Skip to main content

A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy Bets On...

About the Author

About the Book

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

February 2016

While we were horrified to watch the events at Columbine, for Sue Klebold, this event was personal as it was masterminded and executed by her son, Dylan, and his friend, Eric Harris. While wrapping her head around the horror of what had been unleashed that morning, she grappled with losing the child she had loved, presenting her with a deep set of challenges. She looks at them in A MOTHER’S RECKONING: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy.

Columbine is a sad and defining day in our social history. After this, we never looked at schools as safe havens again. When publication of this book was announced, I could not wait to get my hands on it, and those feelings were augmented after I watched Sue interviewed by Diane Sawyer on "20/20.”

In the days after the tragedy, I confess to wondering what kind of parents she and her husband had been, who could raise a child capable of executing this kind of a plot. How did they not know what was going on? Sue felt all of this and more.

My thoughts changed as I read the book. I actually listened to most of it on audio; Sue narrates it, and this is such a personal story for her that I felt it was a great way to read it. It’s important reading as she looks at how this happened and not why it happened. Armed with Dylan’s journals, she seeks out experts to guide her through what was happening to Dylan in the weeks, months and years leading up to the tragedy. There were shifts in his behavior that she wrote off as “typical adolescence.” She now sees that, compiled together, they were not. She explores not only the events at Columbine, but also brain health in the larger population. She learns that Dylan was suicidal and focused on ending his life for a long time. His was an act of murder/suicide where his accomplice fed on his energy, and together they hatched the seismic events at Columbine. Throughout the book, she is seeking understanding, not forgiveness. The difference between how and why are explored in depth. Sue has gone on to advocate for mental health issues, looking for both awareness and intervention.

I have long thought that the subject of mental health is stigmatized, and not adequately funded or explored. Though she forges on with initiatives to bring awareness, Sue thinks of her son and the victims --- a heavy burden to carry through life. She is very brave to have written this book, where she unwraps and shares her innermost thoughts, something that took a lot of inner fortitude to do. This is the kind of book that could save lives. I hope it gets all the attention it deserves. For those who are wondering, her financial proceeds will be donated to mental health research and charitable organizations.

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

  • Publication Date: February 7, 2017
  • Genres: Memoir, Nonfiction
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books
  • ISBN-10: 1101902779
  • ISBN-13: 9781101902776