A Mother's Reckoning Summary & Study Guide

Sue Klebold
This Study Guide consists of approximately 62 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of A Mother's Reckoning.
This section contains 456 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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A Mother's Reckoning Summary & Study Guide Description

A Mother's Reckoning Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion on A Mother's Reckoning by Sue Klebold.

The following version of this book was used to create the guide:Klebold, Sue. A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy. Crown/Archetype, 2016. Kindle Edition.

On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were responsible for killing twelve students and one teacher at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado prior to taking their own lives. The tragedy that emerged became widely known as the “Columbine Massacre” and for the last sixteen years, Sue Klebold, the mother of Dylan, has been forced to live with pain caused by her son’s actions.

From the beginning of her memoir, A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy, Sue Klebold provides a recollection of memories that resituates the well known Columbine Massacre as a life altering experience. Throughout her work, Klebold challenges the media’s portrayal of her son and family, evoking the frightful reality that such tragedies are not as remote as they may initially appear. Sue underscores the ‘ordinariness’ of her son, Dylan, and challenges the widespread media-based portrayal that depicted him as a monster. Instead, Sue evokes the humanity in her son, and in doing so brings forth a discussion of issues still highly prevalent in modern society most notably the stigma surrounding mental illnesses.

Sue’s narrative is compassionately written, and the pain and shame she underwent in the years following Columbine are evoked throughout her work. Sue effectively conveys just how ‘normal’ of family the Klebold’s were but accepts fault in failing to recognize signs of her son’s troubling behavior. As the memoir unfolds, Sue recalls the days and years following the tragic event. With each piece of new information, Sue continued to learn something shocking and seemingly uncharacteristic about her son Dylan. With each new insight into the life of her son, Sue was forced to grieve both for the boy she knew and loved as well as the one she did not know and who had been capable of committing such a tragic crime. As she learns of his depression, anger and mental health issues, Sue had to reevaluate not only her son, but the entirety of the life she had once lived.

At its core, the memoir challenges readers to reconsider how suicide and murder-suicides are understood. Sue seeks to humanize these events to underscore how falling into the trap of accepting stigmas and media bias creates a lack of understanding. The memoir concludes with an in depth look at studies and professional opinions that support the need for greater understanding, removing the stigma around, and treating brain health issues. Underlying themes of school bullying, the toxic approach to media reporting on violent acts, and the failures of overly conservative environments are also addressed.

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This section contains 456 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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