A Mother’s Reckoning

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This review has probably taken me the longest to write out of any review I have written thus far in my blogging career. After reading A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold, I had to sit for a couple of days and just chew on what I read in this book. There are a couple different reasons for that, and I will try my best to explain them now.

First, let me explain what this book is. A Mother’s Reckoning is Sue Klebold’s personal account of the Columbine High School shootings that happened in April of 1999. Her son, Dylan was one of the two shooters that massacred the high school on that fateful morning. It has taken Sue this long to write her story, for fear of being shooed away, and for being ridiculed for being the mother of one of the murderers of Columbine. It seems that Sue, as far as I can tell, was afraid that giving Dylan a life would be sort of dismissing what he did. To show the world that he wasn’t always a monster, would be lessening the pain that he caused other people. I can understand that. Though, as a mother, I can understand how she would want to show the world that her son wasn’t who we thought he was, and he wasn’t who she thought he was either.

The first reason that this review has taken me so long to write is that I was 12 years old when Columbine happened, so for most of my life that school shooting has been in the back of my mind. Since seventh grade, I have walked through schools with security guards, bomb threats, lock downs, etc. But I have also walked through schools that didn’t have those things before April 20, 1999. I know what it was like to live in a world before Columbine and after Columbine. Whether you lived in Colorado or Michigan, Columbine effected you one way or another. To this day, I didn’t even realize that “The Trenchcoat Mafia” was a direct term from Columbine, and that was a term I ignorantly used through out high school to describe a group of people that went to my school. Columbine changed a lot of people, and I was one of those people. I was always very interested to learn why Dylan and Eric decided that they were going to walk into their school with weapons that day and take lives away that didn’t deserve it. It was a fact that replayed in my mind, even to this day. When I had my very first speech class, I wrote a speech about how music doesn’t have anything to do with violence. The reason that I wrote that speech was because the media was blaming Marilyn Manson for the shootings that occurred at Columbine High School. I always had some very strange curiosity for this story. I think that I had such a strong feeling for it, because it happened during very formative years in my life. It was also one of the first huge tragedies I had ever heard of in my 12 years of living. Being a psychology student, the inner workings of a person’s mind is what I want to know about. I have to know what people are thinking when they do something, it’s just the way I was built. So, when I saw that this book was coming out, I knew I had to have it. I felt that it would give me some of the answers I had been looking for, for the past 16 years.

The second reason that it took me so long to write this review is because of Sue. I didn’t want to be one of those people that she was apprehensive about. I didn’t want to be one of those people that said straight off the bat, “How could you not know?” Although my son is two years old, I know how it feels to have so much love for your child and almost be blind to their issues. Dylan Klebold had brain issues, mental problems, depression or whatever you want to call it, and Sue and her husband didn’t see that. I know that she blames herself for that to this day, she says it in the book, but haven’t we all been caught up with something and didn’t realize something else was happening at the same time. I don’t hate Sue for what her son did, nor do I blame her. What I don’t agree with in this book is how she tried to put most, if not all of the blame on Eric Harris, and tried to lessen her son’s involvement in the shootings. The point is that Dylan Klebold held a gun that day and shot people, he also set off bombs. To blame Eric for all that is a way of pushing the blame on someone else’s parenting, and creating a scapegoat for Dylan not getting the help that he needed. Both of these boys were equally involved in the massacre, and sadly lives were lost that day. Even though in this pages of this book, I felt that Sue put a lot of blame on Eric, I still think that this is a story that every mother should read, because there are parts of it that helped me to understand what depression looks like in teenagers, and what signs to watch out for when my son begins his teen years.

One last reason that it took me so long to write this review, is because I don’t think that a lot of people want to hear about the murderers and killers that are a part of tragedies. People don’t want to put names and faces with bad things that happen, they would rather hear about the victims of the tragedies. I get that, and I think it’s wrong that so many murderers get their names in the media while the victim’s names are forgotten. The reason that this book is so popular is because of Sue and her families silence for all those years. They have been pretty much treated like pariah’s ever since this happened. I didn’t want anyone that reads my blog to think that I condone this type of situation, but I do think that people need to hear about the Klebold’s (and even the Harris’) side of the story. I believe this to be true, because I feel that mental health is so stigmatized and shunned-that this book will hopefully open eyes and prevent another situation like Columbine from happening in the future.

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These are the people who lost their lives in the Columbine School Shooting of 1999. Many more were injured.

This book was an incredibly engrossing account of one mother coming to terms with her son and the tragedy that he created, to say that I liked this story I feel would be wrong, because it was hard to read, I had to set it down several times because the emotions were just too much. I found this book to be revealing, compelling and something that I feel everyone should read. This was definitely an eye opening experience, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. I would have given it 5 if I felt that it was less emotionally driven as far as trying to cast blame on other people besides Dylan, but it was very informative and almost took me right back to that day in 1999.

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