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All booksMemoirA Mother's Reckoning
A Mother's Reckoning by Sue Klebold
Memoir

A Mother's Reckoning

by Sue Klebold

Quick take

When Sue Klebold decided to write a book about her son Dylan, she set a daunting task. How to express her love for the boy she raised—without minimizing the horror of his acts?

Why I love it

Kim Hubbard
People Magazine

When Sue Klebold decided to write a book about her son Dylan, who along with Eric Harris massacred 12 fellow students and a teacher at Columbine High School in 1999, she set herself a daunting task. How to express her love for the boy she raised—without minimizing the horror of his acts? Would she seem to be "cashing in" (despite donating profits to charity)? And would she sound defensive—not to mention clueless—if she insisted on what she believes is the truth: that Dylan, who died by his own hand on that hellish day, never showed signs of his disturbance?

Not only does A Mother's Reckoning manage to avoid all those pitfalls, it's also a riveting read. The day Dylan was born, Sue was "overcome," she writes, "by a strong premonition: this child would bring me a terrible sorrow." Not the superstitious type, she shook the feeling off and watched her younger son grow into a sweet, shy boy who loved origami and plastering his mom's face with kisses. He had some unremarkable problems as a teen: periodic sullenness, indications he'd been mildly bullied at school, and finally an arrest for stealing video equipment. But by senior year he seemed to be back on track, had close friends and even took a girl to prom—"the best night of my life," he told Sue afterwards—just days before his and Eric's deadly rampage.

So what went wrong? Sue makes a convincing case that her 17 year old was hiding a deep depression that left him vulnerable to Eric's more active psychopathology. She urges parents and teachers to learn from her experience and to watch their teens carefully, taking even small indications of distress seriously. Dylan destroyed countless lives and shattered his family. Sue admits she will never understand his actions, but she's forged meaning amid devastation by devoting her life to mental health awareness. You'll finish her brave book wanting to hug your children close—and applauding her.

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Member thoughts

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367 ratings
  • 52% Love
  • 36% Like
  • 4% Dislike
  • Sellersburg, IN

    In today’s current state when school shootings are constantly happening this was an eye opening look into the effects it has on the shooter’s family and how we can prevent suicide driven shootings.

  • Bethlehem , PA

    It’s a very intense and triggering, but necessary read. Sue discusses how depression, anxiety & suicidal ideation manifest in teenagers, and talks about recognizing subtle signs that could save a life

  • Austin, TX

    Thoughtful and well-written, Klebold makes no excuses for her son’s actions but seeks to understand the situation from the inside out and from a perspective to which we don’t usually have access.

  • Anchorage , AK

    Holy smokes! This was so beautiful and painful. I couldn’t help but feel for Sue and her family. It was so incredible to see how many people still cared about her family after everything Dylan did.

  • Indianapolis, IN

    This book is powerful. When the worst thing that could happen to a mother happens, Sue Klebold found strength. This book forces you to spend a lot of time in the gray area between innocence and evil.

  • Marina Del Rey, CA

    Well written, honest, eye opening, and relevant even to someone (me) who doesn't have children and never will. I would recommend to anyone, but esp helpful to people affected by suicide (in any way).

  • Chicago, IL

    Gut wrenching. As a mother, my heart aches for Sue Klebold. I would love to meet her in person and tell her that it is not her fault. This is a very important book with such a unique perspective.

  • Kansas City, MO

    An important memoir. Klebold writes of her grief and her struggle to understand how the person she raised could have committed such a heinous crime, sharing the things she learned from her research.

  • Amarillo, TX

    As hard as this book was to read, I couldn't put it down. It was brutally honest, and made me put myself in Sue's shoes. What a beautifully heart-breaking glimpse into the "other side" of the story.

  • Atascadero, CA

    Heartache and guilt pours out of these pages. Sue shares her & her son's story while always being respectful to the victims. I appreciate the mental health awareness this also brings #stopthestigma

  • Sacramento, CA

    Heartbreaking. I admire Sue for her bravery and the strength it took to write this book. She poses some interesting and crucial questions at the end. After reading this book, I feel a little wiser.

  • Dallas, TX

    Candor, humility and deep-sorrow is clearly evident and expressed in this harrowing account by the mother of one of the Colombine shooters. Details what it was like for families who were affected.

  • Grand Rapids, MI

    THIS. BOOK. Omg. I will continuously recommend this book for years to come. Mature minds only, as this is a very conflicting, heart-felt story. I was left tearful, intrigued, scared, and hopeful.

  • Dickinson, TX

    People have very negative things to say about Sue and her family, but I think she deserved to tell her story and I hope it helped her spirit to get it out. Tragedy can strike anyone at any time.

  • Columbus, OH

    If you were at all interested in the Columbine tragedy, look no further than this book. You learn so much about mental health, parenting and the actual event. One of the best books I have read!

  • St Petersburg, FL

    Unexpectedly blew my mind and broke my heart. I was a junior in high school in Colorado Springs when this happened and no one in my school was surprised at all. Shocked yes, but not surprised.

  • Mansfield, CT

    I absolutely loved this book. Sue Klebold is a natural born writer. I'm just sorry she has to use her talents to tell her sad story. I am so happy that she did decide to share her experiences.

  • VIRGINIA BEACH, VA

    Sue Klebold bares her heart and soul revealing inconvenient truths and uncomfortable realities! For us, the readers, to learn and educate ourselves. I appreciate her vulnerability. ~jeni b~

  • Palatine , IL

    This was maybe the most difficult and heavy book that I have read - but that's not to say it isn't fascinating and well worth the read. It was heartbreaking to hear Sue's side of the story.

  • Arab, AL

    When tragedy strikes no one truly thinks about the emotions the family of the perp experiences. Klebold is open and honest, giving new insight to one of America's worst moments. A must read.

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