I decided I wanted to do a weekly feature to recommend/spotlight a book, new or old. Since I already spotlight Toby in my IMM posts, I figured I could incorporate him into this as well. While other more... colorful... titles came to mind, I settled on Barkings From A Beagle. Basically, Toby and I just tell you guys about a book and why I loved it, as well as provide links to buy it from the main booksellers.
This week's pick is not a YA novel but it is still phenomenal- and one I believe everyone should read. It is one of my all time favorite books for many reasons, from the amazing writing to the plot to the emotions to how what seems so black and white is turned into something completely gray.
Toby Barks: Read 19 Minutes by Jodi Picoult!
Summary (Straight from her website):
In this emotionally charged novel, Jodi Picoult delves beneath the surface of a small town to explore what it means to be different in our society. In Sterling, New Hampshire, 17-year-old high school student Peter Houghton has endured years of verbal and physical abuse at the hands of classmates. His best friend, Josie Cormier, succumbed to peer pressure and now hangs out with the popular crowd that often instigates the harassment. One final incident of bullying sends Peter over the edge and leads him to commit an act of violence that forever changes the lives of Sterling’s residents. Even those who were not inside the school that morning find their lives in an upheaval, including Alex Cormier. The superior court judge assigned to the Houghton case, Alex—whose daughter, Josie, witnessed the events that unfolded—must decide whether or not to step down. She’s torn between presiding over the biggest case of her career and knowing that doing so will cause an even wider chasm in her relationship with her emotionally fragile daughter. Josie, meanwhile, claims she can’t remember what happened in the last fatal minutes of Peter’s rampage. Or can she? And Peter’s parents, Lacy and Lewis Houghton, ceaselessly examine the past to see what they might have said or done to compel their son to such extremes. Rich with psychological and social insight, Nineteen Minutes is a riveting, poignant, and thought-provoking novel that has at its center a haunting question. Do we ever really know someone?
This is one of a few books that really got to me. I cried multiple times in this book which was a pretty big thing in and of itself. I thought about this book for days, probably even weeks, after I finished it. I want to reread it but know the kind of effect it has on me and haven't yet been able to. Because of the subject matter, it isn't necessarily something I would say preteens should read but at the same time, it is about bullying- and everyone should read that. This is a book of advocacy, of cause and effect and of how much one person can make a difference. Educators should certainly read this as should anyone else dealing with teenagers in a regular basis. This is a book that will reach to most everyone in some way. This is one of those very rare books that have changed my life. Toby is also barking about this book because it effected me so strongly emotionally that I tended to curl up with him when I read it, and even for awhile afterwards.