It’s hard to review a book like this because it covers such a traumatic part of history that a lot of us remember vividly. I myself had only just graduated high school a few years before Columbine happened, which made the act utterly shocking and devastating, and all too real to imagine.
A Mother’s Reckoning is a heartbreaking, honest, and raw account from Sue Klebold, the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the Columbine shooters. Her prose is crisp and beautiful, telling in unsparing images what happened that day from her point of view, and the aftermath her son left behind.
Now that I am a mother myself, I find this book both heartbreaking and terrifying. How would you grieve your child, who you love so much, who is now dead, but is also a mass murderer? It’s completely unimaginable. While Sue takes us through all her stages of grieving, not just for her son but for his victims and their families, another big takeaway is how little we sometimes know the people closest to us. Even our own children. Perhaps the big lesson here is to make sure we listen—really listen—to our children, even the words that they aren’t speaking out loud, and get them the help they need if they need it.
Honest and unsparing, A Mother’s Reckoning is a dark, sad read, but one I found compelling as well. I applaud this brave, devastating book and Sue Klebold’s attempt to help others with mental health issues (the profits of the book are donated to mental health research).
I found it to be a sincere gesture to share her insight, and in no way defended the horrible actions of Dylan. Instead it is her take on mental health and how we all need to ask the right questions—not just ‘who’ or ‘what’, but also ‘how’ and ‘why’—in order to find meaningful ways to stop these acts from happening again.