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

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


$6.98 $28.00 Save 75% Current price is $6.98, Original price is $28. You Save 75%. View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, October 16


The acclaimed New York Times bestseller by Sue Klebold, mother of one of the Columbine shooters, about living in the aftermath of Columbine.

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 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 on 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 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.

— Washington Post, Best Memoirs of 2016

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780594759171
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 02/15/2016
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 65,212
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Sue Klebold is the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the two shooters at Columbine High School in 1999 who killed 13 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 paralyzed by her grief and remorse, she has become a passionate and effective agent working tirelessly to advance mental health awareness and intervention.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Excerpted from "A Mother's Reckoning"
by .
Copyright © 2017 Sue Klebold.
Excerpted by permission of Crown/Archetype.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction Andrew Solomon 9

Preface 25

Part I The Last People on Earth

Chapter 1 "There's Been a Shooting at Columbine High School" 35

Chapter 2 Slivers of Glass 62

Chapter 3 Someone Else's Life 86

Chapter 4 A Resting Place 116

Chapter 5 Premonition 120

Chapter 6 Boyhood 128

Chapter 7 One Mother to Another 172

Chapter 8 A Place of Sorrow 216

Chapter 9 Life with Grief 219

Chapter 10 The End of Denial 248

Part II Toward Understanding

Chapter 11 The Depths of His Despair 291

Chapter 12 Fateful Dynamic 316

Chapter 13 Pathway to Suicide: Dylan's Junior Year 330

Chapter 14 Pathway to Violence: Dylan's Senior Year 391

Chapter 15 Collateral Damage 447

Chapter 16 A New Awareness 451

Chapter 17 Judgment 475

Chapter 18 The Wrong Question 498

Conclusion: Knowable Folds 517

Acknowledgments 521

Notes 529

Resources 551

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I give Sue a lot of credit for writing and publishing such a difficult book. She made me realize I was as guilty as others of easily blaming the parents of teens and young adults who commit violence. I didn't blame Timothy McVeigh 's parents, I assume because he was a full grown adult. Thank you for your view of how things happened and your insight on all you have learned in the years since the tragedy. Thanks to Sue for making me judge myself before I judge others for, I believe, the rest of my life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was a senior in high school in 1999. The Columbine shootings are forever etched in my mind. Mostly because it could of happened in my school, it could of been one of my friends. I'm not sure the 17 years old me ever thought it was Dylan and Erics parents fault...and over the years since the attack, I don't think I ever blamed the parents . Now that I myself am a parent of 2 girls..I know that you cannot blame the parents. Sue was extremely honest in this book and I hope to have 1 ounce of the perseverance she has. She has taken a tragedy and turned into a mission of hope. Sure, the public would like to blame her and outcast her, but through this book and her honesty, you can see it could happen to any part.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a tough read, especially as a mother and a "suicide survivor", but it was very enlightening. The book touched me on many different levels. It also made me rethink my view of her as a parent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All I could think to put as the headline is the word suffering because Sue Klebold has suffered and continue to suffer every day of her life for the acts of her son and his victims and their families. She has had to basically wait 17 years to speak. The book is not gripping and sensational and it doesn't have to be.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I do not now remember what prompted me to read this book, but I am grateful for the honesty, integrity and care the author used to convey such an urgent message. As the mother of 5, I too felt the families of kids who perform violent acts against others must have some sense of the trouble brewing before that act was committed and should therefore be held accountable for not doing more in the way of help and prevention. This book has changed that belief forever and I have nothing but respect and compassion for Sue Klee bold and her willingness to expose so much of her personal struggle in an attempt to understand and help others understand the complexity of the problems involved in such a sensitive issue. The amount of research Sue has done and her passion to make resources and knowledge and tools available to those in need and those who know others who may be in need is truly remarkable. The fact that author profits from this book go to fund organizations designed to help people suffering with brain health issues make it all the more heartfelt to me. I would recommend this book to parents, teachers, health care professionals and anyone looking for enlightenment on such a misunderstood topic that is so essential to our health as a society. It has had a profound effect on my understanding of mental health and I believe it's potential to shed light and positively influence anyone willing to listen is tremendous.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you have children or have children him your life please read this book. The author has been through a tremendous tragedy and has used it as a influence in her life to help others. It is unbelievable what are children experience on a daily basis, and a lot I we would have a hard time dealing with. Please read this book it will open your eyes and hopefully make us better parents so tragedies like this can be avoided in the future
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can you imagine something like this happening to you ? ? Its hard so many lives touched by this horrible act of violence.. This woman has lived about three lifetimes in one life. She is one strong woman.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I learned recently that history always remembers the names of a killer, but very few ever know the names of the victims. Like millions of people, I knew her name, but even with all of the information that came out after the tragedy at Columbine, I still didn't know her story… until now and for good reason, this isn’t a story that anyone else could have told. In the end, I learned that being a victim isn’t always reserved for those that are lost. Imagine living with the daily grief and disbelief that the child that you raised and loved for so many years, would grow up to be a killer and given that hindsight is often 20/20, you found yourself overlooking the signs of a mental illness that could have prevented such a tragedy. It is because of this fact and this fact alone that this book is not an easy read. This book will get under your skin. It will frustrate you. You will feel every word. It will grab a hold of you and won’t let go until you have read the last page and have closed the book. If you read this book and if you are a parent, I would suggest that you do… you will never again say the words that nobody ever wants to hear, “not my child.” I highly recommend this book. I’d also recommend another amazing book that I read and actually keep on my night stand; it is called “When God Stopped Keeping Score.” It takes a surprising look at the power of God and forgiveness. The story of the mothers and the ham, to the story of the father, the son and the bible, and the two men and the window is worth the price of the book. Buy it or borrow it, but read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am so glad that I purchased a copy. The book was fascinating and provided much insight in a matter that has been extensively discussed with no clear consensus. Even now, I feel encouraged to reach out and volunteer with local suicide prevention organizations in their mission.
ChantalFuentes More than 1 year ago
It was very hard to read. There were so many moments where I would be reading and all of a sudden I would have to close the book and take a moment to reflect on what I had just read. This book changed my life. It taught me that before judging others, you should judge yourself. Don't hesitate to buy this book. I guarantee you'll love it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lately I’ve been talking with Sue about everything; she’s a kind soul and her heart is huge, she’s such a sweet lady. My thoughts are with her every day and so are my kind words, it’s been a pleasure to speak with her to get to know her, to know how Dylan actually was before the crime he committed. My heart and soul is with Sue everyday and every night, my soul and thoughts are with Dylan as well and I grieve with Sue; I grieve with Sue to the point where it’s nothing but sobs. I learned so much about Dylan and I have learned so much about Eric, I have learned so much about Sue and I am glad I was this opportunity to speak with her. Thank you Sue.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
very thought provoking and deeply honest by mother who was only doing what she thought was right.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
First off I want to say that I have read Brooks Brown book about the Columbine tragedy and now this one. Both books bring me to tears. You strike me as a kind, loving caring mother who had nothing to do in any way with your late son's actions. One thing I do want to bring up is in Brown's book he mentions that Dylan and Eric were into bomb making, vandalizing neighborhood homes of people they perceived as enemies and also both were getting into firearms and liquor. You probably were not aware of this until after the tragedy. I also don't believe you were aware of just how much of an influence Eric was on Dylan at that time. I have no doubt that if you had known, you would have taken immediate intervention. In short, your book, appearances on TV and YouTube more than express your grief, concern, and willingness to educate others. My prayers, love and tears are with you and your family always.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This memoir follows the story of Sue Klebold, the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the Columbine shooters. Sue struggles to come to terms with her childs involvement in such a devastating massacre. Telling this story, she hopes to share insight that could help other families recognize when a child is in distress in order to prevent devastating situations. Sue’s writing is saturated with grief, shame, and compassion that provides the text with a brutal honesty while she journeys through living with the weight of guilt. Her tone is a responsible, honest one that takes responsibility for not recognizing the signs of depression her son showed. This book provides a new perspective on this devastating moment in history, shedding light on how it affected the Klebold family. Because of this new perspective, I think that it should be read, it is interesting to see this personal side of the story. Another reason I recommend this book, is because Sue bravely tells her story in hopes that parents can read it and understand if their child is, too, in need of mental help. She in no way defends the actions that her son took part in, but instead provides insight into Dylan’s life before the shooting. Although this is a very painful and devastating read, I give it 5 out of 5 stars. This books has haunted my mind ever since I have started reading it, I am constantly pondering parts of this memoir. I applaud Sue Klebold for courageously sharing her story while facing ridicule and judgement, and for also devoting her life to opening the eyes of parents to their child’s depression. Life is hard and sometimes people need help.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wasn't sure I wanted to read this, being concerned it would be dark and depressing. So glad I did because it is excellent. Intelligent, articulate, open and honest, Sue tells a hard truth...you may love your children beyond measure...but you may not really know them. Kudos to her for her courage in writing this excellent book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Changed my outlook. When Columbine happened I follow it closely in the news. I was curious what would drive two people to this. Additionally I always looked at mental health; book refers to it as 'brain health" or 'brain illness" and sucide, as a choice people make. While that it is a choice there are many underlying causes and issues that people deal with who are then driven to suicide. Additionally it is difficult to determine who is suffering from brain illness and who isn't. This book gave me a new prospective on looking at brain health/mental health, and how that is a large part of the violence and gun violence we see today. The book did give details that I found interesting, how Sue learned about Columbine and what all happened in the immediate hours, days, and months afterwards. The book then goes back to Sue's perspective on what she saw leading up to and after Columbine. Overall great read, and one that could be used as reference book, and gives insight to and recommendations on other books that deal with brain health issues.
HOOFPRINTS More than 1 year ago
Candid, heartbreakingly honest. It has forever changed my mindset on judging and blaming, vilfying the perpetrators families. Susan Klebold has lived with heartbreak, deep despair and sadness and decided to go further by looking into her son’s secret life, trying to understand the reason(s). What came out of it is a book to help other parents, families look into their teens daily life to hopefully prevent any further tragedies. It also let us be aware of the day to day living with despair, the family feels after the tragedy and suicide. A book bravely written with courage. Thank you. Sending peaceful thoughts to the family.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sue, I want to thank you for writing this book. I think it is a gift to the world that you have spoken out in the way you did. How brave of you to open up your personal world in hopes of saving other children who are at risk. It is less risky to put yourself out there but by taking this risk you can really help other parents so much. Your love shines though and as the parent of two young people I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I think this book will save lives. Every parent of a teenage boy should read this book. Every parent should read this book.
natttyyyyyy More than 1 year ago
Beyond beautifully written. I tore through the pages in a matter of days.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
1 of the best books I ever read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An incredible read. Ms Klebold is an amazingly strong woman and tells her story with grace. It's every bit as wonderful as it is difficult to read. God bless Sue and her family.