Audio Review: A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

Posted April 5, 2017 by Jonetta in Book Review | | 2 Comments

Audio Review: A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue KleboldA Mother's Reckoning by Sue Klebold
Narrator: Sue Klebold
Published by Random House Audio on February 16, 2016
Genres: Biography, Memoir
Format: Audiobook
Length: 11 hours, 25 minutes
Source: Library
Audio | Goodreads

On April 20, 1999, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold walked into Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Over the course of minutes, they would kill twelve students and a teacher and wound twenty-four others before taking their own lives.

For the last sixteen years, Sue Klebold, Dylan s mother, has lived with the indescribable grief and shame of that day. How could her child, the promising young man she had loved and raised, be responsible for such horror? And how, as his mother, had she not known something was wrong? Were there subtle signs she had missed? What, if anything, could she have done differently?

These are questions that Klebold has grappled with every day since the Columbine tragedy. In"A Mother s Reckoning," she chronicles with unflinching honesty her journey as a mother trying to come to terms with the incomprehensible. In the hope that the insights and understanding she has gained may help other families recognize when a child is in distress, she tells her story in full, drawing upon her personal journals, the videos and writings that Dylan left behind, and on countless interviews with mental health experts.

Filled with hard-won wisdom and compassion, "A Mother s Reckoning"is a powerful and haunting book that sheds light on one of the most pressing issues of our time. And with fresh wounds from the recent Newtown and Charleston shootings, never has the need for understanding been more urgent.

"All author profits from the book will be donated to research and to charitable organizations focusing on mental health issues."


When the Columbine massacre occurred in April of 1999, I recall judging the parents. After all, there had to have been some extremely obvious signs for their sons to be able to do something like this. Or, they were so disengaged in their lives they were just plain oblivious. If nothing else was accomplished (and there definitely is more), this book has changed my outlook. I’ll never, ever again “assume” anything close to this kind of thinking or judge.

I was most interested in hearing from the parents of Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris and always wondered why they maintained their silence. Sue Klebold bravely tells her story and explains why, making no excuses and proving that she used her time wisely in gaining valuable insights over the last 17 years. In retrospect, I’m glad she waited this long to tell her story as it will undoubtably help other parents of teenagers to recognize troubling signs in their children in time to avoid potential disastrous outcomes.

It never occurred to me to think of Dylan Klebold as a victim of suicide, let alone a victim of anything. I never really understood why he chose the path he took but made a lot of assumptions based on the media coverage. Sue Klebold provides incredible insight about her son and the events in his life that led to that awful last day. She also lets us inside of her own life, holding nothing back, sharing the perspective of a parent’s trauma when their child commits murder on this scale. The destruction of that child’s family as a consequence of their actions wasn’t something I’d thought much about but should have. Shame on me because they’ve two tragedies to contend with: the guilt and sorrow for the innocent lives taken and for the loss of a child they loved.

I’m really, really glad Sue Klebold wrote this story and I got the privilege of listening to the book, hearing her tell it in her own voice. She’s not a professional narrator, which made the experience even more powerful as I heard her genuine pain, suffering and sadness. This book is a must read for all parents, no matter the age of the child. No one saw any obvious signs in Dylan’s behavior to even imagine him ending his life, let alone the way he chose to do so. You don’t know what you don’t know and Sue provides a primer for parents to have a fighting chance to save a child that outwardly doesn’t seem to need help.

This was an outstanding story.


Listen to a clip!

About Sue Klebold

Sue Klebold is the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the two shooters at Columbine High School in 1999 who killed 13 people before ending their own lives, a tragedy that saddened and galvanized the nation. She has spent the last 15 years excavating every detail of her family life, and trying to understand the crucial intersection between mental health problems and violence. Instead of becoming paralyzed by her grief and remorse, she has become a passionate and effective agent working tirelessly to advance mental health awareness and intervention.

Find Me


Co-Blogger/Full Time Reviewer at The Book Nympho
I LOVE reading and am just crazy about so many series and writers. I’m open to exploring new authors and genres and appreciate those who not only write well but can deliciously craft a character and a tale. Your suggestions for new authors and titles are very much welcomed.

I also love to talk about books. There’s nothing more exciting than to finish a great story and cover it A to Z with other people, exploring different perspectives and points of view. So, if you see something on my shelf you’d like to talk about, send me a message and we’ll talk!

Friend me at Goodreads.
Find Me

Latest posts by Jonetta (see all)

2 responses to “Audio Review: A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold

  1. Great review Jonetta. I remember feeling a little bit the same way you did. I went back and forth about my thoughts several times. I think one thing that really hurts us, is that we stigmatize mental illness like it is the person’s fault when they have it. Or maybe the family’s fault. It is a disease, just like cancer or heart disease. We should treat it as such and be more open about talking about warning signs. How many times do you hear people tell you the warning signs of a heart attack, but nothing about warning signs of a mental illness. There is also the mentality of seeking help for a mental illness is a sign of weakness, but people never say these things about going to a medical doctor. I will be sure to grab this book. Great review.

    • Thanks SO much for your insightful comments. You’d definitely appreciate this story. I learned quite a bit, not only about the Klebold family’s experience but the nature of depression and the many ways people can express themselves when suffering from this condition. I hope you gain something from the reading experience.