Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (2007 by Washington Square Press: A Division of Simon and Schuster, Inc.)
In nineteen minutes, you can mow the front lawn, color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game. In nineteen minutes, you can bake scones or get a tooth filled by a dentist; you can fold laundry for a family of five.
Nineteen minutes is how long it took the Tennessee Titans to sell out of tickets to the play-offs. It’s the length of a sitcom, minus the commercials. It’s the driving distance from the Vermont border to the town of Sterling, New Hampshire.
In nineteen minutes, you can order a pizza and get it delivered. You can read a story to a child or have your oil changed. You can walk a mile. You can sew a hem.
In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world, or you can just jump off it.
In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge.
Like all the very best books that change lives and impact the world, Nineteen Minutes is really, really tough to read. There are times throughout the story, when reading the words on the page cause a sickening, nauseas sensation. At other times, I couldn’t see through my tears or catch my breath for the pain in my heart.
Yes, it is that good. And it is a story that every educator and every parent MUST read. A second reading won’t be necessary, though, because the story will never leave the reader once the words and the sadness are absorbed.
Every parent and every educator have to read Nineteen Minutes because kids with guns and fancy shoes are every person’s problem, and yet no single person is to blame for violent tragedies. There is no ONE enemy because EVERYONE is at fault.
I wish I was a magical writer so that every person who reads this brief review would run out and purchase, borrow, or download Nineteen Minutes – immediately. I wish I had the words to convey how hugely important reading this story is to being a complete parent. I wish it wasn’t necessary to talk about (or sing about) youth bullying, school violence, and kids with guns. I wish I could snap my fingers, blink my eyes, twitch my nose, or wave my wand and make this a world in which 19 minutes aren’t the difference between a happy childhood and a dead child.
But I can’t. So, instead, I’m gonna dry my eyes and go hug and love and kiss on my two gifts, my greatest achievements, the two blessings I could never deserve. I’m going to tell my two kids how beautiful they are to me so that they can never doubt, not for one second, how much they are loved and accepted and needed and wanted.
And I hope you’ll do the same.