A Mother's Reckoning - Sue Klebold & Andrew Solomon

A Mother's Reckoning

By Sue Klebold & Andrew Solomon

  • Release Date: 2017-02-07
  • Genre: Biographies & Memoirs
4.5 Score: 4.5 (From 476 Ratings)


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


  • Wow

    By 27toritore.
    Quite possibly the saddest book I ever read but also one of the best books I ever read. Hard to put down and actually finished in less than a day and a half. Only negativity worth mentioning is the incessant repetitiveness....I did have to skip over paragraphs quite a few times as I had already read the content just with different words. However, the reality of how easily this author could be anyone with a teenage son is profound and such an eye opening experience.
  • Not terribly Insightful, well written or interesting.

    By CBibliophile
    I had hoped for some enlightening perspective or knowledgeable advice on tragedy, mental illness, suicide. Unfortunately Sue Kelbold’s book is anything but. She is no more a psychology expert than she is even able to understand her own grief. The book is thinly veiled and extremely self indulgent attempt at rescuing her son’s and her own reputation. Although she claims to be searching for the answers, she is really only searching for the answers that may exonerate her son’s memory and her own identity as being a “good mother”. The window in to her own flowery memories of her son’s life do however make one thing clear, She didn’t make a practice of holding her son accountable for his actions even after his murders and downplayed his explosive tempers and previous criminal activity as “normal teenage boy behavior”. And her thoughts on the murders he committed range from him being strong armed or duped into it and we not really being able to know if/ who he hurt or killed to viewing them as an unfortunate consequence of Dylan’s suicide. Overall, she should have kept her writings as simply her own means of self therapy as they do not begin to offer the hope and understanding to others she loftily claims was her motivation for writing it.
  • Excellent!

    By ((_\_))((_/_))
    Great book! I give credit to Sue Klebold for writing this! She turned her sorrow and energy towards a worthy cause! Anybody saying she is covering up, defending, making excuses... Has never been a teenager, a parent, or known someone who has struggled. I know this is a book review, not a forum, so I will leave my opinion there. But this is an excellent read, very informative. Thank you!!!
  • A Mother’s Reckoning

    By KoleRoll
    Just ten short months ago my thirty five year old sister committed suicide, leaving behind a fourteen year old daughter. It has destroyed our family and has left a lot of pain, anger and confusion in its wake. I actually googled Suicide Prevention over the holidays because I too have been finding myself thinking thoughts I had not thought before. I feel as though I was led to Sue’s book by some unseen hand. Tonight I feel peace. I haven’t felt this much peace in over ten months. I hope that you will pass along to Sue my deep admiration for her. I feel a deep love and respect for her amazing ability to face what every mother fears- that of not feeling like you were good enough when your child makes a choice contrary to the way you raised them. I work at an alternative high school and I will be buying a copy for each administrator in our building. This book is a gold mine of information. I’m sorry she had to endure this heartache in order to bless the lives of others- but tonight I am grateful for that knowledge.
  • Thank you Sue

    By BC2787
    I had a hard time putting this book down. As a parent, I feel that becoming aware and actively acknowledging the issues our children face in today’s society is terrifying but necessary. Reading Sue’s extremely vivid recollections of the Columbine tragedy were eye opening and my heart honestly broke for her in every chapter. This book was well written, educational, full of facts, studies and resources that are more important now than ever. I respect her for opening her life to a public that has judged her based on actions that were not her own. I would love to meet her and give her a hug. Thank you Sue for this beautifully heartbreaking, thought provoking read. You are so brave. Thank you for giving us an insight on Dylan that we have not gotten to see before.
  • Sue Klebold Narcissist

    By dropkiick
    I was excited about reading this book. What waste of time & money. After reading this book, I felt duped and angry. Sue Klebold is not a mental health doctor or expert on mental illness and suicide. There are no doctors or experts who endorse or back her claims. This was a boom written by toxic narcissist Sue Klebold, about toxic narcissistic Sue Klebold ...under the guise of mental illness & suicide. Sue goes in to portray herself & her son as victims when they clearly weren’t. She is a perfect example of a toxic narcissistic mother who destroyed her son Dylan as well as her other son Byron. She is in complete denial and she lives in a constant fantasy world....typical of toxic narcissist who refuses to accept any responsibility. She blames everyone & everything but herself & contradicts herself many times. She knows nothing about mental illness or suicide. Kids don’t just wake up one day & decide to go kill a bunch of innocent people. Dylan hated everyone. Dylan carried around so much hatred in his heart since childhood. He even hated his own mother. I three the book in the garbage after I read it. Good riddance!
  • Keep an open mind

    By Giraffelant
    Susan's story made my heart ache. I am a citizen of Jefferson County, Colorado, was a high school student at the time, and had been at Columbine the previous week for a school related event. When I heard of this memoir, it gave me great anxiety. How could I read the testimony of the "negligent" mother of one of the two boys that stopped the world on April 20, 1999? I decided to keep an open heart and open mind and hear her story. I cried. I empathized. With her, and through her remembrance of him, with Dylan. My daughter has recently been bullied to the point of severe fear in her school (also Jefferson County), and it came to light and my attention as I was reading this book. She too had held this secret for over a year out of shame and embarrassment and fear. Because of Susan's courageous act of coming forward and sharing her story, I was better prepared to talk to my daughter about the bullying. Susan gave me the right words and wisdom to encourage and uplift my child but also the knowledge to challenge her school about procedures in place to handle the situation. The 15 lives lost that day at Columbine stopped my world, but Susan empowered me to be the difference - if only for my child and those around me who endlessly heard my accolades of her writing.
  • Tense

    By Curious words
    I enjoyed the book very much as if I was in her shoe living her life, you can feel all her emotions and pain.
  • Eye opening, informative and completely heartbreaking.

    By Gamelady57464
    Such a wonderful mother whose life was turned upside down by the actions of the son she thought she knew very well. Well written though it took me several days to read it because the heart break of the entire tragedy was too much to take in large doses.
  • Highly recommend that you very one who has children or works with children read this book!

    By ~Devastated~
    This book is written by Sue Klebold, the mother of one of the boys that was responsible for the Columbine school tragedy. I would advise people to refrain from judging Sue Klebold as they have not been through what she has been through and they do not know how Sue and Tom raised their son or what type of parents they were. It's easy to judge but there is always more than one side to a story. I think it took a lot of courage and strength for Sue Klebold to write this book and open herself up to even more ridicule and judgement after what she's already been though. I thank Sue for writing this book, it's very eye opening and educational. I applaud Sue Klebold for trying to do what she can after her families own personal tragedy to help others. I think that all parents, grandparents, educators and everyone who works with children should read this book. I think a lot can be learned from Sue's book and experience. As a parent who raised a difficult child I can relate to a lot of what Sue Klebold wrote in her book. I raised my son to the best of my abilities. I tried to teach him morals, values, kindness, respect, tolerance, work ethic and all of the things parents try to teach and instill in their children so that they grow up to be good, kind, caring, thoughtful, productive, hardworking adults. We love our children and they are our number one priority. My children our grown now but we were involved parents who did not let our children just run astray. Like Sue we knew our children's friends, the friend's parents, we checked up on our children, wanted to know where they were and what they were doing. My child chose to do many things we did not agree with, did not like and were not proud of and that were not learned or accepted at home. We tried talking to him to find out why many, many, many times. We set down consequences. There were rules in our home. Our children had chores and responsibilities that were to teach them. We sought outside assistance when we had exhausted all of our parenting tools and ideas and took him to many different places for help. We loved our children with every fiber we had in us and were willing to do anything and everything we could to try and help him and to learn more skills to parent him with. After many years of heartache we learned that inevitably we could only do so much, the rest was up to our son. We could take him to counsellors and doctors but we couldn't make him be honest and share with them what was going on with him and how he truly felt or why we was doing the things he was doing. We couldn't make him accept the help. We later found out that on many occasions he would hide things from us and make us believe things were fine or better because he knew that if we knew the truth we would keep fighting to help him and he didn't want the help or to change. PLEASE DO NOT MISCONSTRUE WHAT I'M SAYING HERE. I FULLY RECOMMEND SEEKING HELP OR TREATMENT FOR YOUR CHILD AND FAMILY IF THERE IS AN ISSUE! IF THERE'S SOMETHING GOING ON WITH YOUR CHILD GET HELP!! DON'T STOP TRYING TO REACH THEM OR TO GET THEM THE HELP THEY NEED! I'm just saying that sometimes you can be the best parent you know how to be and do everything in your power and your child will still make bad choices and decisions. You can't always blame what a child does on the parents or how they were raised. I'm with Sue I can see a lot of things now that I would have done differently had I known what I know now. But I wasn't a bad or absent parent. And we were trying. I work in adult corrections and have spoke with many of the offenders. Some will tell you that they are incarcerated because they had bad, abusive or neglectful parents however some will tell you that they had wonderful, loving parents and were brought up in good religious households. After dealing with my own difficult child and working with the offenders that I have I also believe that what happened to Sue Klebold can happen to any of us. We need more education out there about brain health and what to watch for as parents and educators. I think Sue Klebolds book is excellent and the message she is trying to get out there needs to be heard. I'm sorry for all of the parents who had children who died or were hurt in the Columbine attack. I pray that all involved can find some sort of peace.