A Mother's Reckoning

  • by Sue Klebold
  • Narrated by Andrew Solomon, Sue Klebold
  • 11 hrs and 31 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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.
Filled with hard-won wisdom and compassion, A Mother's Reckoning is a powerful and haunting book that sheds light on one of the most pressing issues of our time. And with fresh wounds from the recent Newtown and Charleston shootings, never has the need for understanding been more urgent.
All author profits from the book will be donated to research and to charitable organizations focusing on mental health issues.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Sad, but, Ultimately, Self-Serving

What Sue does best in this book is remind the world that she lost a son too at the tragedy at Columbine. That's easily forgotten, and when she writes of her grief as a mother, that rings true, loud and clear. When she strays from that, however, she she goes on, for hours on end, for example, about how she initially believes Dylan was duped, she's exasperating.
It is a powerful moment, indeed, when she and her family watch the tapes and realize that Dylan actually gleefully killed others, but even then, she goes to great lengths to let the listeners know that many were saved because he let some people run away. She lets us know that he was no "Eric Harris."
I will say this, loud and clear, no one, NO ONE should be held responsible for ANYONE's suicide or should they murder anyone else. I do NOT hold Sue Klebold responsible for Dylan's suicide or for his choice to murder.
I DO hold her responsible for his continuing depression and for his continual side-stepping of responsibilities of consequences for his actions.
She says there were no signs of his behaviors, yet she goes on and on about all sorts of instances of his changed behaviors, instances of paranoia, outbursts of anger, signs of withdrawal. Basically, she didn't want to deal with them because she wanted to deal with only one son at a time (she flat-out says it). Life isn't that neat and tidy, Sue. Parenting is hard work. And Sue, your job is to look for those signs. No, you don't look for signs of suicide/homicide, but yes, you DO look for depression/signs of trouble. You do. It's your job. But she takes opportunities when she spends time with him to talk about herself rather than talk with him. She shoves him into the refrigerator and digs her hand into his shoulder and shrieks at him for forgetting Mother's Day, she corrects his soccer game, tells him to play harder, rather than tell him it's okay, she loves him no matter what.
And when he starts breaking the law, she starts, in front of him, discounting what authorities say, starts battling with what they'd like the consequences to be, instead of accepting them so that Dylan can learn boundaries/consequences. Every step of the way, each infraction, she rejects boundaries, even the ones that could help him.
Another problem with the book is that Sue Klebold goes out of her way to cite study after study that says she couldn't possibly know this that and the other, but she has no problem trashing Eric Harris and his family, even tho' one study says his brain was too young to be deemed to be comfortably called that of a psychopath's. Well, she has no problem going against that study. She'll call him a psychopath if she feels like it.
This is at times a heartbreaking work, but it can be exasperating/aggravating. Bottom line: It makes liberal use of the concept that Eric Harris wanted to kill people and didn't mind if he died in the process, but Dylan Klebold wanted to die but didn't mind if he killed people in the process. Either way, he killed people. Sue Klebold is not responsible, but I do wish she held her son a bit more responsible, and held herself a bit more responsible for looking for those signs of depression.
She herself says she hid her signs of anxiety disorder, but she used a tape recorder instead of her voice at a conference. You see what I'm saying? No awareness here at all...
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- Gillian "SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!"

Thought provoking

I didn't know what to think when I saw Sue Klebold had written a book. But having a small child in the school system at that time and running to school after I heard about Columbine to once again have my boy in my arms; compelled me to hear her side of the story. I found Sue to be extremely honest, heartbroken not only for her loss but the destruction her son caused. Her careful remembrance of each of the victims was spoken with compassion and deep regret.
I remember only thinking of those beautiful children, the teacher, the ones hurt and their grieving families. I prayed for each of them. I did not think of the shooters or their families I must admit. It takes courage for this book to be written. I can't image what they went through. My prayers do go out to the Klebolds. I'm sorry I wasn't praying for them 17 years ago.
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- Wendy J. Anderson

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-15-2016
  • Publisher: Random House Audio