Book Review: A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

Published: February 15, 2016 by Broadway Books
Genre: Memoir
Edition: E-book
Pages: 319
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
If viewers have not noticed, I have a thing for memoirs. I personally love memoirs where the author is completely vulnerable with his/her readers and does not seem to lean towards a good or bad only perspective. For those that are unaware of the author, Sue Klebold is the mother of Dylan Klebold; he is one half of the shooting duo responsible for the April 20, 1999 school shooting at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. In A Mother’s Reckoning, Sue Klebold does an exceptional job at chronicling the events from her son’s childhood up until the events of Columbine that ultimately ended with the suicide of her son. Although she is the perpetrator’s mother, she does not condone the actions of her son that resulted in the loss of thirteen lives or try to make excuses as to what may have caused him to make the decision to commit this heinous act. However, she also showcases the wonderful aspects of her son that have completely come undone due to that one fatal decision.

Sue Klebold has always kept a diary, which is the source for all the recollections she provides throughout this book. Growing up, Dylan was a normal, well-behaved child that presented no warning signs that he would mature into a person that would be capable of any act of violence upon himself or others. He always did his homework, maintained good grades, never argued with his parents, or even used profanity; he gave his parents no reason to worry. It is often that individuals assume that parents are aware that something is going on with their child and refuse to accept the signs being presented, while others seem to feel as if it is the parents who are at fault when their child demonstrates harmful, deadly behavior. Klebold shines light on the errors of this thinking; in her raw and honest style of writing, she lets readers know that it is impossible to truly know everything about your child and that you can do everything right as a parent and at the end of the day still fail.

During the last few months of Dylan’s life, he exhibited no signs of the horror that lied ahead. He maintained his usual, content self; he was partaking in normal senior activities: prom, college applications, as well as even declaring to his parents the college he wanted to attend and they even took him there for a tour! Life in the Klebold household could not have seemed happier and bright, but that quickly came crashing down on that fateful April day. Sue was at work when her husband called to let her know about the school shooting; as would any mother, she immediately thought of Dylan and how to deliver him to safety. It would only be a few hours until everything in her world came crashing down when she discovered her son was one of the members responsible. By the end of the shooting, thirteen lives were loss including Sue’s son, Dylan who ultimately committed suicide in the school’s library by gunshot wound to the left temple. 

In the aftermath of the tragedy, everything for the Klebolds started to fall apart. The community that once welcomed them with open arms now turned their backs in disgust and anguish. The public outrage led to the family’s decision to not have a funeral, but instead a small, private viewing among close family before having the body cremated. The grieving process took a toll on Klebold and her husband, which sadly led to their divorce. This experience has shaped her life into what it is today and she has spent the last two decades sharing her personal story with others in hopes to bring about more awareness towards mental health. 

In conclusion, I must say this read is definitely worth it. I rarely give books a five star rating, but this one absolutely deserves it. I hope by reading this review, you feel encouraged to give the book a chance.

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