- File Size: 5841 KB
- Print Length: 319 pages
- Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (February 15, 2016)
- Publication Date: February 15, 2016
- Sold by: Random House LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01208WN3G
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #56,934 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy Kindle Edition
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– 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.”
“I believe Sue Klebold. So will you.”
“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.”
“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 --This text refers to the hardcover edition.
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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.
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.
That changed when I read Susan's essay, I Will Never Know Why. It, to me, is the single most important essay ever written, and it changed me. Never, since reading that essay, have I ever blamed parents for their child's behavior, especially kids in their teen years. I've seen my own child act out in ways that she certainly didn't learn from her father and I, and I felt deception like I never felt it before. And stupid. I felt stupid that a teen could pull the wool over my eyes. Thanks to Susan, I learned years ago that it is foolish to think I know my child.
I waited for this book to drop on my Kindle last night, and read it until I finished it. I did have to take breaks, because she is raw and honest, and as a mother, this is a welcomed relief, but also suffocating. I can only conclude that not only is this book a reflection of Susan's most personal thoughts, but a reflection of myself and all the mistakes I've made, and the signs I've overlooked as a parent. It's suffocating to realize my own failures, simply put.
Every year, right after New Year's, I share Susan's essay on my FB page in hopes of enlightening others. Susan, I continue to send you strength, courage and clarity. Thank you for being you. From one mother to another, I give you permission to mourn your son. You can simultaneously have grief for all the victims and your son, because the heart can hold multiple emotions at once. I wish you well.
Top international reviews
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.
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.
I have my questions about the veracity of some of Mrs Klebold's claims, but for the most part she is relating her own unique experience of the events around Columbine and how they affected her and those close to her, so my doubts are perhaps without answers.
This book broadened my perspective about the culture and society I live in (UK) and my awareness of mental health issues many suffer with every day. Understanding such things better enables me to empathise with the sufferers more and has certainly improved my relationship with some of the individuals I come into contact with in my professional life.
Columbine has become a term which has expanded beyond its own boundaries to encapsulate a sense of horror, tragedy, miscomprehension and helplessness which meanders through all our lives today, whether under the guise of gun crime in the US or random terrorist acts in the UK and elsewhere. Klebold's book tackles these issues head on, no-holds-barred and with glaring honesty, encompassing the effects of child crimes on the wider psyche and how it is our nature to deny first and only after time has passed, slowly accept what can no longer be avoided about the young persons we live with every day, take to school, shop for, feed and share holidays with.
If nothing else, this is a refreshing viewpoint on a still painful subject, the literature around which is often bursting with conspiracy theories and sensationalism. It helps to humanise what has long been considered inhuman, and acknowledges the fact that the perpetrators of school shootings and terrorist attacks are all somebody's children, and that there may parents grieving the loss of their child every time something like Columbine happens. It's never just about the perpetrators and their immediate victims, for the victims are many and varied as this book eloquently and intelligently explains.
I'd recommend this to everyone.
By the end you cannot help but think Sue Klebold is a very decent person who has been cast into a living hell and there but for the Grace of God (and lax guns laws) go any parent.
If you're looking for accounts of the actual shootings at Columbine then this isnt the right book. This book is predominately based on how Sue Klebold felt from the moment she heard that Dylan was directly involved in the shooting. She takes you on her journey through the shock, the abuse and her grief, grief not only for her son but for all of the victims involved. How difficult this must have been to put into words but she really does it so eloquently whilst always acknowledging throughout the book the total devastation caused by Dylan and Eric Harris. When these tragedies happen, I think we forget about the families of the perpetrators. Its easy for joe public to have nothing but hatred for people who commit these crimes, we dont feel sorry for them, grieve or miss them and I dont think anyone can really truly appreciate how difficult life becomes when people know you are Dylan Klebolds mum.
I have felt lots of emotions as I read this book, thats how good it is.