I’ve only ever once before written a book review here, but I just finished this book (Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult) and it has shaken me to the core.
I have NEVER read a fictional story that was so on-point to suspect it was non-fiction! Towards the end, my hands were shaking and I was teary-eyed. I’m not going to be a spoiler, but I want to share one excerpt that struck me like an arrow through the heart:
“Sterling (the name of the town in the book, substitute your town’s name) isn’t the inner city. You don’t find crack dealers on Main Street or households below the poverty level. The crime rate is virtually non-existent.
“That’s why people are so shell-shocked.
” They ask, “How could this happen here?
“Well, how could it not happen here?
“All it takes is a troubled kid with access to guns.
“You don’t have to go to an inner city to find someone who meets those criteria. You only have to open your eyes. The next likely candidate might be upstairs, or sprawled in front of your TV right now. But hey, you just go on pretending it won’t happen here. Tell yourself that you’re immune because of where you live or who you are.
“It’s easer that way, isn’t it?”
It may be a fictional book, but that’s an honest truth in our world! Every parent, every person who works in or for a school, anyone who works in an after-school program… We’ve all read about the victims of bullying and felt compassion. We’ve all listened, stunned, to four years of bullying coming from the highest political office. We all think it can’t be our kid who is being bullied or that it can’t be our kid who is doing the bullying. We don’t know how to truly protect the victims of bullying and so we often try to ‘sweep it under the rug’ and hope it will go away. Parents who have a child with violent and disruptive tendencies want to believe that it’s ‘just a phase and something the child will grow out of’ because those parents don’t know how to deal with it, either!
It’s time that we ALL open our eyes and see things as they are and take true and meaningful actions necessary to care for both the bully and the victim(s). Lip service just isn’t going to cut it anymore!