Review: A Mother’s Reckoning – Living in the Aftermath of the Columbine Tragedy By Sue Klebold

Goodreads Blurb

On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Over the course of minutes, they would kill twelve students and a teacher and wound twenty-four others before taking their own lives.

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Dylan Klebold

For the last sixteen years, Sue Klebold, Dylan’s mother, has lived with the indescribable grief and shame of that day. How could her child, the promising young man she had loved and raised, be responsible for such horror? And how, as his mother, had she not known something was wrong? Were there subtle signs she had missed? What, if anything, could she have done differently?

These are questions that Klebold has grappled with every day

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Author Sue Klebold – Dylan’s mother

since the Columbine tragedy. In A Mother’s Reckoning, she chronicles with unflinching honesty her journey as a mother trying to come to terms with the incomprehensible. In the hope that the insights and understanding she has gained may help other families recognize when a child is in distress, she tells her story in full, drawing upon her personal journals, the videos and writings that Dylan left behind, and on countless interviews with mental health experts.

Filled with hard-won wisdom and compassion, A Mother’s Reckoning is a powerful and

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Eric Harris

haunting book that sheds light on one of the most pressing issues of our time. And with fresh wounds from the recent Newtown and Charleston shootings, never has the need for understanding been more urgent.

All author profits from the book will be donated to research and to charitable organizations focusing on mental health issues.

My Review

There aren’t a lot of people who don’t know about the terrible tragedy that was Columbine school shootings which happened in April 1999. If you’re wondering if you are empathetic, all you need to do is pick up this book and read it, I guarantee you that by the end of it, you’ll have gone through at least 6 boxes of tissues! It’s truly and heart wrenching read.

Sue, is Dylan Klebold’s mother, and he is one of the shooters that killed 12 students and one teacher, and wounded as many as 25 others.  She thought she knew her son, thought that all he needed was love and everything that ‘good parenting’ entails. However, she finds out in the worst way possible that there was a lot more going on with him than what she saw on the surface. How do you deal with something so horrific? Your son’s suicide, and the fact that he was partly responsible for the murder and injuring of others? Sue really does a magnificent job of baring her soul, her thoughts, her failures, and her ignorance for the world to see.

It was really eye opening to read what she had to go through, including the awful things from strangers that came from all around the world. People tend to forget that she, and her family, were victims as well.  She paints us a picture of the son she thought she knew, and the painful path she walked when it was revealed who he really was. You just can’t imagine.

She does do a great job in sharing various information that she has learned about mental health (or brain health as she likes to call it), violence, and school shootings by interviewing various experts over the last 16 years. Things that sometimes people don’t think about, or know about, or have been told a skewed or wrong information. However, there were times when it was very much biased information that she was sharing.   I suppose that’s only to be expected, and she does do a good job to try and avoid it. She shares a lot of information that is helpful for parents to know, and just people in general. I think the message to ‘think before you speak/type/rant’ is poignant in this book; not just about this tragedy, but to other like it. It’s pretty easy to throw blame when you live in a black and white world. Some of us know that the world isn’t black and white though, there’s a lot of grey. And essentially, mental health can be grey at times, because of our individuality.

Overall, this was a fantastic read. A real eye opener in that you get to experience some of what it’s like for families who are involved in tragedies like this. Hopefully, you feel a little more empathy and compassion at the end of it, if you didn’t already.

I rate this book: 4.5/5

You can purchase the ebook here

Happy buying and reading!

Nat

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Review: Two By Two by Nicholas Sparks 

Amazon Blurb

At 32, Russell Green has it all: a stunning wife, a lovable six year-old daughter, a successful career as an advertising executive and an expansive home in Charlotte. He is living the dream, and his marriage to the bewitching Vivian is the center of that. But underneath the shiny surface of this perfect existence, fault lines are beginning to appear…and no one is more surprised than Russ when he finds every aspect of the life he took for granted turned upside down. In a matter of months, Russ finds himself without a job or wife, caring for his young daughter while struggling to adapt to a new and baffling reality. Throwing himself into the wilderness of single parenting, Russ embarks on a journey at once terrifying and rewarding-one that will test his abilities and his emotional resources beyond anything he ever imagined. 

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My Review 

Like many, I’ve fallen in love with ‘Sparkie’ books over the years. You can hardly believe a male can write such deep and moving stories. This time though, I’ve been torn. 

I feel like I should get my grievances out of the way first, because I almost feel some-what guilty for having them 🤔.  It was in 1st person POV. It was hard to maintain attention, because it was quite boring for 2/3 of the book. The constant small scene changes were quite annoying and ruined the flow at times. Sometimes the character felt very one-dimensional, which then added to the boredom.  And finally I really disliked the very short time period between Vivian and Emily, but that’s just a personal opinion. 

So what did I like about it?

I like, that after 270 odd pages, that I started finally enjoying it. I admit, I considered quitting, but I’m glad I finished it. I was quite literally bawling at the end 😂😭😭  I’ve made it no secret that 1st POV is not my favourite, but I did start to realise that it was refreshing to have such a personal view of a males feelings. I haven’t been privy to that very much in my life time, so I enjoyed the peak that we were allowed here. I actually quite enjoyed the flashback reminiscing we got at the beginning of each chapter, also. I like that it was upfront in the chapter, instead of being slotted in somewhere in the chapter and the author doing a random flashback between scene changes. 

I loved the emotion during the last 1/3 of the book, so much so that was bawling like a baby 😂 and that’s how it should be reading a sparkie book. I would have liked him to have brought that part of the book further forward in the book, if anything I think he glossed over the things in there to quickly. 

So while it started at as some what of a game train wreck, it did pick up for me toward the back. It’s definitely not what I had been expecting, and maybe that’s what’s influenced my opinion. It’s sometimes hard to break old habits. I think if you start this book being prepared that it’s not a typo I am sparkie book, you might enjoy it that little bit more. Or maybe not… Definitely give it a go though, and finish it, don’t just quit! 

I rate this book: 3/5 

Purchase your ebook copy here at Amazon. 

Happy buying and reading 

Nat