As a Dutch person, I am very proud. Not many Dutch writers reach the New York Times Bestseller list. Not many Dutch writers get to be on number 1. And then we’re not even talking about Young Adult writers yet.
So next week I’ll have my “profielwerkstuk” presentation. A “profielwerkstuk” is a big assignment. We students are allowed to do it about every subject we want, as long as we spend 80 hours on work of it. I’m doing my “profielwerkstuk” with a friend and our subject is writing and publishing a book. So there was one part in our assignment, we talked about Marieke Nijkamp and her succes. So, anyway, I had the part about Marieke Nijkamp and while I was reading this, I wondered about this book. Was it really good? Was it worth the succes?
So that’s why I started reading this book.
I personally think now that it’s became such a succes because of the subject she writes about. Shootings at schools are a real issue in the USA. Of course it’s good that she points it out (even as a Dutch writer), but I’m not sure it’s a subject anyone can just write a book about.
Don’t get me wrong. I thought it was a good book. The writing was good, she knew how to get our attention and she knew how to hold our attention. Because I’ve seriously read this book within a day. The characters were also very good, because they all had motives and you could relate to all of them.
But this is a very personal subject and that’s probably also the reason why many people hate it. And that’s also the reason why I can’t say I liked this book. It feels so wrong to tell anyone I liked it… Even though it was good.
Of course there’s this question: Can you just write a book about this? I’m not sure. Of course it should be possible to write a book about this, because we’re free to write about anything. But look at this from another perspective. This isn’t a book like Divergent that’s set in another world. When people, or kids, die there it’s harder to relate too, because it’s set in entirely different world. This book, it’s our own world and kids are killed. Children. Seriously, I can understand that this book is like a nightmare to every parent.
So I guess you’ve probably figured out that I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. At one point I think it’s a good book, but I also think this book is terrible. It just seems to real.
This was also the reason why I never picked this book up before, because I was sure I would have mixed feelings about this, but I did it anyway and at one point I’m glad that I did it, because maybe… Maybe it’s good to read a book like this for once.
Most of the times we just want to shut our eyes for the horror in our world, but this book keeps our eyes open. You can’t deny that these things don’t happen, because they do. And how terrifying this might be, maybe it’s good that a book is written about this subject, because it makes us a bit more alert. And I think that’s the reason why she wrote this book after all.
So yes, I have some mixed feelings about this book, but I think it’s worth to read it (and no, I’m not just saying that because I’m Dutch).
Oh maybe, it’s a fun thing to tell you. This book was originally written in English, even though she’s Dutch. But after the book became such a succes, she translated the book into Dutch on her own. And the Dutch book is called: 54 minuten, which means 54 minutes, because everything happens within 54 minutes. I guess you never really thought about that, right? 😉