I read this when I was about 11-12 years old. Thought it was awesome. However, the high stress level of reading Stephen King books at that point in myI read this when I was about 11-12 years old. Thought it was awesome. However, the high stress level of reading Stephen King books at that point in my life resulted in incredible frustration in dealing with my parents during the moments I did not have my face buried in the book. Or maybe that was just hormones. Anyway, this was my favorite from that period....more
"He that has done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another, than he whom you yourself have obliged."
I lent my umbrella to one of my most troublesome clients today - I nearly withheld it. I find myself thinking more fondly of him now that I chose to lend it (the "virtuous circle", Tavris calls it). I hope my client feels likewise, but honestly it's just good to have let some of that spite go.
Very interesting, but a hard read. I had to alternate between other things to keep from getting bogged down by the heavy subject matter. Here are my iVery interesting, but a hard read. I had to alternate between other things to keep from getting bogged down by the heavy subject matter. Here are my impressions.
For context, I do remember when this happened, but I don't remember the footage or many of the media rumors mentioned; like many of my friends, Dylan and Eric were class of '99, I was class of '00 (like Patrick Ireland), several states away, with my own teenage world of self-importance. I only have vague memories of coverage of the standoff at Waco (I was 11) and the collapse of the Murrah building: I can't tell you where I was when I got news of Columbine or how much footage I might've watched. The author mentions that media attention on Littleton dropped off after a deadly tornado struck Oklahoma later that spring -- I do remember driving from Texas to OKC in May '99, that we happened to see signs of the tornado's devastation visible from the highway, and later visiting the site of the Oklahoma City bombing with my church youth group. Not long after, in November '99, I remember losing former classmates in the A&M bonfire collapse. My high school went on lockdown at least once because a gun (or two) was present in the school. It was a weird year to turn 18.
The author switches time frame and subject matter often, the book is broken up into 50+ chapters and several "parts", giving him a chance to start the telling over, but it is generally pretty easy to keep track of what's being discussed, except at the beginning when I had no idea who Dave Sanders and "Mr. D" were, if they were possibly the same person, or why we were bouncing into and out of their lives. Early on there is a preliminary description of what happened on 4/20/99 which kind of leaves you wondering how he is going to stretch the story out for 11 full CDs, but there were still interesting new details trickling in at the end.
The tone borders on flippant sometimes ("chugging brewskies"?), but I'm sure it's hard to bounce back and forth between the juvenile first-person perspective of the shooters and the more reverent tone that is generally called for in dealing with a massacre. I don't know which words were taken verbatim from other sources (interviews, the kids' journals), because I listened to the book on audio. Audio was fine, I just wish the author had read the book himself because the voice actor didn't totally fit the tone of the writing. And it was really hard for me to get used to Jefferson County being called "Jeffco" at nearly every opportunity; I understand that this is how the locals refer to themselves, but the constant use of local shorthand was jarring to me, as an outsider.
I think Cullen did a good job presenting the information and letting it tell its own story. I felt that a really thorough assembly was done of a lot of information that was not previously widespread, and I'm sure the author did his share of interviews. I liked the way old myths were acknowledged and set aside with explanations that felt much truer; I think the author did a very good job presenting the boys as a depressive and a psychopath, who were not spurred to action suddenly by any particular offense but had planned this, and suggested reasons they went through with this instead of getting caught or letting the plan fizzle out. It was fascinating to learn what their real plans were, and how the didn't really work out.
There was decent amount of attention on the police/FBI/justice system, and the ways that things went wrong, the precursors that were ignored, the files that were "lost", the victims that were left bleeding for hours after the shooters had already died while the cops did nothing - which led to new tactics about how to approach such situations actively. The mess that was made of investigating. It's haunting to think about Dave Sanders, and the kids whose bodies were just left outside overnight.
I was surprised by the evangelical spin on the tragedy, but I was also relieved the book didn't focus there for too long.
I'm not sure if Dave Cullen actually interviewed the Klebolds, but the Harrises apparently aren't talking. The book seemed to dispel a lot of myths about the cause of these events: it wasn't goth music or the trenchcoat mafia or jocks hazing nerds or racism, and he strives to show that it wasn't because the boys had terrible childhoods either. There are a lot of ways to speculate about the level of parental attention that allowed kids who had already committed at least one felony to hide alcohol, firearms, and explosives in their rooms without real fear of being caught, to have a "hit list" posted on a website that other parents knew about, to stay out all night drinking after prom (look at this half-full bottle of schnapps mom, see I didn't drink too much!), to have an unannounced sleepover with their known partner-in-crime (when did I ever have someone spend the night without asking first?), etc. It's really hard to say "they did their best, they did as much as they thought they had to, they aren't at fault" and leave it there.
But it's really not about the parents, it's not about laying blame, or reasons why the Harris and Klebold families shouldn't be allowed to mourn their losses too. (And what profound losses; the loss of their children and the futures they'd dreamed for them, the shock of finding out who their children "really were", the fear or guilt that they could've/should've stopped something, and the life-altering shame and rage directed at them... so different than the other experiences that came out of this tragedy.)
I think this book is just about telling what happened, so that we can all clear up our misconceptions and let it rest, which is probably what those injured, the victims' families, and the community would most appreciate at this point. Just understanding the truth and letting go. ...more
Thought it was great, giving it a second listen, recommend to everyone.
Actually one of those books that I would have read more slowly if I were readiThought it was great, giving it a second listen, recommend to everyone.
Actually one of those books that I would have read more slowly if I were reading the text, because there are things my mind wanted to rest on, to savor or turn over and over until I really understood them....more
We attended a reading in November, he read a few of these stories. He mentioned that he has recently had an interest in dirty jokes, told a couple, anWe attended a reading in November, he read a few of these stories. He mentioned that he has recently had an interest in dirty jokes, told a couple, and solicited more from the audience. I like hearing David Sedaris read, but I think these stories were just subpar. Creepy, cheap, lacking. Contrived characters with wry little endings, in the style of a dirty joke. I don't usually fast forward when listening to books on tape, but I did here. I hope this is just a passing phase; he's better than this.
PS sorry if this review sucks, I tried 5x to edit it on my Android, lost numerous better phrasings to the proximity of the "cancel" or "close" button to the "save", and this interface on a mobile device is the most frustrating thing I have ever dealt with. ...more
Can't imagine picking up the hard copy - Tracy was made for audiobook.
I would kind of like to know if the book has anything the CDs don't. Because ceCan't imagine picking up the hard copy - Tracy was made for audiobook.
I would kind of like to know if the book has anything the CDs don't. Because certainly you don't get the same hauntingly cool experience of listening to Tracy's late father's original recorded songs by reading the book. Are there like, family photos?
Yes, there has been a lot of oversharing and stories of hard times. I'm 1/2 the way through and he has already identified his personal hero as three different people. That's cool. I have thought he was a hilarious man for years, but this book isn't a comedy. It's really neat to hear the places where he touches a sore subject and his voice cracks.
I imagine the original "writing" process was a lot like this - hand Tracy a tape recorder, then hand the tapes to the ghostwriter to sort into some kind of order - Tracy and Anthony Bozza go over the edits, then get Tracy in the studio to read the text onto CDs. ...more