Book Review | Columbine by Dave Cullen

School shootings aren’t a thing where I’m from, Estonia. The first school shooting happened on 27 October 2014 when a 15-year-old student shot and killed his teacher. There have been no instances before nor after this and of course only made into the local media. Is it because USA is so big and that the incidents happen more (often)? Or is it because there are so many victims? Either way the USA school shootings have been covered world wide. Columbine is one of the most known. As today marks 20 years since the tragedy, Columbine was chosen as the book of the month for JennaStopReading #mudrermondaybookclub.

Columbine by Dave Cullen
A must read out of 5
First published 6 April 2009 by Twelve
You can order a copy from AmazonWaterstones

Blurb: On 20th April 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold made their bid to leave ‘a lasting impression on the world’. They drove to school, planted two huge bombs in the dining area, then positioned themselves outside the main entrance to pick off the fleeing teachers and students. The bombs failed, but the ensuing massacre defined a new brand of school violence – one that has started to cross the Atlantic. In the tradition of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and almost ten years in the making, Columbine is the definitive account of those terrible events. Cullen lays bare the callous brutality of mastermind Eric Harris, and the timid, suicidal Dylan Klebold, who had been to the prom just three days earlier and wrote obsessively about love in his journal. A close-up study of violence, grief and an all-consuming media frenzy, Columbine is above all a compelling, tragic and utterly human portrait of two young killers.

My thoughts: I went into this book with open eyes. I knew what it was going to be about. Everyone has heard of Columbine. Yet, I was shocked to the core by the amount of detail Cullen has gathered and the story cut me, deep.

I found the book interesting, sad and tragic. I struggle to understand how this is a true story.  What makes two teenagers pick up guns and shoot at their fellow students and plot to blow up the whole school?  Cullen goes into detail about mental health, the time before and after the shooting and recounts the stories of families left behind and survivors.

I cannot even begin to try to imagine myself in the shoes of all the people whose lives were forever changed today, 20 years ago. Columbine will leave you broken, angry, emotional and raw, but the victims stories must be heard. Perhaps it will also make you understand why Eric and Dylan did what they did.

Struggling to put a rating on someone’s real life tragedy I conclude that Columbine is a must read, if only once in your life.

Kat x



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