Everything can change in an unimaginable nineteen minutes.
Picoult chooses a devastating and life changing subject in this novel. A school shooting. The novel follows both the lead up to and fallout of the shooting. What she bravely does with this novel however is tell it from all sides, including the shooter, a high school student.
As usual Picoult manages to inhabit her characters so well, from a grieving mother to a teenager survivor. Her delicate touch provides both a sensitive and authentic voice for each individual in the novel.
Picoult tackles the realities of high school, the hardships, the isolation, the need or want to fit in and sometimes the perceived inability to measure up. She manages all of this and more, by providing a devastating culmination to these events, we see the real truth in her character’s lives and faces them to see it for themselves.
Many writers would find portraying the school shooter as a risky prospect. Maybe deciding instead to just focus on those effected. Picoult however treads a very fine line and in my opinion does it brilliantly. I’ll admit though, the main feeling I took away from the novel was uneasiness. But then maybe that is the success of the novel.
It took me a while to decide how I would rate this one and I decided on 5/10. Don’t get me wrong it is an extremely well written, insightful and thought provoking novel. But! Maybe rather unfairly, having ready many of her other novels I found that this one lacked the explosive plot twist that I look forward to discovering. Perhaps I have just read too many! But there was definitely a predictability in this one. Nevertheless, barring my own opinion! I would definitely recommend this novel.
‘Don’t be dismayed at goodbyes, a farewell is necessary before you can meet again.’
– Richard Bach