Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Columbine by Dave Cullen

I'm not really sure how to start this review. One, because I'm not quite finished processing the information yet, and two, because it feels somehow strange to say that I "loved" this book. The subject matter shouldn't really be loved, and I don't think that's the right word for it. So here's the best I can come up with... this book is excellent.

I was in the eighth grade when the shootings happened at Columbine, and I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember watching the terrifying news footage (especially of the boy, whom I now know was Patrick Ireland, being pulled from the library window), I remember watching a hysterical Rosie O'Donnell on her show the following day, and I remember most the crazy theories and rumors the media was feeding the public in the weeks following. It's because I remember those things most that this book really shook me. It was an intense and sad read, but it was, most importantly, incredibly eye-opening.

So many myths and so much misinformation circle around the events of that day, the killers, the motives, the investigation and even some of the survivors. It was really astounding to take all this new information in. It's difficult for me not to sit here and write in detail about each and every misconception... but that's not the point of this review. Cullen does a great job of opening your eyes, without shoving his agenda or bias down your throat. I truly felt I was reading an honest, well-researched and well written account, and I'm so glad I finally picked it up.

Fair warning.- it's not an easy read. I had to alternate between Columbine and a much lighter "fluff" read, and I even left it behind when I went on vacation for the simple fact that I couldn't handle it all at once. The story of Eric and Dylan's evolution, and the level of anger, hatred and planning really got to me. It was terrifying and so incredibly sad.

I think this book needs more attention. I think that everyone involved deserves to have the true story told, and I think that one way we can prevent tragedies like this in the future, is so help people understand. As much as it can be understood.

I highly recommend this book... and I hope that Cullen has no cause to write a similar book in the future.


Linda said...

It sounds like a difficult but important read. I hope to make room on my tbr list to read it someday.

Dave Cullen said...

Thanks, Ashley. I also hope to never have to write about something that awful again. I don't ever want to write about another murder.