Terrifying Truth in "A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy", by Sue Klebold - Book Review

This book is not a cautionary tale, it is a horror story. Not just because of the tragedy that unfolded at Columbine High School that fated day in 1999, but because of what was going on inside the Klebolds house up until then: NOTHING OUT OF THE ORDINARY.

The pressing question in everyone’s mind when they think about the parents of Dylan Klebold is: How did they not know? The simple answer is: They didn’t.

In her gut wrenching new book, Sue Klebold will convince even the biggest of skeptics that neither she nor her husband, both actively involved parents in each of their sons’ lives, had a clue of what was going on inside their child’s mind and outside of their home.

Klebold wrote this book as a warning.

Klebold in no way gives lip service to the devastation her son caused and the lives he destroyed that day. But, she also lost her son, and by his own hand. Dylan went to the school that day to die. How do you live with that as a parent? Well, for Klebold, she has made it her life’s goal to try to understand what happened and to educate other parents on ways to prevent it.  

In preparation for the writing of this book, she did massive amounts of research on brain illness (vs. mental illness which she believes is a misnomer), suicide, school shooters, and depression. She interviewed countless professionals and other survivors to garner objective insight into the cause of her tragedy.

For her personal perspective, she opens up her family’s life to the world both before and after the shootings. She allows you to meet and know Dylan. The Dylan she knew and loved who had friends, a job, and who went to prom with a date three days before the shootings. She shows you that they were a typical suburban family.

What she found out about her son after his unspeakable acts were unimaginable to any parent and she struggles with those revelations to this day. She can’t talk about Dylan now without crying, but she’s out there trying to make a difference in other families’ lives.

Some people won’t read this book because the prospect is too terrifying. Some won’t because they have already made judgments about the Klebolds. But ultimately, this book is about something that really could happen in any home. If reading it makes you just a little more aware of changes in your teenager’s behavior, you might be able to help them in life saving ways.

Klebold’s courage to survive the wreckage that her son rained down is one thing. Her strength to tell her story to the world and to try to turn her association with his atrocities into a positive is altogether another.

Published: 2016
Publisher: Crown

Elizabeth's rating: 4