Jodi Picoult: “Fiction is a really important tool”

On this week’s #VelshiBannedBookClub, the prolific Jodi Picoult joins us to talk about her tragically relevant novel “Nineteen Minutes,” referring to the amount of time it takes the novel’s school shooter to kill 10 people. The story is told from a place of healing. The reader is not asked to feel compassion for the shooter, but the story lays bare the bullying, taunts, and complicated family dynamics that help to explain the “why”. On the one hand, the novel is quintessentially Picoult. It is compelling, absorbing, and ferociously readable. On the other hand, it grapples with serious themes like vengeance versus justice, and appearance versus reality. Since its writing, school shootings have become, sadly, part of the very fabric of the American school system. This is true for every parent and student regardless of race or socioeconomic status. Books like “Nineteen Minutes” can be a valuable tool – a “resource” as the National Coalition Against Censorship said -- to work through emotions, thoughts, and concerns surrounding this all-too-real issue for parents and students alike.