Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes caught me off guard. Not in its subject matter, which I knew would be emotionally difficult, but by the freshness of the read. The words, thoughts, and characters’ feelings struck me with their strength and honesty. Drawn in from the beginning, I forgot I’d read the book before. Every scene was fresh as it unfolded. Every scene spoke of teenage or adult angst. Every scene poured forth human vulnerability.
Picoult guided me through the horrific events of a high school shooting by way of the shared history of the shooter and his victims. Although fiction, similar events have occurred throughout our country. I safely explored them through the distancing lens of a novel. The characters could have been real. The emotions I felt certainly were.
In reading Nineteen Minutes, I learned something about the horrors we can inflict on each other and the mind’s capacity to forget in order to protect us. This book made me more patient and compassionate with others. I’d rather not add to someone else’s pain. A book that changes a person for the better is a good one.
What books have made you better? In what way?