Audio Book Review: A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold

Release Date: February 15, 2016
Publisher: Random House audio
Format: Audio
Length: 11 hours 24 minutes
Narrator: Sue Klebold
Genre: Fantasy/romance
Buy: Audible | Kindle 


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 12 students and a teacher and wound 24 others before taking their own lives. 
For the last 16 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 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 countless interviews with mental health experts. 


I was very hesitant to read this book.  I've actually had it in my queue for several months but couldn't bring myself to listen to it.  But I finally figured I would give it a try.  I'm glad I did.  Sue Klebold offers no defense of her son.  She writes about how that fateful day at Columbine affected her and her family.  She writes about brain disorders and what types of things you can look for to help you identify if something is wrong with your teen and if they are suicidal. What most of us forget is that the Harris & Klebold families both also lost children, and not only did they lose their children but they had to come to terms with the fact that their children were responsible for the deaths and injuries of so many others and if their plans had actually worked how many others would have suffered. They were unable to attend any therapy groups on suicide or therapy in case those people are called to testify in the many cases against them.

I started this book reminding myself to look at this family with compassion. I thought it would be difficult but I found that listening with compassion was easy. It was heartbreaking and difficult to listen to her story of isolation, and depression as the world blamed her and her husband for what occurred. The level of deceit that Dylan had in hiding his plans and depression is astounding.  The family knew there was something wrong but not sure what or the level of anger and depression Dylan was hiding. Its terrifying how good teenagers can be in hiding their feelings.

I have already recommended this book to a few people because it really surprised me and brought Dylan Klebold from a sociopathic monster to a trouble young man with a death wish and his family from absent horrible parents to a normal family, which is even more terrifying.  If there had been something off about this family we could write Dylans actions off but Dylan could be any kid from a loving family.