I have been wanting to read the book Columbine by Dave Cullen for months now. I’ve had it on my PBS wish list, but the numbers have never gone down substantially. This past week, I started taking Leah to Mother Goose story hour at our local library and while we were wandering around afterwards, I spotted the book in the lobby and snagged it. After finishing Moloka’i, I knew I would have to find something similarly gripping, and I hoped Columbine would be it.
I was not disappointed. Before I sat down, I tried to recall the things I thought I knew about Columbine. When it happened, my husband and I were on our first vacation as a couple together. We had gotten a condo down in Myrtle Beach SC (with my mom! haha) and were spending a lot of time as beach bums, but that morning, Mom had gotten a call or something that there was something going on and to put on CNN. We spent the entire day watching the events unfold. I remember watching “The Boy in the Window” being rescued and the kids streaming out of the building to safety. I remembered Cassie Bernall’s story of martyrdom, I remembered the Trench Coat Mafia, and the names of the killers, Eric and Dylan. I remembered one teacher had been killed. Other than that, I didn’t remember a whole lot.
The book reads like a novel. It is so interesting. Cullen is considered one of the foremost journalism experts on what happened at Columbine and he used his considerable research to write a book that covers Eric Harris’s detailed planning and psychopathy, as well as Dylan Klebold’s suicidal depression and dependence on Eric. Cullen read through the boys’ journals and watched their tapes, interviewed witnesses and family members of the victims, and meticulously detailed everything to write a book so gripping and compelling that I was reading it straight through for several days in whatever bits and pieces I could. If I could read a paragraph, I literally would take the opportunity to do so.
Most of what I thought I knew about Columbine turned out to be false. Harris and Klebold weren’t a couple of losers who hatched a hare-brained scheme to get back at the jocks at school. They weren’t members of a goth gang of kids. Cassie Bernall was never asked if she believed in God by the killers nor did she profess her faith before she was shot. I was so happy to read about The Boy in the Window (Patrick Ireland) and other survivors and hear about their recoveries and what happened to many of them. It was interesting to hear about how families of those killed dealt with their grief in constructive and destructive ways.
Additionally, what went on after the massacre took place may shock you as much as what went on before and during. This was a great book and Michael and I talked a lot about it while I was reading. Oddly enough, he and I were married on the anniversary of the Columbine attack, 3 years later. Neither of us remembered that it had occurred that day when we were planning our wedding and were reminded after setting the planning wheels in motion.
5 Stars on GoodReads.com Highly recommended! This also counts towards my “What’s In a Name?” Challenge total, as a title with a plant name in it. Columbine is Colorado’s state flower, and as you can see, it is a beautiful plant.