2021 A Mother's online sale Reckoning: Living in the online Aftermath of Tragedy sale

2021 A Mother's online sale Reckoning: Living in the online Aftermath of Tragedy sale

2021 A Mother's online sale Reckoning: Living in the online Aftermath of Tragedy sale

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The acclaimed New York Times bestseller by Sue Klebold, mother of one of the Columbine shooters, about living in the aftermath of Columbine.

On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Over the course of minutes, they would kill twelve students and a teacher and wound twenty-four others before taking their own lives.
 
For the last sixteen years, Sue Klebold, Dylan’s mother, has lived with the indescribable grief and shame of that day. How could her child, the promising young man she had loved and raised, be responsible for such horror? And how, as his mother, had she not known something was wrong? Were there subtle signs she had missed? What, if anything, could she have done differently?
 
These are questions that Klebold has grappled with every day since the Columbine tragedy. In A Mother’s Reckoning, she chronicles with unflinching honesty her journey as a mother trying to come to terms with the incomprehensible. In the hope that the insights and understanding she has gained may help other families recognize when a child is in distress, she tells her story in full, drawing upon her personal journals, the videos and writings that Dylan left behind, and on countless interviews with mental health experts.
 
Filled with hard-won wisdom and compassion, A Mother’s Reckoning is a powerful and haunting book that sheds light on one of the most pressing issues of our time. And with fresh wounds from the Newtown and Charleston shootings, never has the need for understanding been more urgent.
 
All author profits from the book will be donated to research and to charitable organizations focusing on mental health issues.

— Washington Post, Best Memoirs of 2016

Review

“…[U]nimaginably detailed, raw, minute-by-minute, illuminating, and just plain gripping. It''s also the most extraordinary testament--to honesty, love, pain, doubt, and resilience.… This book is nothing less than a public service. I beseech you to read it.”
– Bruce Feiller

“As people read Sue’s memoir, what they will find is that her book is honest, and her pain genuine.  Her story may be uncomfortable to read, but it will raise awareness about brain health and the importance of early identification and intervention to maintain it.  If people listen to her – to all that she has experienced, and to how this has changed her – they will be quicker to respond to depression in young people, to the suicidal thinking that can accompany it, and to the rage that can build almost unnoticed in young people when the people who truly and completely love and care for them are distracted by other challenges in life.”
—Paul Gionfriddo, President and CEO of  Mental Health America

“Required reading for all parents of adolescents...soul-piercingly honest, written with bravery and intelligence... A book of nobility and importance.” – The Times

 “Reading this book as a critic is hard; reading it as a parent is devastating….I imagine snippets of my own young children in Dylan Klebold, shades of my parenting in Sue and Tom.  I suspect that many families will find their own parallels….This book’s insights are painful and necessary and its contradictions inevitable.”
Carlos Lozada , The Washington Post

 “[Sue Klebold’s book] reads as if she had written it under oath, while trying to answer, honestly and completely, an urgent question: What could a parent have done to prevent this tragedy?…
She earns our pity, our empathy and, often, our admiration; and yet the book’s ultimate purpose is to serve as a cautionary tale, not an exoneration.”
—The New York Times Book Review

“[T]he parenting book everyone should read.”
—Parents.com

 “I believe Sue Klebold.  So will you.”
—LA Times

“At times her story is so chilling you want to turn away, but Klebold’s compassion and honesty –and realization that parents and institutions must work to discover kids’ hidden suffering-will keep you riveted.”
—People.com

“This book which can be tough to read in places is an important one. It helps us arrive at a new understanding of how Columbine happened and, in the process, may help avert other tragedies.” Rated: A.
—Entertainment Weekly

About the Author

Sue Klebold is the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the two shooters at Columbine High School in 1999 who killed 13 people before ending their own lives, a tragedy that saddened and galvanized the nation. She has spent the last 15 years excavating every detail of her family life, and trying to understand the crucial intersection between mental health problems and violence. Instead of becoming paralyzed by her grief and remorse, she has become a passionate and effective agent working tirelessly to advance mental health awareness and intervention.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

“There’s Been a Shooting at Columbine High School”

April 20, 1999, 12:05 p.m.

I was in my office in downtown Denver, getting ready to leave for a meeting about college scholarships for students with disabilities, when I noticed the red message light on my desk phone flashing.

I checked, on the off chance my meeting had been canceled, but the message was from my husband, Tom, his voice tight, ragged, urgent.

“Susan—this is an emergency! Call me back immediately!”

He didn’t say anything more. He didn’t have to: I knew just from the sound of his voice that something had happened to one of our boys.

It felt as if it took hours for my shaking fingers to dial our home phone number. Panic crashed over me like a wave; my heart pounded in my ears. Our youngest son, Dylan, was at school; his older brother, Byron, was at work. Had there been an accident?

Tom picked up and immediately yelled: “Listen to the television!” But I couldn’t make out any distinct words. It terrified me that whatever had happened was big enough to be on TV. My fear, seconds earlier, of a car wreck suddenly seemed tame. Were we at war? Was the country under attack?

“What’s happening?” I screamed into the receiver. There was only static and indecipherable television noise on the other end. Tom came back on the line, finally, but my ordinarily steadfast husband sounded like a madman. The scrambled words pouring out of him in staccato bursts made no sense: “gunman . . . shooter . . . school.”

I struggled to understand what Tom was telling me: Nate, Dylan’s best friend, had called Tom’s home office minutes before to ask, “Is Dylan home?” A call like that in the middle of the school day would have been alarming enough, but the reason for Nate’s call was every parent’s worst nightmare come to life: gunmen were shooting at people at Columbine High School, where Dylan was a senior.

There was more: Nate had said the shooters had been wearing black trench coats, like the one we’d bought for Dylan.

“I don’t want to alarm you,” he’d said to Tom. “But I know all the kids who wear black coats, and the only ones I can’t find are Dylan and Eric. They weren’t in bowling this morning, either.”

Tom’s voice was hoarse with fear as he told me he’d hung up with Nate and ripped the house apart looking for Dylan’s trench coat, irrationally convinced that if he could find it, Dylan was fine. But the coat was gone, and Tom was frantic.

“I’m coming home,” I said, panic numbing my spine. We hung up without saying good-bye.

Helplessly fighting for composure, I asked a coworker to cancel my meeting. Leaving the office, I found my hands shaking so uncontrollably that I had to steady my right hand with my left in order to press the button for my floor in the elevator. My fellow passengers were cheerfully chatting with one another on the way out to lunch. I explained my strange behavior by saying, “There’s been a shooting at Columbine High School. I have to go home and make sure my son’s okay.” A colleague offered to drive me home. Unable to speak further, I shook my head.

As I got into the car, my mind raced. It didn’t occur to me to turn on the radio; I was barely keeping the car safely on the road as it was. My one constant thought, as I drove the twenty-six miles to our home: Dylan is in danger.

Paroxysms of fear clutched at my chest as I sifted again and again through the same jagged fragments of information. The coat could be anywhere, I told myself: in Dylan’s locker or in his car. Surely a teenager’s missing coat didn’t mean anything. Yet my sturdy, dependable husband had sounded close to hysterical; I’d never heard him like that before.

The drive felt like an eternity, like I was traveling in slow motion, although my mind spun at lightning speed and my heart pounded in my ears. I kept trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together so it would come out okay, but there was little comfort to be found in the meager facts I had, and I knew I’d never recover if anything happened to Dylan.

As I drove, I talked out loud to myself and burst into uncontrollable sobs. Analytic by nature, I tried to talk myself down: I didn’t have enough information yet. Columbine High School was enormous, with more than two thousand students. Just because Nate hadn’t been able to find Dylan in the chaos didn’t necessarily mean our son was hurt or dead. I had to stop allowing Tom’s panic to infect me. Even as terror continued to roll over me in waves, I told myself we were probably freaking out unnecessarily, as any parent of an unaccounted-for child would in the same situation. Maybe no one was hurt. I was going to walk into our kitchen to find Dylan raiding our fridge, ready to tease me for overreacting.

I nonetheless couldn’t stop my mind from careening from one terrible scenario to another. Tom had said there were gunmen in the school. Palms sweaty on the wheel, I shook my head as if Tom were there to see. Gunmen! Maybe no one knew where Dylan was because he had been shot. Maybe he was lying injured or dead in the school building—trapped, unable to get word to us. Maybe he was being held hostage. The thought was so awful I could barely breathe.

But there was, too, a nagging tug at my stomach. I’d frozen in fear when I heard Tom mention Eric Harris. The one time Dylan had been in serious trouble, he’d been with Eric. I shook my head again. Dylan had always been a playful, loving child, and he’d grown into an even-tempered, sensible adolescent. He’d learned his lesson, I reassured myself. He wouldn’t allow himself to get drawn into something stupid a second time.

Along with the dozens of other frightening scenarios whirling through my fevered brain, I wondered if the horror unfolding at the school might not be an innocently planned senior prank, spun terribly out of hand.

One thing was for sure: Dylan couldn’t possibly have a gun. Tom and I were so adamantly anti-gun, we were considering moving away from Colorado because the laws were changing, making it easier to carry concealed firearms. No matter how hideously ill-conceived the stunt, there was no way Dylan would ever have gotten involved with something involving a real gun, even as a joke.

And so it went, for twenty-six long miles. One minute I was awash with images of Dylan hurt, wounded, crying out for help, and then I’d be flooded with happier snapshots: Dylan as a boy, blowing out his birthday candles; squealing with happy pleasure as he rode the plastic slide with his brother into the wading pool in the backyard. They say your life flashes before you when you die, but on that car ride home, it was my son’s life flashing before me, like a movie reel—each precious frame both breaking my heart and filling me with desperate hope.

That hellish ride home was the first step in what would become a lifetime’s work of coming to terms with the impossible.

• • •

When I arrived home, my panic kicked into an even higher gear. Tom told me what he knew in spotty bursts: shooters at the school, Dylan and Eric still unaccounted for. Whatever was happening was serious. He’d called our older son, Byron, who’d said he would leave work and come to us immediately.

Tom and I raced around the house like demented wind-up toys, flooded with adrenaline, unable to stop or to complete a task. Our wide-eyed pets crouched in the corners, alarmed.

Tom was single-minded in his focus on the missing coat, but I was personally confounded by Nate saying Dylan had missed bowling. He’d left the house that morning with more than enough time to get there; he’d said good-bye as he left. Thinking about it, I found myself haunted by the peculiar nature of that farewell.

That morning, the morning of April 20, my alarm had gone off before first light. As I dressed for work, I watched the clock. Knowing how much Dylan hated to get up early, Tom and I had tried to talk him out of signing up for a 6:15 a.m. bowling class. But Dylan prevailed. It would be fun, he said: he loved bowling, and some of his friends were taking the class. Throughout the semester, he’d done a good job of getting himself to the alley on time—not a perfect record, but nearly. Still, I needed to keep an eye on the time. No matter how dutifully he set his alarm, on bowling mornings Dylan usually needed an extra call-out from me at the bottom of the stairs to get him out of bed.

But on the morning of April 20, I was still getting dressed when I heard Dylan bounding heavily down the stairs, past our closed bedroom door on the main floor. It surprised me that he was up and dressed so early without prompting. He was moving quickly and seemed to be in a hurry to leave, though he had plenty of time to sleep a little more.

We always coordinated our plans for the day, so I opened the bedroom door and leaned out. “Dyl?” I called. The rest of the house was too dark for me to see anything, but I heard the front door open. Out of the blackness, his voice sharp and decisive, I heard my son yell, “Bye,” and then the front door shut firmly behind him. He was gone before I could even turn on the hallway light.

Unsettled by the exchange, I turned back to the bed and woke Tom. There had been an edge to Dylan’s voice in that single word I’d never heard before—a sneer, almost, as if he’d been caught in the middle of a fight with someone.

It wasn’t the first sign we’d had that week to indicate Dylan was under some stress. Two days before, on Sunday, Tom had asked me: “Have you noticed Dylan’s voice lately? The pitch of it is tight and higher than usual.” Tom gestured toward his vocal cords with his thumb and middle finger. “His voice goes up like that when he’s tense. I think something may be bothering him.” Tom’s instincts about the boys had always been excellent, and we agreed to sit down with Dylan to see if something was on his mind. It certainly made sense that Dylan would be feeling some anxiety as his high school graduation loomed. Three weeks before, we’d gone to visit his first-choice college, the University of Arizona. Though Dylan was highly independent, leaving the state for school would be a big adjustment for a kid who’d never been away from home.

But I was unsettled by the tight quality I’d heard in Dylan’s voice when he said good-bye, and it bugged me that he hadn’t stopped to share his plans for the day. We hadn’t yet had the chance to sit down and talk with him, as Dylan had spent most of the weekend with various friends. “I think you were right on Sunday,” I told my sleepy husband. “Something is bothering Dylan.”

From bed, Tom reassured me. “I’ll talk to him as soon as he gets home.” Because Tom worked from home, the two of them usually shared the sports section and had a snack together when Dylan got back from school. I relaxed and continued to get ready for work as usual, relieved to know that by the time I arrived home, Tom would know if something was bothering Dylan.

In the wake of Nate’s phone call, though, as I stood in our kitchen trying to piece together the fragments of information we had, I felt chilled by the memory of the nasty, hard flatness in Dylan’s voice as he’d said good-bye that morning, and the fact that he’d left early but hadn’t made it to class. I’d figured he was meeting someone early for coffee—maybe even to talk through whatever was bugging him. But if he hadn’t made it to bowling, then where on earth had he been?

The bottom didn’t fall out from my world until the telephone rang, and Tom ran into the kitchen to answer it. It was a lawyer. My fears so far had been dominated by the possibility that Dylan was in danger—that either he’d been physically hurt or done something stupid, something that would get him into trouble. Now I understood that Tom’s fears also included something for which Dylan could need a lawyer.

Dylan had gotten into trouble with Eric in his junior year. The episode had given us the shock of our lives: our well-mannered, organized kid, the kid we’d never had to worry about, had broken into a parked van and stolen some video equipment. As a result, Dylan had been put on probation. He’d completed a Diversion program, which allowed him to avoid any criminal charges. In fact, he’d graduated early from the course—an unusual occurrence, we were told—and with glowing praise from the counselor.

Everyone had told us not to make too much of the incident: Dylan was a good kid, and even the best teenage boys have been known to make colossally stupid mistakes. But we’d also been warned that a single misstep, even shaving cream on a banister, would mean a felony charge and jail time. And so, at the first indication that Dylan might be in trouble, Tom had contacted a highly recommended defense attorney. While part of me was incredulous that Tom imagined Dylan could be involved in whatever was happening at the school, another part of me felt grateful. In spite of Tom’s worry, he’d had the foresight to be proactive.

I was still miles away from the idea that people might actually be hurt, or that they’d been hurt by my son’s hand. I was simply worried that Dylan, in the service of some dumb practical joke, might have jeopardized his future by carelessly throwing away the second chance he’d been given with the successful completion of his Diversion program.

The call, of course, brought much, much worse news. The lawyer Tom had contacted, Gary Lozow, had reached out to the sheriff’s office. He was calling back to tell Tom the unthinkable was now confirmed. Although reports were still wildly contradictory, there was no doubt something terrible involving gunmen was happening at Columbine High School. The district attorney’s office had confirmed to Gary Lozow that they suspected Dylan was one of the gunmen. The police were on their way to our home.

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Spindrift
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Mother in Denial
Reviewed in the United States on July 23, 2018
Should a reviewer decide on how many stars to give a book upon the entertainment value that the book brings or the content? I enjoyed Sue Klebold''s book. But as the mother of four adult children who were ages twelve to twenty one when the slaughter occurred ( I hate that... See more
Should a reviewer decide on how many stars to give a book upon the entertainment value that the book brings or the content? I enjoyed Sue Klebold''s book. But as the mother of four adult children who were ages twelve to twenty one when the slaughter occurred ( I hate that Klebold refers to this incident as "the tragedy". A tragedy is an earthquake or a tornado or a plane crash. Preventable cold blooded murders and the suicide of the murderers is not a "tragedy" ) I read this book with my hand over my eyes, peeking through my spayed fingers with a big knot in my stomach as I knew what was coming.

Although I feel very sorry for Mrs. Klebold, and perhaps expected too much from her, I was apalled at how little attention was given to the victims. She was so busy attempting to absolve herself from any responsibility that the victims were only mentioned as an after thought. Many reviws on this thread mention the repetitive nature of the text. I don''t think that it was so much repetitive as an incident would be recalled and then several pages later be retold with a different slant to it. For instance when she first tells us that her older son, Byron, moved out at 18 with her and her husband''s blessings, but returned for Sunday dinners and enjoyed a good relationship with the family. Fifty pages later she reveals that Byron moved out of the house at the intervention of a family councelor. Byron plays a rather large role in the family dynamic. She tells us that he had difficulty keeping a job and accused him of giving Dylan marijuana. In so many words she describes Byron as a bit of a loser and clearly adores Dylan and he becomes the basket that holds all the eggs for Sue. She is an academic and is very excited about Dylan''s college prospects. Byron clearly was not college material. Having two male children with this kind of dynamic established spells trouble to me. Both boys would be effected by this in different ways . Byron, of course, suffering from the feeling of being a disappointment to his parents and the quiet Dylan, clearly the apple of his mother''s eye undoubtedly felt pressure under her expectations. This is barely noted in the book by Sue.

I was also disappointed to hear absolutely nothing from the Harris family. I am sure it was their choice to not participate....but Sue was allowed to completely put the blame on Eric. This is absurd on it''s face. I was fascinated by her research on the "suicide gene" but the theory that Eric wished to kill others and Dylan only wanted to commit suicide was offensive to ME. I can only imagine how it settled with the Harris''. Sue was very defensive about her family being "accused" of being well off financially. She wanted us all to understand that though her home was clearly a "compound" in the beautiful mountains of Colorado, it had been purchased as a fixer upper. The Klebolds were indeed well off. This becomes important when Dylan and Eric are caught stealing together. Children who are under privileged steal because of the obvious fact that they do not have the possesions that their friends do. When a child as privileged as Dylan was steals it becomes much more. We are lead to believe that Eric is "bad" and Dylan just blindly follows him into mischeif, and eventually a murderous rampage which was originally planned to be much more destructive than it was. Dylan willingly took part in making the explosive devices and it was his prom date that purchased some of the guns. This is also not fleshed out by Sue. Was this young woman held responsible in any way? I believe she should have been charged as an accessory to the crime.If that happened, Sue does not tell us.

The fact that the Klebold''s marriage did not survive this most heinous of abominations was also given short shrift by Sue. The family had been weakened by many factors that were not given their due in the narritive. We all know that Sue Loved Dylan. In my opinion Dylan was her everything. So much so that she made one excuse for him after another. She would explain a negative about Dylan and then inevitably make an excuse for him at the end of the paragraph. Didn''t all teenage boys behave like Dylan? No, Sue. They do not. I am not necessarily judging Sue. I am sure I have done it myself. Sometimes parents just cannot bear to see what is right in front of their face. I feel that Sue Klebold kept her hands over her eyes with her fingers splayed, just as I did while reading her story, for many years of watching Dylan become darker and darker, until the lights went out completely.
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Jody
1.0 out of 5 stars
Narcissistic- too self indulgent- insult to the Columbine Community
Reviewed in the United States on July 31, 2018
Audiobook, Library Overdrive,....read by Sue Klebold......SPOILERS INCLUDED... I haven’t felt this incredibly dissatisfied about a book, in the way I do, like this, in a very long time. A special thanks to local Goodreads friend - LisaVegan- for being a... See more
Audiobook, Library Overdrive,....read by Sue Klebold......SPOILERS INCLUDED...
I haven’t felt this incredibly dissatisfied about a book, in the way I do, like this, in a very long time.

A special thanks to local Goodreads friend - LisaVegan- for being a great support -discussing issues and battles I had - daily - hour by hour at times- with ‘my reckoning’: living with my thoughts and feelings in the aftermath of Sue Klebold’s memoir.

It’s unimaginable the horrific devastating shocking pain - range of emotions a parent faces after a tragedy of this magnitude: denial, grief, loss, shock, fear, sadness, sickness, guilt, ashamed, etc., knowing your child killed 13 students - a teacher - and injured 24 others. I had immediate empathy for these parents years ago. I didn’t blame them. I still don’t....in fact I felt incredible empathy for them.
When I started this book - I felt even more compassion and empathy for Sue Klebold. Over lunch one day with Lisa - I said - “I had read a harsh review of this book - which I felt was ‘too harsh....”this woman is so real - our hearts break for her”. I WAS SURE I WOULD GIVE HER BOOK 5 stars ....Now, I don’t think that review was harsh ‘enough’.
By the next day - I was writing Lisa,...SO IRATE... I had taken a complete turn from feeling empathetic, to feeling angry. As my reading continued — my thoughts and emotions were mostly judgmental about this entire book! I can’t tell you how angry I felt at times. THIS WAS THE BOOK SUE WANTED THE WORLD TO READ? To me - there is SO MUCH OFF WITH IT .... I could write pages!!!!!

I still feel sorry for the shoes Sue wears since her child did what he did - I’m not saying it’s fair that she was left to suffer —- but what I don’t respect are the choices she made in the print words she wrote. With the audacity, it took a lot of chutzpah- to focus on HERSELF ( as a good loving mother AS MUCH AS SHE DID), and how her “sunshine boy” was a good kid - and she lost a son too, FOR MOST OF THE BOOK- over and over - so MUCH- I begin to cringe. I actually felt embarrassed and ashamed for so much narcissism she exposed of herself.

There were pages of examples of Dylan’s childhood- ( her “Sunshine Boy”). A few of HER INTERPRETATIONS from the examples she shared - I saw different than Sue.
I thought about how much denial she was in. Dylan was a son she wanted to see ( I don’t even blame her for being blind and having limitations - we all have them)—
But there was so much justification, looking for false causes.... and turning the story into a suicide story as being more dominant than a kid who was a mass murderer - well - I’m sorry - I think she is still in denial.

When Sue introduces herself today to people - groups - wherever ... she says: “I am Sue Klebold, mother of a son who committed suicide. He was also one of shooters at Columbine”.

Throughout this ‘entire’ book Sue repeats how good she was ( many examples - dinner with the family - she wanted to know who his friends were - had rules about violence in movies - etc - etc - etc - and about Dylan: smart, good grades, would still snuggle her), and that she had NO IDEA he was capable of this. She minimize- ( “BOYS WILL BE BOYS”), the year before when Dylan was arrested for a felony, and wrote a paper in school it was so disturbing the teacher called the parents. Is she kidding herself that there were no signs?

The denial about her son, starting very early:
When Dylan was 10 years old - she took him roller skating. He was having trouble and falling down a lot. She wanted to hold his hand. THEY HAD VERY DIFFERENT PERSONALITY TRAITS AND DISPOSITIONS. It ‘would’ be hard for a caring - hovering loving mother to get inside this type of child’s head and needs.
Dylan said he wanted to skate himself - he could figure it out himself. Sue says it felt like an hour waiting for him to make it around the rink— that it was so painful watching him fall down so many times. But when he made it back, he said ( in an aggressive voice)...”see, I told you I could do it myself”. Sue and her husband concluded “Dylan would be able to accomplish anything he wanted in life out of his pure will of force”.
She didn’t hear his frustrated voice - or acknowledge his anger - or his need to prove something by the way he snapped at his mother.
Sue spent too much time praising Dylan for doing his own laundry - doing origami - and his diligently working with legos.
Her BIGGEST fear was people would think she wasn’t a good parent. Why in the world would that be such a ‘big’ fear? Parenting is not about the packaging. A checklist is not required to prove great parenting. Just because there is no abuse...family dinners and holidays are emphasized- ( positives on the good parenting checklist)...there can still be a hollow - empty package on the inside. Dylan didn’t just one day make a quick choice to kill...
his deep inner voice didn’t match his families world. He didn’t express his inner world to his mother - he simply was a smart rat who knew how to be- and may have even cared and loved his parents very much - but his inner voice was disconnected. Sue a mother who was a teacher & taught from her good mother rule book. Dylan had fired his mother very early. There were signs of his anger - his frustrations.
This book was SO MUCH ABOUT SUE and that DYLAN was LOVED- that I started to feel ‘embarrassed’.
How could this woman speak about she and her good loving son FOR MOST OF THE BOOK — making excuses -( oh she had many possible false causes), ultimately turning this into a suicide story — leaving all the other families dangling with “I think about them all the time”..... ( but we don’t feel it nearly as much as we feel Sue’s mission to EXPLAIN *BRAIN ILLNESS*). Give me a break -
Sue was MORE UPSET, that Dylan’s Friends were not allowed to go to graduation- than she expressed for the VICTIMS, killed.
I’m ashamed of this book. I felt it was an INSULT - INSENSITIVE- to the families - and victims of Columbine.

I clearly would have been better off reading “Columbine”, by Dave Cullen for a better more comprehensive ‘understanding’.

This is a MOMMY’S MEMOIR of LOSS & PAIN.....The life she knew before April 20, 1999, was over. THAT I AM SOOOO SORRY FOR!!!
Yet Sue is confused - still in denial. This book had to have made many people gut-wrenching angry: those who lost children - family and friends. I share their anger and - at minimum- a sad disappointment with Sue’s memoir. It felt hurtful to others.

At some point I’ll definitely plan to read Dave Cullen’s book - for a more accurate examination.

THANK YOU TO ANYONE...... who read this review- I know it was long - broke my own rule. But this book got under my skin. Writing this was my way of letting it go.??
[somewhat]
Off to soak in the pool - not to read or listen to an Audiobook- simply listen to music!!! Enjoy the sounds of nature too!!!

🌿🌳🌱🍀🍃🌴🌵
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NorthernEyes
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
I really appreciate this.
Reviewed in the United States on December 13, 2017
I was 14 when the Columbine massacre occurred. I can still vividly remember all of the news channels here in Minnesota constantly reporting on it. I remember this event so well because I quickly learned that they listened to the same music I liked, and so many talk show... See more
I was 14 when the Columbine massacre occurred. I can still vividly remember all of the news channels here in Minnesota constantly reporting on it. I remember this event so well because I quickly learned that they listened to the same music I liked, and so many talk show hosts blaming Rammstein and Marilyn Manson was just absurd to me. I remember reports that they had been bullied, and I was definitely bullied too. I saw similarities between myself and them and yet I couldn''t understand why they did such a thing.
Sue explains her thoughts, feelings, and actions thoroughly and I completely understand now why Eric and Dylan could have thought such a thing would help them. Mental illnesses are very cruel, and they victimize thousands, if not more, every year.
I never blamed Sue nor any of the other parents for what Dylan and Eric did. I was 14, and I knew despite my unhealthy upbringing that my decisions were only mine to own. I feel terrible for what the Klebolds and Harrises went through. They were victims too, but in the most unfathomable and misunderstood way. THANK YOU SUE, for sharing your story, and sharing a little of Dylan with the world. You are not a monster for loving your son.
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A. Hager
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
You Won''t Get The Answer of Why
Reviewed in the United States on March 4, 2019
When Columbine happened I was a senior. I remember hating the parents of the shooters and asking "How could you not know?" " How did they have this arsenal without your knowledge? " Blaming the parents was an easy solution , because it made me safe. Our friends came from... See more
When Columbine happened I was a senior. I remember hating the parents of the shooters and asking "How could you not know?" " How did they have this arsenal without your knowledge? " Blaming the parents was an easy solution , because it made me safe. Our friends came from "normal" families with "attentive" parents. Almost 20 years later, I look at Columbine now through the eyes of a parent. A parent freaked out that her kids practice Lockdown Drills like the normalcy of sitting in the hallway, heads tucked, with a hard book protecting your neck in case of a Tornado, that we did. Scared that my kids'' school will be home to yet another school shooting. It hit close to home when the Chardon Shooting occurred, as that is the next district North of here. I wanted to Homeschool my kids at that point.
So I''ve been reading books like Columbine by Dave Cullens looking for answers. Then I came across this book while looking at Brooks book. I wanted answers. What had she missed? What had she allowed? What could I do differently by paying closer attention to my kids'' classmates or even my kids? What do I watch for? Where did she fail, that I will succeed? Just like me, you won''t find those answers in this book.
That said, I do feel like at times she sugar coats a bit too much. She makes herself appear as always forgiving, always sorry, never angry at treatment from others, always deserving of hatred, acceptance. I don''t buy it and I think sugar coating it goes against the information this books is about. I also have read stuff that was proven that is ignored her. Saying "there were no signs to pick up on" or "that wasn''t shared with us" or "we never saw that". She talks again and again about how smart Dylan was, so why was there no concern to the grades he was receiving? Multiple sources refer to Dylan''s grades tanking. Even if the teachers didn''t reach out, Report Cards would have shown it. Also, many sources refer to "Dylan''s Episodes" . These are reported as violent , angry outbursts for years leading up to Columbine. It would happen with friends, other parents, etc but we are to believe Dylan never showed any sign of these in front of his parents and they were the only ones to not know about them. I feel this information was intentionally omitted. Parents are reading this book looking for ways to protect and help out kids and hopefully prevent more loss, and I feel by leaving this stuff out, does not give the reader the truth.
My heart bleeds for Sue, it truly does, but I feel that this book could do so much more, if we stop sweeping proven evidence under the rug.
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Darin G.
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Telling and Insightful Book
Reviewed in the United States on March 26, 2017
I''ve always wanted to hear from the parents of the Columbine shooters exactly what their experience was like. This book goes into great detail about Dylan''s life growing up in Littleton leading up to the massacre. I was completely engrossed to hear from Sue Klebold what it... See more
I''ve always wanted to hear from the parents of the Columbine shooters exactly what their experience was like. This book goes into great detail about Dylan''s life growing up in Littleton leading up to the massacre. I was completely engrossed to hear from Sue Klebold what it was like to unwittingly raise a killer. One of the most overlooked aspects of the Columbine tragedy that this book illuminated for me is the fact that Eric went to the school that day to kill while Dylan went there to die.

Similar to the point that Dave Cullen makes in his great book "Columbine" though the boys ultimately committed murder at the school together what got them to that terrible conclusion was quite different. The most telling thing that I got from this book was that to his mother Dylan seemed like a perfectly normal teenager. He did not display any signs that would, for most parents, raise any red flags. He was involved, he had friends, he held jobs, he participated in activities at school, and his grades were good. I think for most parents we cling to the notion that those boy’s parents had to know that something was terribly wrong with their sons. This thinking helps us believe that what Dylan and Eric did could never happen with anyone we know. The terrible realization came when I started to understand that what Dylan did could happen to anybody''s child.

When we put Dylan Klebold into the safe little box where he was an evil person to the core it makes us feel safer because our own child could never do something like what he did, could they? Much like other famous tragedies that ended in death Columbine is easier to deal with when we can easily explain what happened and why it happened. The chilling thing that I''ve come to realize is that what happened on April 20, 1999 at Columbine High School has the potential to happen practically anywhere.

The book was at times very repetitive and sometimes I did feel like Sue was trying to drive home the fact that she was an amazing parent to Dylan. Her liberal ideals did get on my nerves at times, just because they are very different from my own, but I can still appreciate her views without agreeing with them. At one place in particular in the book she tells us about an incident only days before the shootings that I have a really hard time believing is true. It feels more like she included this story to make herself look better. On the other hand, if she is telling the truth, then Dylan was truly unbelievably manipulative and cruel in the way he lied to his mother that morning. Maybe it''s just that it is hard to believe that a person could be so cold and deceptive.

Ultimately this book is a much needed chapter in the Columbine tragedy. The suicide of Dylan Klebold is so tragic because he was a teenager on the brink of graduation, he already had a college picked out and a dorm room paid for, he had a potentially bright future working with computers, and a family who loved him dearly. How could this boy make the horrific decision to kill himself and take innocent lives in the process? That is the question that will haunt me for years.
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D.P.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The only person who can give this insight
Reviewed in the United States on December 17, 2018
I read this book over a three day period. As I was reading it I guessed that some would have the negative reactions you can read here in the 1-star reviews. It seems that many people missed the entire point of Sue''s book, which she states clearly early on. It is to show HOW... See more
I read this book over a three day period. As I was reading it I guessed that some would have the negative reactions you can read here in the 1-star reviews. It seems that many people missed the entire point of Sue''s book, which she states clearly early on. It is to show HOW the signs were missed and how normal her family seemed to her so that another family doesn''t miss the same things.

Her exact point is to guide others NOT to miss the signs that she admits she missed. She''s explaining WHY she missed them, so others don''t. I agree that she lays a significant of blame on Eric''s shoulders rather than her own son''s. But if we as a society are going to try to figure out what the heck drives children do these kinds of acts, we have to be willing to hear and listen to and BELIEVE her perspective. Does anyone believe that because her son wrote a disturbing essay (which the school never actually showed her) she should immediately think he''s probably planning a mass murder?

Mental health professionals discharged BOTH Eric and Dylan early from the Diversion program 10-weeks before the shooting even though Eric had actually checked boxes that said "Homicidal Thoughts". These are professionals who deal with criminals. If they couldn''t see it, why does everyone think untrained Mom should have?

His friends didn''t see it. His teachers didn''t see it. His parents didn''t see it. His brother didn''t see it. The criminal justice system didn''t see it. That''s the entire point of her book.

I would have liked to have more inclusion of what the Harris''s thought but that is their book to write. This book was totally insightful.
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R. Weber
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Didn’t finish
Reviewed in the United States on April 19, 2019
This book missed the mark for me. I felt like although it was very heartfelt, it wasn’t rooted in reality. Yes, I do believe they were a typical middle class family and I do believe that Sue was a good mother in so many ways. I feel like she was very organized and really... See more
This book missed the mark for me. I felt like although it was very heartfelt, it wasn’t rooted in reality. Yes, I do believe they were a typical middle class family and I do believe that Sue was a good mother in so many ways. I feel like she was very organized and really tried her best to be there for her sons.
The reason why I didn’t finish it was because it never got to the core issue. Anyone who can murder, is most likely a narcopath. I suppose everyone wants to know when something this tragic takes place what motivates the perpetrators. All the topics seemed to be covered. Music, drinking, drugs, depression, and a friendship with someone who was a narcasssit. Although I believe these influence teens, none of them could be a true cause for planning and killing people in a diabolical way.
I have no idea if her son was a covert narcasssit. It seems to be the only answer because although he certainly was influenced by his friendship, he still actively participated in a slaughter. Highly unlikely he had any empathy. Although maybe actively mimicking empathy his entire life. Seems like lots of passive aggressive ideation going on in the home and there is a denial that is deep rooted.
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Tarik D. LaCourTop Contributor: Philosophy
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A must read in light of later shootings
Reviewed in the United States on February 21, 2018
On April 20, 1999 Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold committed what has come to be known as the Columbine High School Massacre, killing 12 students, 1 teacher, and themselves. Sadly, the Columbine incident was not the last of these tragedies, with tragedies such as the Virginia... See more
On April 20, 1999 Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold committed what has come to be known as the Columbine High School Massacre, killing 12 students, 1 teacher, and themselves. Sadly, the Columbine incident was not the last of these tragedies, with tragedies such as the Virginia Tech Massacre, the Newtown Massacre, and now the Parkland Florida Massacre occurring, turning mass shootings from anomalies to commonplace in the United States. I was in 2nd grade when the Columbine High School Massacre happened and I remember that my question at the time was "What could two teenagers be so mad about that they would go into a school and murder people in cold blood?" As I have gotten older (and hopefully a little wiser) I have often wondered "What did the parents see while their children were plotting these events?" This book offers one answer to that question.

A Mother''s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy is written by Sue Klebold, mother of Dylan Klebold. The book begins on the day of the Columbine High School Massacre, and ends on the same day; except by the end Sue mentions all the things that she missed and would have done differently had she known about mental health issues. She depicts Dylan as a normal, bright kid; noting that while he did have mood swings as a teenager, he was for the most part a respectful, shy, smart young man. Perhaps this is emphasized to show the reader that while a person may seem fine on the outside, they may have malice and rage on the inside. Like a book, you cannot judge a person by their cover.

Most of the book talks about how Klebold herself dealt with the tragedy. We often forget that while the parents of those assassinated had to grieve for a long time, this is true to an even greater degree of the parents of the murderers. They not only lost their children, they also lost the image of who they thought the child was and now have to deal with the fact that their child was a murderer. This is not something that I would wish upon anyone. Eventually, Klebold was able to recover but at a price; her health was damaged (breast cancer and stomach issues) and her marriage of 43 years came to an end. Luckily, Klebold is now an advocate of mental health, and hopes that eventually we come to think of mental health in the same way that we think of other health problems. She is not a complete Utopian; she notes in the book that even if those with brain health issues do get help they can still cause problems. (Eric Harris did see a therapist but was the chief planner of the massacre.)

The main criticism I have of this book is that Klebold tends to blame Harris for the attack and tries to minimize her sons involvement, pointing out that Klebold allowed several students to flee during the massacre  and did not kill as many students as Eric. (Eric killed 8 people, Dylan killed 5.) While it is true that Dylan killed fewer people than Eric did and participated for different reasons (Dylan was suicidal and depressive, Eric was sadistic and psychopathic), it is worth noting that Eric let people go as well (one of them, Brooks Brown, wrote a book about it) and was also suffering from mental health issues. If Dylan is less to blame than Eric for having mental problems, could it be that Eric''s problems were more severe and made him more sadistic than Dylan? And even if Eric was the chief organizer of the plot, Dylan went along with it instead of turning Eric in or talking him out of it. While the body count was different as well as the motivation, both are equally responsible.
This book is a must read in light of the recent mass shootings. It gives an insider''s perspective that we do not get very often: the parent of a shooter. It also shows that we need to be as kind to the parents of the assassinated as we are to the parents of the assassins. Anger is no reason to increase someone else''s pain; after all they have lost someone to a tragedy as well. It is our place to show kindness to all, since it could just as easily be us who are in that situation.

In closing, I offer my condolences to Sue Klebold. The Columbine High School Massacre was not your fault, and I cannot imagine the suffering that you have been through. I hope you know that you are loved and are an inspiration to many.
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Lynda Kelly
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Fascinating Perspective
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 8, 2017
This was a harrowing read at times, of course but was also a fascinating perspective by Dylan''s mum. I''m with her, I''d always say the parents in this situation were clearly rubbish at their job and really couldn''t have missed what their kids were planning but after reading...See more
This was a harrowing read at times, of course but was also a fascinating perspective by Dylan''s mum. I''m with her, I''d always say the parents in this situation were clearly rubbish at their job and really couldn''t have missed what their kids were planning but after reading this you can see that her and Tom and ALL Dylan''s pals clearly had no idea whatsoever how much this boy had changed and how he thought deep down. It has to be such a shocking, horrible thing to realise. Certainly hard enough that your boy''s killed himself, but to have spree-killed others too ?? I don''t know how anyone would ever get their head around that. This struck a chord with me-"I would have said, with confidence, that I knew exactly what he was capable of. And I would have been wrong" and so did this mention of the boys'' journals-"Eric drew pictures of weapons, swastikas and soldiers; Dylan drew hearts". Quite the difference. I also found this was a powerful passage-"I parented the best way I knew to parent the child I knew-not the one he had become without my knowledge". I have to say, until I read Dave Cullen''s Columbine, I had always thought Dylan was the ring-leader as for me, he was the more scary one in "those" tapes we''ve all seen. However, his little pal Eric was the instigator. This passage summed it up-"Eric Harris wanted to kill and Dylan Klebold wanted to die". Without feeding off each other perhaps neither scenario would ever have occurred. I found it touching that Sue''s donated all her profits from this book and I also thought it nice she returned all monies sent to the family in the aftermath of the tragedy as well. The family are good people. I found it shocking that whe whole world knew what was happening yet I probably knew before Sue and her family what was going on and who was responsible. That''s just ludicrous. I was also shocked to learn the first of possibly many lawsuits was filed days after the tragedy !!! That doesn''t sit well with me. This was a brave project for Sue to undertake and I hope that the victims'' parents also read it and maybe learn it could so easily have been the boot on the other foot.
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Mr. Mj Bickle
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Torturing to read at times but brilliantly told...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 17, 2016
I went into this book with an open mind and came out having a lot of respect for Sue Klebold. She is clearly a decent woman who did her best raising Dylan and I don’t consider the massacre to be a result of bad upbringing at all. Life must have been hell for her since and I...See more
I went into this book with an open mind and came out having a lot of respect for Sue Klebold. She is clearly a decent woman who did her best raising Dylan and I don’t consider the massacre to be a result of bad upbringing at all. Life must have been hell for her since and I have so much sympathy, grieving for a son who she obviously had love for but also trying to come to terms with the horrific event he took part in would have been destroying. Coping with a child’s suicide is heart breaking enough but also having to deal with him being responsible for other deaths and injuries makes it 100 times worse, not to mention the general public speculating what a bad Mother she must have been. I like the way Sue Klebold openly tells the story but doesn’t pass negative judgement on Eric and his family which other victims in a similar position would naturally be inclined to do. Evidence suggests Eric was the instigator of Columbine and Dylan was a lost teenager who ended up going along with it but Klebold doesn’t bitterly preach this in the slightest. She is aware that although Dylan didn’t have the psychopathic tendencies Eric possessed, he was still responsible for his own actions. She comes across as a caring lady who feels constantly guilty about the destruction her son caused. Sue Klebold should be proud of this honest account and donating all of the book profits to mental health charities (plus the work she has done for them over the years), in such a messed up situation I think it shows a great amount of courage and kindness. I don''t think people should read this searching for clues or answers about why the murders happened; unfortunately these types of cases often don’t have clear cut reasons. In my mind it boils down to a couple of teenagers with serious mental health problems that lost the plot to the point of barely knowing the difference between fantasy and reality.
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Grant
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A perfect, haunting perspective of an unforgettable tragedy
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 23, 2018
Absolutely fantastic read. I actually couldn''t put it down and smashed through it in one sitting! After reading and learning about Columbine for several months, this book was the icing on the cake in terms of a different perspective. All we''ve seen so far are the news...See more
Absolutely fantastic read. I actually couldn''t put it down and smashed through it in one sitting! After reading and learning about Columbine for several months, this book was the icing on the cake in terms of a different perspective. All we''ve seen so far are the news reports, journalist accounts and re-enactments; seeing the events before, during and after from the eyes of Dylan''s mother was an almost overwhelming experience. The content brilliantly details the absolute cacophony of emotions and feelings at the time and indeed since the event and it does a fantastic job of revealing information we would never have known, if it wasn''t for the brave words of Sue Klebold. I''d recommend this to everyone.
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Catherine0021
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Difficult to read due to content but worth it
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 7, 2018
I (like a lot of people) question the upbringing of mass murderers so bought this book to see from the other side. If you are looking for a minute by minute account about Columbine this isn''t it - it is all written from Sue Klebold''s (mother of Dylan) perspective and...See more
I (like a lot of people) question the upbringing of mass murderers so bought this book to see from the other side. If you are looking for a minute by minute account about Columbine this isn''t it - it is all written from Sue Klebold''s (mother of Dylan) perspective and unfolds in the order events did for her. It is not a book of excuses - she writes clearly that isn''t her intention. This is actually my only criticism of the book that by saying so often she isn''t excusing I felt a little uncomfortable as if she tries to detract from Dylan (I genuinely feel this is just my personal interpretation but to make the review whole I note it). It is clear she did and continues to love her son and struggles with his actions but feel it was a worth while read and that acknowledging the feelings of the perpetrators family doesn''t mean you sympathise in anyway that could disrespect the victims and their families of these hideous events. I also feel that her insight could challenge assumptions and her benefit of hindsight has the potential to stop this things happening again. That maybe optimistic but surely its worth hoping for...
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Mkko
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Heartbreaking.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 12, 2017
As this is written by Sue Klebold I was expecting it to lean closer towards painting her son in more favourable light but it never does that,it sticks to a painfully honest narrative. Sue doesn’t sugarcoat nor play up certain aspects of what went on, her pain is evident in...See more
As this is written by Sue Klebold I was expecting it to lean closer towards painting her son in more favourable light but it never does that,it sticks to a painfully honest narrative. Sue doesn’t sugarcoat nor play up certain aspects of what went on, her pain is evident in her writing. She has every right to mourn her boy, she has lived through an act that is so awful that I don’t think anyone unless they’ve been in similar circumstances could ever truly understand the range of emotions and pain it would bring. It’s beyond heartbreaking. One that sticks with you after you’ve read it.
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