Title: A Mother’s Reckoning
Author: Sue Klebold
Publisher: Ebury Publishing, Penguin Random House UK
Sue Klebold is the mother of one of the Columbine shooters. In A Mother’s Reckoning she looks back at her time raising Dylan Klebold, exploring behaviours and discussing both the lead up to and the aftermath of the shooting, as well as bringing to front her own research and work on the causes of such tragedies.
This book was an incredibly powerful read – I found myself thinking about it when I wasn’t reading it and long after it had finished. The confusion and grief over what happened projects clearly from the pages, while each word is a careful examination of everything that unfolded before, during and after the shooting. Klebold does not stray away from the darker details, or tries to shield herself. She explores her own actions in raising Dylan, trying desperately to find out why the boy she thought she knew turned out to be someone else entirely.
More than that, however, she uses the book to highlight what to look out for in young people who could be depressed or in danger of suicide, in the hopes it could prevent further grief. Klebold goes into a lot of detail about the research she has done surrounding the role of mental health in these kinds of tragedies, from attending events to meeting with psychologists and other experts who can shed even the slightest bit of insight. The research isn’t at an end either and Klebold will be donating all her profits from the sale of this book to charity and research focusing on mental health issues.
However, the book itself is not a complete breakdown of what happened and why. We will never truly know the complete reasoning behind the two boys’ actions, but it does help answer some questions and give a small glimpse into the horrors that all those who were connected in any way to the shootings would have experienced. There are sections which do feel like they’re missing something and the book only really focuses on Dylan, as would be expected. I, for one, would be interested to read an account from Eric Harris’ family to see if there were any similar behaviour changes between the two, or if their experiences with him were any different, especially given that, while Dylan was believed to be depressed, experts believe Eric to have had psychopathy.
That being said, this book is a compelling memoir, one which captures the grief and horror of a mother who discovers her son has both died and killed on the same day, while also taking a look at the reasons why such a tragedy occurred, shedding light on something which is prevalent even today. It’s a personal project by a woman who could have easily shied away from the public eye, but instead used her immense bravery to face her critics and talk about something that obviously means a lot to her, in the hope it will help save someone else. It’s a book that I would recommend reading if you are even the slightest bit interested in mental health, or even if you’re not. It is easily one of my top reads of the last year, despite being difficult to take in at times, and I will still be thinking of it for days, weeks and months to come.
A Mother’s Reckoning will be released in the UK on the 9th February 2017.
The Book Depository (affiliate link): https://www.bookdepository.com/Mothers-Reckoning-Sue-Klebold/9780753556818/?a_aid=rosienreads