Revenge on school bullies

2008-10-02 08:05

If you, or your children, have ever been bullied at school, or if you or your children have ever been bullies at school, you have to read this book.

Jodi Picoult has an uncanny knack of tapping into the zeitgeist of cutting-edge moral issues facing society. She has made a niche for herself, writing about controversial topical subjects by examining the issue from all perspectives. Nineteen Minutes follows the same successful path, engaging the reader intellectually by putting across every point of view. This novel is a gripping page-turner.

The novel begins on the day that a 17-year-old boy, Peter Houghton, decides to take control of his life for the first time. From the day he started school, with all the eager anticipation of one who wants to be just like his successful big brother, he has been bullied. The boys destined to become the jocks at high school throw his new Superman lunch box out of the bus's window. Only his childhood friend, Josie Cormier, stays by his side. Until she decides to become one of the cool kids in high school too. Then she pretends she's never known Peter.

After years of daily torment, Peter is “pantsed” - his trousers and underwear are pulled down to expose his privates in the school cafeteria - and he decides to fight back. He takes his father's hunting rifles and a few handguns from a neighbour and prepares to put into action a video game he's created called Hide and Shriek, where the Geeks take revenge on the Jocks at a school. In 19 minutes 10 students are killed and many others injured in Sterling High. Peter is apprehended just before he shoots himself. And a court case ensues.

Once again all sides are closely examined. I couldn't put this book down and I sobbed through many parts. But I have to say that as a mother of children who have been mercilessly bullied, my heart was on Peter's side. Picoult wrote this book before the Virginia Tech massacre and shows uncanny prescience. It's a must-read for anyone whose child attends school. However, it must be said that a novelist of this stature should ensure that she gets a better proof-reader.

Janet van Eeden

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.