"A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy" (Encore Presentations)

Aug 23, 2017

(Note: This show first aired back in February.) On this edition of our show, a discussion with Sue Klebold, whose 17-year-old son, Dylan, was of course one of the two teenage boys who committed suicide ­after their murderous attack on Colorado's Columbine High School in 1999. Klebold has a new book out about this incident -- and more to the point, about the behaviors that she did and did not see in her son in the months and years leading up to that terrible April day. As was noted of this powerful and disturbing memoir in an appreciative summation in The New Times Book Review: "A memoir by the mother of one of the Columbine killers could seem distasteful on its face: at best, a defensive account from an unreliable narrator; at worst, an inevitable end point to the media circus. But...[Sue Klebold is] trying to answer, honestly and completely, an urgent question: What could a parent have done to prevent this tragedy? Klebold describes a home life that was, if not perfect, better than ordinary. Dylan grew up with happily married parents: a work-from-home dad who shared a snack and the sports pages with his teenage son every day after school, and a mom who worked with disabled college students, setting a moral example at the office before coming home at night to make the 'gloppy, layered Mexican casseroles' her two sons loved.... She does acknowledge that there were signs of impending danger, what the experts call 'leakage,' as if Dylan’s misery were so overwhelming it was visibly oozing out of him.... Eventually, [Sue] Klebold found her way forward with a mission of suicide prevention, and she provides a precise education on the subject in 'A Mother’s Reckoning.' She earns our pity, our empathy and, often, our admiration; and yet the book’s ultimate purpose is to serve as a cautionary tale, not an exoneration."