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A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of the Columbine Tragedy

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  33,253 ratings  ·  4,648 reviews
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.

For the last sixteen years, Sue Klebold, Dylan’s mother, has lived with the indescribable grief and shame of that day. How could her ch
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published February 15th 2016 by Ebury Publishing
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Amy I agree with those who have said it gives one a renewed sense of purpose. It is definitely worth the read and changed my perspective on the parents of…moreI agree with those who have said it gives one a renewed sense of purpose. It is definitely worth the read and changed my perspective on the parents of Dylan. It is sad, but down to earth and honest. I believe Sue was very brave for writing this book and knowing that 100% of the profits goes to brain health and suicide prevention is an awesome gesture on her part.(less)
Briana If you have a library card with a library that offers Overdrive, you can request the audiobook for free!
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Start your review of A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of the Columbine Tragedy
Over the years, after a long time researching the Columbine case, I'd learned to view Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris as human beings. It was nearly impossible not to, considering I spent my time reading their journals, private online conversations, websites, jokes, accounts from friends and loved ones and teachers who liked and praised them as well as watching homemade videos they made for fun. Ever since I started the research, I knew I couldn't view them as monsters because it was far too simpl ...more
Feb 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to admit I felt a little hesitant to order this at first, until I saw "All author profits from the book will be donated to research and to charitable organizations focusing on mental health issues."

Now that I have finished reading it, I am very glad to have purchased and read it. The story was not what I was expecting, and the heart break and anguish that Sue Klebold experienced, and was willing to share, makes me want to reach out and hug her. Columbine was a tragedy all around, and th
Elyse  Walters
Jul 29, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Audiobook, Library Overdrive, by Sue Klebold......SPOILERS INCLUDED...
I haven’t felt this incredibly dissatisfied about a book, in the way I do, like this, in a very long time.

A special thanks to local Goodreads friend - LisaVegan- for being a great support -discussing issues and battles I had - daily - hour by hour at times- with ‘my reckoning’: living with my thoughts and feelings in the aftermath of Sue Klebold’s memoir.

It’s unimaginable the horrific devastating shocking pain - range
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I actually started listening to this in the summer. I only finished it recently. I find these books very hard to review.

I think this audio hit me harder then I expected. It was even more emotional as it is narrated by Sue Klebold. It took her many years to write this book. She knew there would never be a "right" time for it. She knows people blame her and her husband. She blames herself in many ways. What did they miss? Could she have stopped it?

I wasn't sure what to expect when I started list
Jaclyn Day
There’s no question that Klebold’s story is horrifying—a story of mass murder and its aftermath that blessed few of us will ever have to tell. In the wake of epic tragedy, how does a parent come to terms with their child murdering other children and adults? How does a mother or a father miss the signs of impending doom, the stockpiled weapons? This book is Klebold’s attempt to tell her story: the story of their family life, their parenting, and the complete and utter lack of signs leading up to ...more
"Her book is a tribute to Dylan without being an excuse, and a moving call to action for mental health advocacy and research."

A MOTHER'S RECKONING is a detailed and graphic account of the carefully planned massacre that occurred at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. It includes information on the recorded basement tape video made by Eric and Dylan as well as documented statements from their diaries and Sue's own journal.

A great deal of this memoir is written from the perspective of what ac

Feb 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
It would be easy to admire Sue Klebold for her courage in writing a Mother’s Reckoning. But having listened for the past few weeks to the audio version of Klebold’s book with rapt attention and a knotted stomach, I think it is probably more accurate to thank Klebold for openly sharing part of her journey in dealing with her son Dylan’s participation in the Columbine shootings. This book is heart wrenching and fascinating, but it very much feels like something Sue Klebold had to write for her own ...more
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime, memoirs
“Oh my son Absalom! My son, my son Absalom! If only I had died instead of you – Oh Absalom, my son, my son!”
- The Book of 2 Samuel 18:33

“Good wombs have borne bad sons.”
- Miranda, in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Act I, Scene 2

“On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold armed themselves with guns and explosives and walked into Columbine High School. They killed twelve students and a teacher, and wounded twenty-four others, before taking their own lives. It was the worst school shooti
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Matt by: Sarah Suzy
Shelves: audiobook, buddy-read
Out of the worst tragedies there surely sprouts some specks light and hope. That seems to be the premise of this book and makes it the ideal choice for the buddy with whom I chose to read this. Pain and suffering seems to envelop people, but there are many more feelings and emotions that layer themselves within the larger narrative of grief. Sue Klebold has the insurmountable task of penning this piece and trying not to get lost in the accusations surrounding the pall left by her son. Dylan Kleb ...more
Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think now more than ever in a time when the Internet and Social Media has become such a huge part of teenagers and children's every day life and parents struggle to know exactly what their kids are browsing or becoming sucked into, this book raises important alarms or even important discussions which as parents we need to be having.

I had recently read Columbine by Dave Cullen and when a goodreads member reviewed A Mother's Reckoning Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold by Sue Klebold I really wanted to read it to try and understand why a teenager could commit such
Feb 17, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sue Klebold's narrative is extremely difficult to relate to and empathize with. This book reads like a taut justification defending how good her family is, while very subtly hinting at how "others" live:

"I hadn't even been one of those cool parents who smokes pot with their kids or introduces them to their groovy boyfriends." (119).

So what's she saying here about single moms? Hmm...

From the first chapters, which begin on the day of the shooting, the author focuses specifically on her own image
Whitney Atkinson
4.5 Stars

TW: Suicide, gun violence, gore, the general graphic nature of homicide/suicide

All I can say is wow. I had a set of expectations for this book, and it surpassed even that. I knew it would be dark and haunting, but I think this will have a much more lasting impression on me than I could have ever anticipated. I listened to the audiobook that Sue narrates, and I can't remember the last time I've listened to an audiobook on 1x (regular) speed and absolutely drank in every word. I didn't wa
Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews
I found Sue Klebold to be honest, empathic, and credible with the facts she gathered and presented them well, and willing to take responsibility for her son. A Mother’s Reckoning is a sincere gesture in sharing and I thought Sue Klebold shared some very important information, messages and insight to living in the aftermath of tragedy.

Sue takes us from, denial to acceptance and then to some kind of comprehension of her life and the part of the tragedy committed by her son.

I think this is someth

3.5 stars

Sue and Tom Klebold's son - Dylan Klebold - was one of the Columbine High School shooters. On April 20, 1999 Dylan and his friend Eric Harris brought explosives and guns to school, apparently planning to cause mass carnage by blowing up the building. The bombs failed to go off but the boys did roam the school spraying bullets; they killed 12 students and a teacher, wounded 24 others, and then committed suicide.

Dylan Klebold

Eric Harris

Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris roaming the halls of
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, non-fiction
This book was extremely difficult to read at times, and I can only imagine how hard it was for Klebold to write. It's a horrible story and one that we sadly see repeated year after year; and it's hard not to feel defeated, like things will never change and there's nothing we can do about it. But amongst the more trivial things in this book—like Klebold's excellent writing for someone who doesn't do this professionally—I think what stands out most is Klebold's optimism and faith that we can chang ...more
Sep 25, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-of-2016
I am not sure how you review something like this - a mother's recounting of a cherished son's life, the heinous act he commits and the aftermath of that act on her life and family. I'm giving it a 3.5 just in terms of the writing, readability and narrative flow but I am in no position to review the veracity of what happened here.

All I can say is that I feel great sympathy for Sue Klebold and everyone affected by this tragedy. She does a great job of giving readers insight into what it would be l
Kelsey Hanson
*heavy sigh* I'm exhausted. It took me three very long days to get through this book and I honestly wish that I did not read it. This book is very hard to read and even harder to review. On the one hand, I sympathize with Klebold, but I have to say that I think publishing this book was a mistake.

Before I start this review, let me just say that I have nothing but compassion for Sue Klebold. I can't imagine the pain that she has gone through, and I certainly hope that writing this book brought her
Mar 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs, audio
I finished this audiobook more than two weeks ago and I still really don't know how to review it. It was heartbreaking. I was not a mother when Columbine happened. I was stunned when I saw the news that day but I can't recall ever considering how the mothers of the shooters might be feeling. Ever. This is devastating. Sue Klebold's life as she knew it ended abruptly on that day 17 years ago when she not only lost her son, but was left behind to piece together a puzzle that could never be complet ...more
Lucille Zimmerman
I live here in Littleton and knew people involved in the tragedy. I attend the church that planted 15 trees (including two for Dylan and Eric). I have probably crossed paths with Sue a hundred times, maybe a thousand, but I don't know her. I have close friends that lived near the Klebold home. We joined those friends in praying as they left notes on her mailbox, etc.

I have a private counseling office one mile south of Columbine High School. Not a day goes by when I drive by the school that I do
jv poore
Mar 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it, non-fiction
To say "I really liked it" is not accurate; but I am so very glad that I read this book (huge thank you to Dave Cullen for the recommendation).

Ms. Klebold is honest and reflective in ways that I cannot imagine. It seems to me that she genuinely only bared her life and soul with the earnest hope that someone can learn from her "mistakes". Much of her story is scarier than Stephen King, but hers is a horror we can learn from and hopefully avoid in our own lives.

I admire the courage, diligence &
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars

I can't believe it's been 17 years (and dozens of mass shootings henceforth) since the horrible events of April 20, 1999 in Littleton, Colorado. The havoc wrought at Columbine High School that spring day would become the very essence of parents' nightmares in the US and world-wide. I didn't become a parent until nine years after Columbine, but I'm sure its hoary tendrils have subconsciously wormed their way into my worst fears: how can I possibly keep my kid safe when I send her to school
Feb 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jonetta by: Julia Ce
When the Columbine massacre occurred in April of 1999, I recall judging the parents. After all, there had to have been some extremely obvious signs for their sons to be able to do something like this. Or, they were so disengaged in their lives they were just plain oblivious. If nothing else was accomplished (and there definitely is more), this book has changed my outlook. I'll never, ever again "assume" anything close to this kind of thinking or judge.

I was most interested in hearing from the p
Feb 15, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Looks like I am in the minority on this one. Let me start off by saying whenever one of these horrific events happens, I always feel so badly for the family because I know they are going to be blamed and that is not fair at all. However 80% of this book is her telling me what a normal family they were and what I normal childhood he had (and I believe it) and the other 20% that he had a brain disease and was suicidal (and I believe that too). However we never get any insight as to why he tipped o ...more
Feb 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
This book deserves a more eloquent review than I can muster this late in the evening. For now I will say that this broke my heart with it's bravery, honesty and compassion. More to come soon.

Update: Upping this to 5 stars because I haven't stopped thinking about it since I put it down.
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sera by: Book Page
I give Klebold much credit for writing this book and for putting herself out here where many will continue to ridicule her, hold her in contempt or just full out not believe what she has to say. Even she understands how difficult it is for people to accept that sometimes parents don't know that their child is planning to do something terrible, and that if the child does do something terrible, that the terrible act is not always the result of poor parenting. How could you not know that Dylan was ...more
April 20, 1999 – Columbine High School – Littleton, Colorado
Who does not remember this day when Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed twelve students, one teacher, wounded twenty-four others, and then took their own lives?

A Mother’s Reckoning Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy is Sue Klebold’s undertaking to describe what it is like to be the mother of the child who committed this horrible act, to give a portrait of her life, her family, before and after this mass killing.

Sue Klebold had question
Oct 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Like other reviewers have said, this is a hard book to review. I set this aside after finishing it and I almost wished I hadn't read it. It is so heartbreaking. Sue Klebold is a very strong woman, I don't know how she got through all of this.

"I thought if this is really happening and he survived, he would go into the criminal justice system and be executed, and I couldn't bear to lose him twice. I gave the hardest prayer I ever made, that he would kill himself, because then at lease I would kno
Feb 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sigh, where to start. First, I want to deeply discredit reviews that state this book is nothing but a mother making excuses for her son. It is actually the exact opposite of that, and at times, almost has nothing to do with her son, but more of raising awareness on suicide and mental health. (She actually calls it brain health and brain illness throughout her book, for a very smart reason. Mental refers to something intangible, and some experts believe that if we change the terminology from ment ...more
Mariah Roze
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mariah Roze by: Matt
I read this book because a friend of mine suggested it. The minute he told me about it I put it on hold! I had just read Columbine by Dave Cullen and learned a ton about the school shooting in 1999. This book is about Sue Klebold, Dylan's (one of the shooters) mother, who has lived with the indescribable grief and shame of that day.

Sue shares her journey as a mother to try to come to terms with the incomprehensible. Through this book she hoped to help other families recognize when a child is in
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-stories
This is a very painful book to read. When we hear about the actions of murderers we always think to ourselves: "How could they've done that? What a monster! Poor victims and their loved ones!" But we never think about the killer's loved ones. They are also a victim. They had nothing to do with murders but people judge them and make their life a living hell. Not only they lost a loved one if this is a murder-suicide situation, they don't get any sympathy from people for their loss.

This book is r
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Sue Klebold is the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the two shooters at Columbine High School in 1999 who killed 15 people before ending their own lives, a tragedy that saddened and galvanized the nation. She has spent the last 15 years excavating every detail of her family life, and trying to understand the crucial intersection between mental health problems and violence. Instead of becoming paral ...more

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