Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult is a novel based on a school shooting in the small town of Sterling, but focuses more importantly on the feelings of the main characters, Peter Houghton and Josie Cormier, who experience insecurities and social acceptance, or lack of. The novel explores the damaging effects of bullying, peer pressure and the dynamics of group interaction within teenagers in a modern day society. Picoult’s novels are aimed at a mature audience, whether that is from adult to young adult-if they are emotionally ready to read it. Nineteen Minutes is a tragic and emotional novel, but teenagers are able to relate more due to the teenage characters and high school setting.
Nineteen Minutes supports and challenges the idea of belonging through exposition (diary entries) and the different groups represented, the dominant techniques throughout the novel are point of view and structure.
The two most important points of view are those of Josie and Peter. The use of different points of view allows the reader to make their own opinions on the characters and interpret the situations differently. This technique makes viewing the different characters weaknesses and their thoughts on themselves and other people, “If you spent your life concentrating on what everyone else thought of you, would you forget who you really were?” (Kindle location 2105), demonstrates the characters thoughts of trying to belong, but amidst their efforts, they lose themselves. The structure is significant in conveying more about the characters relationships and issues they face everyday. The novel travels from the present day to the past; the flashbacks allow us to see the impact of bullying as children as they grow to the present day.
The use of diary entries throughout the novel reveals personal thoughts of the character. They show that the character feels helpless, torn from a sense of belonging due to bullying and peer...