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A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy Hardcover – February 15, 2016
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“…[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.”
“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.
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.
Top customer reviews
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.
I would recommend this book to anyone!
I admire her for putting this information out there. It couldn't have been easy. There are a couple reasons I didn't give this book 5 stars. First is that I found the beginning chapters a bit misleading. One example of this is at the beginning, where reader is lead to believe that Eric and Dylan weren't good friends and rarely hung out. Turns out they've been friends since middle school and hung out frequently. I thought maybe it was just me until my mom called and complained about the same thing while she was reading it.
The second reason is the repetition in this book. I understand the message she is trying to get across but the same thing is repeated in every chapter! I felt like "I get it!" now give me some new content! I actually ended up not reading the last 2 chapters after the lack of any new information in the previous few.
I did not find this book to be especially repetitive and as a mental health professional, I do not think Ms Klebold is in denial. She is in full contact with an awful reality. It has taken her all these years to come forward and I applaud her work as an Activist. This courageous work that adds to our understanding of brain disease, as she calls it. A most courageous work- I had to skim a couple of graphic parts.
It is difficult to know if getting treatment would have helped her son or prevented Columbine. There were too many variables involved and nothing specific that can truly explain "why", but the analysis of the character structures of Dylan and Eric was enlightening. The dynamics between them resulted in a perfect storm that long ago spring day.
Thank you, Ms Klebold for raising our consciousness. Although I vaguely remember thinking at the time that "the parents had to have known something", it is very clear to me now that you didn't. In the aftermath, society wanted to blame you, as though evil would always be that obvious. It is disturbing to realize that sometimes it is not.