Friday, April 1, 2011

Nineteen Minutes... by Jodi Piccoult

Why is it so easy for people to point a finger at someone else? This book takes a cue from Dunblane, Columbine and countless other shootings at educational institutions.

When a kid goes on a murderous rampage and leaves a trail of dead bodies behind, it's only automatic that after the dust settled, the questioning begins and the finger pointing follows.

In this book, a couple loses one every-parent's-dream kind of son to a DUI to be followed a year later by the 'loss' of a second son, turned into a cold-blooded murderer who leaves a trail of 10 dead bodies and countless scarred lives. He was apprehended and given a trial.

Peter, the teenage killer goes on a murderous rampage. For years he was a victim of bully and ridicule, even from his own brother. There are lots about the teenager that can be explosive. I guess maybe there's good in the ancient system where as soon as you are able to work, you do just that. Busyness and tiredness keep you from going astray. Josie, the other main character is the daughter of Alex, the judge whose dilemma was whether to preside over the proceedings of the case or excuse herself since her daughter was a witness to the shootings, already fragile from the experience of being a 'victim' herself. Nineteen minutes was all that was needed for the killing rampage, for so many lives to changed or snuffed out.

Bullying is a norm in schools. There are the popular kids and the ones who get pushed around. Every kid wants to be in the former but it's an exclusive group. It's hard to be the unpopular one. It's even harder to be unpopular and picked on. But then again, the same kind of 'behaviour' is found even among adults; though we no longer call it 'bullying' at that stage. Bullying is for kids. In the adult world, I think that's flexing the muscles... imposing will by use of might and power or perhaps even persuasion using the strings of the higher power. Church leaders, mosque leaders, politicians.... you can draw parallel comparison. You include your followers into the select group when there is compliance. At the end of the day, it's about feeling 'chosen' or selected, marked as the trend setters, leaders, etc, etc...

Finger pointing. In real life too, we look for a direction where we can point our finger. It's an easier way out; to look outward to a probable cause is way easier than to look inwardly to see how we've contributed to an act. The book ends on a sad yet hopeful note. But this is a nice read.

Book 12 on April Fools' Day. Reading was slow last month... failing eyesight and bogged down by more to do everywhere and also distraction from the e-mags.

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