Monday, May 11

Good, but I'm glad that's over

So, I finished Columbine this weekend. (Shandon, I'll bring it for you next time we get together). It's a very good, incredibly well-researched book that I recommend.

The author, Dave Cullen, a veteran NY Times reporter, goes minute by minute for much of the terrible event then flashes backwards then forward in alternating chapters. It may sound somewhat confusing but it's not. In fact the author does an excellent job of revealing key facts just as the reader needs to know them.

Columbine goes a long way in setting the record straight. It is an indictment on the media and how completely wrong they had it all. The local police department isn't much better. Questions continue to come up like, are the parents to blame? Cullen carefully lays out the facts and lets the reader decide. Who are the real heroes of Columbine? Again, that's up to you to decide. Most of the victims have moved on and prefer to forget about it. Their families are revealed as sometimes flawed but deeply caring people who, in the end, have a more difficult time moving on than those who survived the bullet wounds.

Primarily Columbine marches through the mythology of that terrible day kicking over each myth one by one. If you think you know what happened that day, you're more than likely wrong.

Cullen makes it clear that Eric Harris was a true psychopath. Dylan Klebold was a depressed suicidal follower. The author takes time to go into the mind of a psychopath and explains what motivates them. It's chilling.

My only complaint about the book is that I couldn't help but want to get through it quickly because the killers are nobody you want to spend any amount of time with. Cullen, however, does a great job of pacing the reader. If he had put some of the killer's most disturbing writings and videotaped dialog in the beginning of the book, I never would have made it through to the end. Instead he slowly reveals just who they were and eventually brings you to the most disturbing things they thought and said and ultimately what motivated them.

Needless to say, I'm moving on to lighter fare now. I'll let you know how that goes when I'm done.

1 comment:

shandon said...

"Lighter fare"? Are you talking about the Donner Party book?