am mother to a teenager. I need to remember the perspective, the emotions, what I thought was important, what I felt made me different. This book is reminding me.

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this book...I'm almost done but not quite so if don't spoil any endings for me!

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