” In nineteen minutes, you can order a pizza and have it delivered. You can read a story to a child or have your oil changed. You can walk a mile. You can sew a hem… In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge.”
I have mixed feelings about this book. Some of it I expected, and some of it rubbed me the wrong way. One thing that I did appreciate about the book was that it talked about a lot of different things: bullying, depression, suicide, abusive relationships. All things that sometimes are not talked about enough.
In a nutshell, the book is about a school shooting. The shooter, Peter, had been bullied and tormented since his very first day of kindergarten. As a high school junior, he reached his breaking point. At the end of that day, Peter was arrested and charged with 10 counts of murder and 19 counts of attempted murder. While searching Peter’s bedroom, the police found a year book that had faces of some of the victims circled. There is one picture that was circled but had “let live” written next to to it. It was a picture of Josie Cormier.
Peter and Josie were friends until 6th grade, when Josie became one of the cool kids and left Peter behind. Before then, Josie had always been the one that defended Peter, when he couldn’t do it on his own. In high school the two barely spoke to each other. Part of the reason was that Josie was afraid to lose her status. She was also dating Matthew Roysten, who happened to be the catalyst for Peter’s rampage.
About halfway through the book you find out that Matt has been abusing Josie. The first time that it happened she was scared but of course, he said “I love you” and she acted like it never happened. Then it gets bad enough to the point that Josie ends up on crutches because of him. (Naturally at this point, I’m wondering why she hasn’t left him yet). Toward the end of the book you find out that Josie had broken up with Matt once. It caused him to get drunk and attempt suicide so Josie stayed to keep it from happening again.
On the last day of Peter’s trial, Josie is unexpectedly called to testify, and the truth comes out. Everyone wondered why Matt Roysten was the only victim that had been shot twice. Although, Josie was there, she hadn’t been able to remember anything until shortly before being placed on the witness stand. Only then, does she reveal what really happened.
When they heard the gunshots, Josie and Matt ran into the locker room. Peter followed and pointed his gun at Matt. When Josie screamed, she scared Peter causing him to drop his bag. A gun fell out and Josie picked it up. She aimed at Peter and Matt started screaming at her. Calling her stupid and telling her to shoot, so she shoots. Matt crumpled to the ground holding is stomach and Josie started to panic. She ran to his side and put pressure on the wound. When she told Peter to help her, he walked up to Matt and shot him again. At the time of the shooting, only Peter knew that Josie was being abused. Peter is sentenced to a consecutive series of murder charges and Josie is charged as an accessory to second degree murder.
It’s easy to feel sorry for someone like Peter who has been treated so terribly. However, he ended up being a character that I simultaneously hated. On more than one occasion, he suddenly became a monster. Sure, he carried a lot of built up anger all the time, but screaming “I hate you” at your mother for doing 3 loads of your laundry because you were too lazy to do it yourself was ridiculous.
Overall, this was definitely a good read. Frustrating but good. I love the multiple perspectives, and that you don’t see everything all at once.
I would rate this 4/5 stars.