Bestselling author Jodi Picoult thought she had dotted all the "i"s and crossed the "t"s when she offered her new book, "Nineteen Minutes," to three high schools as a teaching tool prior to publication.
In order for the schools to get the book -- which is about a school shooting, bullying, and alienation -- it would have to be taught and used as catalyst for teacher-led discussion about the issues it raised. Picoult said she wanted a "safe place" for the book to be taught.
But then fate intervened and controversy ensued anyway. At Newton South, students were in the middle of reading the book when a student at nearby Lincoln-Sudbury High School stabbed another student to death. Then, a miscommunication between the head of the English Department and the principal at the high school in Picoult's home town of Hanover, N.H. led to the book behing pulled from that school.
Picoult appeared recently for an author event at Newtonville Books, which is participating in the Globe's ongoing Great Writers Podcast. Producer Ralph Ranalli recorded Picoult reading a selection of her book to a packed house, then answering questions about the research that went into it and the controversy.
-- Ralph Ranalli
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