What We’re Reading – Janelle Gurnsey

“What We’re Reading” is a blog series giving the Brookens Library staff the opportunity to highlight a variety of books, audio books, or e-books you might find enjoyable. This series will post every week on the “What’s New at Brookens” Blog. The fifth installment features Janelle Gurnsey, the Communications and Outreach Specialist at Brookens. Janelle’s selection is a novel that delves into the hot button issue of high school shootings. Brookens Library has this particular title on audio book, which is how Janelle engaged with the text. Learn more about what Janelle has been reading:

1.)   What are you reading?

19 Minutes by Jodi Picoult (2006)

2.)   How did you make your selection?

I may work in a library but I’m not a librarian so sometimes even I need a little help picking out my next read. I was talking with a co-worker about what we were reading and I had to admit I wasn’t reading anything because I wasn’t sure what was “good”. That co-worker, Nancy Weichert a Brookens librarian, gave me a consultation of my very own: she had a pretty good idea about what I liked based on previous conversations so she went to the audio book area and picked out two choices she thought I would like and then described each one so I could decide which to choose first. She did a great job, I loved the book.

3.)   Describe the book in 20 words or less using your own words.

A riveting story about a teenage boy who sought revenge on classmates after suffering years of abuse in high school.

4.) What did you like?

Jodi Picoult does a good job a weaving the story together. It jumps back and forth through different time periods, giving you glimpses of what has happened or what may happened. Those snippets unfold later in the story and really engage the reader, which is something I liked. I also liked that it was thought provoking. I have a young daughter and it made me think about bullying, child rearing, today’s youth and so many different issues that mold and form who we are as individuals. I really liked that this book was an audio book. It really brought the characters to life and allowed me to make a greater connection with each individual in the story. I’d definitely recommend checking out the audio book.

What didn’t I like?

It was sad, difficult at times to think about how someone can get to the point where they would kill their classmates. You could at times feel the pain that the child (the shooter) endured on a daily basis which was something that I struggled with when listening to the audio book. Overall, I like thought provoking books so this didn’t discourage me from continuing but there were scenes that were particularly difficult to read.

5.)   Who would you recommend this book to?

People that like books based on topics ripped from the headlines. Though this wasn’t a “true story” based on a single event, it is based on the hot button issues of school shootings. I would also recommend this to anyone that is a parent, anyone who is concerned about bullying or about the complex system of social inequity.

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