Saturday, August 04, 2007

55. "19 Minutes" - Jodi Picoult

I've been urged to read this book all summer. However, everyone who has recommended it has prefaced their advice with, "Now, it's not literary" or "It may not be what you ordinarily read." People. Attention, please. This is the chica that stood giddily in line (fourth) counting down the minutes to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows with her son's classmate.

But, I realize why people would say that. At first glance, one immediately thinks chick lit. I've even read reviews that dismiss it, listing all the things you can do instead of reading this book for 19 minutes.

This novel follows the whys and how comes and whos of a school shooting. Picoult has an agenda - she repeatedly references or promotes left-wing causes - and seems to gloss over character development with the passage of time. However, she also brings up difficult questions, like how much of our children's self is from our parenting skills? Why don't teachers/parents/teenagers hold bullies accountable for their actions?

Too much is tidily swept away or snuck into the end. Still, I think it took a brave person to write it and I'd consider it a great beach or, as I call it, chocolate martini read.

2.5 out of 5.0 Vile Green Stuffs.


anonlurkermom said...

Jodi Picoult consistently chooses varied and provocative subjects. I have always wondered why she is viewed as a People Magazine author instead of more. She has been postured that way and I don't think it is fair to her workings of her subjects and characters. Not chick-lit in my view, but if you must label, then parenting-lit. The influences on development are common threads. Whenever Picoult is a book club choice, the discussion stays on the book and that says something.

Jason said...

"Parenting lit?" Ew. That copy of My Sister's Keeper I've had on the shelf for future reading looks a little less appealing now.

Of course, as you imply, labels aren't really that important (or helpful) in my experience. I'll read it anyway.

Kristin Dodge said...

anonlurkermom... comment anytime. I always appreciate thoughtful arguments.

As far as labeling, she would be/is more commercially appealing as a "chick lit" author, which is why she is presented that way. Damn publishers.

Jason, if you want to choke on chick lit, I've got better ones for you that are gathering dust in my basement...

Anonymous said...

Hi Kristen,
I am readin the pact and can't it down, I have just finished reading the vanishing act. I am new to Picoult's books and i do find that she jumps from character to character, which is fine by me, but i know others don't like it.
I think i will try and read 19 minutes next and see. Have you read any other picoult books??