Sunday, April 18, 2010

Books: Check 'Em Out!

As a 26 year old, I can still remember April 20, 1999, very clearly. This is the day that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold entered their Colorado high school and killed 13 people before finally killing themselves. Immediately rumors spread about the "trench coat mafia" and how the killings were inspired by video games and Marilyn Manson. Everybody needed an answer as to why these seemingly troubled young boys would commit such a heinous act. 

In Dave Cullen's simply but chillingly titled "Columbine", we get an exhaustive look into the lives of these young killers as well as those involved in and affected by the Columbine shootings. Cullen was a young reporter covering the Columbine shootings in 1999 and has extensively researched these events over the past ten years. This story is told from a gripping third person point of view. The actual events of April 20, 1999, are replayed minute by minute very early on in the book. This retelling is horrific, graphic, and hard to get through at times. Initially, it leaves you thinking what monsters these two teenagers must have been to mindlessly kill so many innocent people. But after Cullen shocks you with the actual account of events, he begins to attempt to answer the questions as to why. The result is a harrowing read that anybody who has ever been a teenager should be able to relate to. It will rehash what it feels like to be young and confused and naive. However, by the end of the book, Cullen is able to make some sense of the senseless. 

If you go into this book with hopes of reading about how horrible these two individuals were, you may want to skip this one. But if you want a true, accurate, and sympathetic look into this sad downward spiral, this book is not to be missed. 

To understand a monster, you must first be able to sympathize with it.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the kind words on my book. I really do appreciate that.

    An expanded paperback edition is just out. I spent a lot of time on the new material, so I hope it's OK to mention what we added:

    — A 12-page afterword: “Forgiveness.” It includes startling new revelations on the killers' parents. The purpose, though, was to look at three victims in very different places 11 years later, and how forgiving played a pivotal role in their grief. I discovered the secret meetings with the killers' parents in the process.

    — Actual journal pages from Eric Harris & Dylan Klebold.

    — Book Club Discussion Questions (also available at

    — Diagram of Columbine High School and environs.

    — A large-print edition is also now available.

    There's lots more info at my Columbine site.

    Thanks again.