Columbine by Dave Cullen {Beth’s Review}

Posted 29 July, 2015 by Beth / 5 Comments

Columbine by Dave Cullen {Beth’s Review}Columbine by Dave Cullen
Pages: 417
Source: Library

On April 20, 1999, two boys left an indelible stamp on the American psyche. Their goal was simple: to blow up their school, Oklahoma-City style, and to leave "a lasting impression on the world." Their bombs failed, but the ensuing shooting defined a new era of school violence-irrevocably branding every subsequent shooting "another Columbine."Now, in a riveting piece of journalism nearly ten years in the making, comes the story none of us knew. In this revelatory book, Dave Cullen has delivered a profile of teenage killers that goes to the heart of psychopathology. He lays bare the callous brutality of mastermind Eric Harris, and the quavering, suicidal Dylan Klebold, who went to prom three days earlier and obsessed about love in his journal. The result is an astonishing account of two good students with lots of friends, who came to stockpile a basement cache of weapons, to record their raging hatred, and to manipulate every adult who got in their way. They left signs everywhere, described by Cullen with a keen investigative eye and psychological acumen. Drawing on hundreds of interviews, thousands of pages of police files, FBI psychologists, and the boy's tapes and diaries, Cullen gives the first complete account of the Columbine tragedy.In the tradition of Helter Skelter and In Cold Blood, Columbine is destined to become a classic. A close-up portrait of hatred, a community rendered helpless, and the police blunders and cover-ups, it is a compelling and utterly human portrait of two killers--an unforgettable cautionary tale for our times.

I am without words on this.

Thoughts on Columbine

There are things that happen in life that you have no words for. You don’t know how to talk about it but you want to know everything about it. No matter how old you were when it happened, you probably remember something about April 20, 1999.

I was pretty young when it happened– just 4 years old. I don’t remember this and I’ve been shielded from it for most of my life. I knew the main parts but I didn’t know the things that aren’t talked about every year around April 20th.

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a few years now and I just decided to pick it up a few weeks ago. I am so glad that I did. As I said, I’ve been shielded from this. I was never really taught about what happened except for that it happened. I’ve been told lies about what happened and I didn’t realize that until I read this book.

I love True Crime. I love reading about real things that have happened because for the most part, the books tell you more than the media ever will. There are things in this book that I never would have learned had I not read this book.

The last 16 years, people have talked about Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. If you’re over the age of 25, you probably know those names or at least know that you’ve heard them. But do you know the names Patrick Ireland? Cassie Bernall? Rachel Scott? Dave Sanders? I didn’t until I read this book.

Fifteen people died that day and most people, even people old enough to remember it, may be able to name one or two victims, living or dead. For the most part, all talks of Columbine are about the shooters. Even the Wikipedia page on the shooting doesn’t mention all victims.

But this book is more about the After. It’s about how the students of Columbine rose up and together, they reclaimed their school. They healed. Together. It was a beautiful story. Don’t get me wrong, the book does talk about the shooters. It goes over their plans and how they did the shooting. But it also talks about the victims, the survivors, and the families of those effected.

The book focuses on EVERYONE and everything. When reading this book, I didn’t feel like the most important people in the story were the shooters. I felt like everyone, victim to survivor to family members were the most important part. I didn’t feel like I was learning about the killers.

This book was creepy. It went into detail about what happened. If you’re reading this book, you’re not going to get a watered down version of what happened. You’re going to get the real version. You’re going to get the version that hurts the most.

When I was done reading this book, I had a lot of questions. I haven’t stopped talking about this book since I finished it. My boyfriend’s mom is reading it as I write this and we’ve been talking about it for days. As soon as I finished it, I KNEW I would need to talk to someone about it, so I passed it on to her.

Columbine is going to change your life. It’s going to make you question a lot about what you saw on the media. It’s going to make you want to watch documentaries (but don’t watch them at 2 am like I did. It’s creepy.) It’s going to make you want to ask questions. It’s going to break your heart. It’s going to make you happy. It’s going to make you cheer for the survivors while be heartbroken over the victims.

I can’t recommend this book enough. If you can stomach it, I want you to read it. If you’ve already read it, read it again. And again. It’s that good. And if you’ve already read, come talk to me about it because I can’t stop talking about it.


Filed under: ESR: 10, Non-Fiction, Review: Beth,


5 Responses to “Columbine by Dave Cullen {Beth’s Review}”

  1. I was a senior in high school when Columbine happened so it’s always been a point of fascination for me. I’m one part: I want to read this so bad and another part: not sure I can handle reading it.

    I’m glad to see that it focuses on more than just the shooters, as is often the case in media. I couldn’t tell you a single victims name in Columbine, but I will never forget the names Harris and Klebold, which is a shame because they are not the ones who should be remembered.
    Kimberly @ On the Wings of Books recently posted…Netflix & Me… What I’m WatchingMy Profile

  2. I was about fifteen years old then and remembered looking at the television screen at my school and seeing the news and it was just so shocking! I have never heard anything like it before, but unfortunately as time went on, more psychopaths creptup and I am no longer shocked, but burdened by knowing. For example, 9/11, Va Tech shooting, Aurora Colorado and recently the Lafayette shooting…it is becoming a terrifying world to live in.

    Thank you for your sharp review on this!
    Erica recently posted…Andy Maslen’s ‘Persuasive Copywriting’ Applies the Art of PsychologyMy Profile

  3. This review is really great-I feel like you really captured all the reasons I too thought this book was incredible. I’ve been thinking about re reading it for a while now because I read it quite a while ago and feel like I’ve forgotten so much, but I’m also not sure I can stomach some of the more painful parts of it again.

    (Also, I love true crime too, so I am definitely going to be following your blog! I just started my own book blog and am planning on doing True Crime Tuesday posts starting tomorrow :) )

    ~ ~
    Becca recently posted…Mystery Monday: And Then There Were None by Agatha ChristieMy Profile

  4. I finally read this review. I didn’t even have a chance to finish it before I was picking it up at my local library. I was in 8th grade and 15 years old when Columbine happened. I remember bits and pieces of it but didn’t follow any of the information closely. I grew up in a small town and very sheltered. I remember being shocked but I know that I didn’t really grasp what had happened.

    I have to admit to being a little scared of reading this but I want to understand what happened. Thanks for the awesome review! I can’t wait to talk about this book with you!
    Stephanie @ Once Upon a Chapter recently posted…Discussion: Blogging SlumpsMy Profile

Leave a Reply

CommentLuv badge