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One September in the 80's, an eight year old girl was murdered in my community. Her murderer apparently knocked her off her pink 2-wheeler bicycle and took her outside of town where he eventually killed her. It was over six months before they found her body. This crime held a new level of horror for me, as the mother of a 2 yr old little girl. I remember seeing the parents of the arrested man sitting behind him in court, and found it incredible that they could do that. But all I saw was the monster. They saw something else.
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult brought back that memory. It's a story of a high school massacre, told from various perspectives, including the parents of the shooter. Maybe because I read it at the time a new school year is starting, it had a greater impact on me. Who doesn't remember either being different and just not fitting in, or making fun of those who were? Most likely everyone's been on both sides at some time or other.
As a parent, you want to protect your child from any pain: illness, heartbreak, violence. You can't.
You hope you can shield them from torment, bullying and humiliation. You can't.
And their pain is your pain.
Nineteen Minutes is a painful story, a powerful message, a memorable book.