I didn't know if this was one I'd make it through, but I found it very humble and moving.
I have no idea where this one came from. It’s not the usual type of book that I read and I’ve never been overly interested in the Columbine disaster. But I was reading over the Best of 2016 books on Goodreads.com and this one jumped out at me. Part of my brain saw that it was written by the mother of one of the shooters and said nononononononono. But as I was reading the brief summary, a different part of my brain was intrigued, and that part won out.
It was 18 years ago this month (on April 20, 1999 to be exact) that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold entered Columbine High School with the express purpose of killing as many people as possible. I remember sitting in my dorm room and watching the footage of children running from a school because there were people shooting inside. I had never seen anything like it. I was shocked and scared because both of my parents were then school teachers and this could have happened at their school. Luckily, for me, it didn’t, but Harris and Klebold succeeded in killing 12 classmates and 1 teacher before turning the gun on themselves, not to mention injuring countless others.
Why did I want to read this? I don’t know. But what I do know is that this book was powerful.
Sue Klebold, mother of Dylan, manages to be both sympathetic and brutally honest. Throughout the book, she reinterates how much she loves (yes, present tense, not past) her son, but she also condemns his actions. She has apologized directly to the families of other victims, but she is still shocked by the violence of the end of her son’s life.
I can’t even imagine the number of hours and years she had to work through this process where she could get to the point to be able to honestly write this book. Sue now works tirelessly to prevent suicide (and murder/suicide) and she wrote this book to try and help other parents see the clues that she missed in her own son.
This book is hard to read, and I struggled with whether or not to recommend it, but in the end it is amazing. The events of Columbine are amazingly horrible. The destruction of endless lives in the wake of such a tragedy is amazingly sad. And yet, Sue’s book offers an amazing amount of hope.
Good luck with this one…
PS I would be remiss if I didn’t add this last part. If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or actions, please call 1-800-273-8255 and talk to someone who can help.