• A Mother's Reckoning

  • Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy
  • By: Sue Klebold
  • Narrated by: Andrew Solomon, Sue Klebold
  • Length: 11 hrs and 24 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (3,289 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $28.00

Buy for $28.00

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

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 12 students and a teacher and wound 24 others before taking their own lives. 

For the last 16 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 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. 

Includes a PDF of acknowledgments and resources from the book.

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

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2016 Sue Klebold (P)2016 Random House Audio

What listeners say about A Mother's Reckoning

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,553
  • 4 Stars
    570
  • 3 Stars
    123
  • 2 Stars
    23
  • 1 Stars
    20
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,383
  • 4 Stars
    440
  • 3 Stars
    115
  • 2 Stars
    13
  • 1 Stars
    16
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    2,365
  • 4 Stars
    449
  • 3 Stars
    115
  • 2 Stars
    18
  • 1 Stars
    20

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Sad, but, Ultimately, Self-Serving

What Sue does best in this book is remind the world that she lost a son too at the tragedy at Columbine. That's easily forgotten, and when she writes of her grief as a mother, that rings true, loud and clear. When she strays from that, however, she she goes on, for hours on end, for example, about how she initially believes Dylan was duped, she's exasperating.
It is a powerful moment, indeed, when she and her family watch the tapes and realize that Dylan actually gleefully killed others, but even then, she goes to great lengths to let the listeners know that many were saved because he let some people run away. She lets us know that he was no "Eric Harris."
I will say this, loud and clear, no one, NO ONE should be held responsible for ANYONE's suicide or should they murder anyone else. I do NOT hold Sue Klebold responsible for Dylan's suicide or for his choice to murder.
I DO hold her responsible for his continuing depression and for his continual side-stepping of responsibilities of consequences for his actions.
She says there were no signs of his behaviors, yet she goes on and on about all sorts of instances of his changed behaviors, instances of paranoia, outbursts of anger, signs of withdrawal. Basically, she didn't want to deal with them because she wanted to deal with only one son at a time (she flat-out says it). Life isn't that neat and tidy, Sue. Parenting is hard work. And Sue, your job is to look for those signs. No, you don't look for signs of suicide/homicide, but yes, you DO look for depression/signs of trouble. You do. It's your job. But she takes opportunities when she spends time with him to talk about herself rather than talk with him. She shoves him into the refrigerator and digs her hand into his shoulder and shrieks at him for forgetting Mother's Day, she corrects his soccer game, tells him to play harder, rather than tell him it's okay, she loves him no matter what.
And when he starts breaking the law, she starts, in front of him, discounting what authorities say, starts battling with what they'd like the consequences to be, instead of accepting them so that Dylan can learn boundaries/consequences. Every step of the way, each infraction, she rejects boundaries, even the ones that could help him.
Another problem with the book is that Sue Klebold goes out of her way to cite study after study that says she couldn't possibly know this that and the other, but she has no problem trashing Eric Harris and his family, even tho' one study says his brain was too young to be deemed to be comfortably called that of a psychopath's. Well, she has no problem going against that study. She'll call him a psychopath if she feels like it.
This is at times a heartbreaking work, but it can be exasperating/aggravating. Bottom line: It makes liberal use of the concept that Eric Harris wanted to kill people and didn't mind if he died in the process, but Dylan Klebold wanted to die but didn't mind if he killed people in the process. Either way, he killed people. Sue Klebold is not responsible, but I do wish she held her son a bit more responsible, and held herself a bit more responsible for looking for those signs of depression.
She herself says she hid her signs of anxiety disorder, but she used a tape recorder instead of her voice at a conference. You see what I'm saying? No awareness here at all...

40 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Thought provoking

I didn't know what to think when I saw Sue Klebold had written a book. But having a small child in the school system at that time and running to school after I heard about Columbine to once again have my boy in my arms; compelled me to hear her side of the story. I found Sue to be extremely honest, heartbroken not only for her loss but the destruction her son caused. Her careful remembrance of each of the victims was spoken with compassion and deep regret.
I remember only thinking of those beautiful children, the teacher, the ones hurt and their grieving families. I prayed for each of them. I did not think of the shooters or their families I must admit. It takes courage for this book to be written. I can't image what they went through. My prayers do go out to the Klebolds. I'm sorry I wasn't praying for them 17 years ago.

39 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I kept on driving just to listen to a few more chapters

Sue Klebold is an astounding woman, full of grace, carrying around the most unbearable things. This memoir is sincere, honest, forthright and gut-wrenching. The book is completely mesmerizing and sheds light on issues of suicide, murder-suicide and the devastation that is left behind. This book is a confrontation of all we believe to be true.

35 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Heartbreaking

After seeing the headlines, it was nice to hear thr back story. We all know how the mefia distorts things. This book untangles the misinformation surrounding the event. I am a mother of 2 boys and know how easily influenced they are. This book was well written and Sue did an excellent job reading. This one one of the best books I've listened to in a while.

26 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Thank you Sue.

I have appreciated your honesty in this book. As a "brain" health professional that works in Colorado schools I thank you. We can't stress enough the signs our children may show when they aren't feeling well physically or emotionally. I remember when this tragedy unfolded and my high school teacher had to go and pick her son up at Columbine this day. This of course was deeply impactful and my choice to become a school social worker. I will recommend this book to anyone who has children.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The Honest Voice of a Mom

What did you love best about A Mother's Reckoning?

Sue took us step by step through the process of dealing with a horrible reality: her son killed others in a vicious attack while he was killing himself. This was not the boy she had brought up! How did she miss the signs?

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Mother's Reckoning?

The harshest moment was when Sue realized she had been duped by her own son. What mother doesn't fear her child's bold-faced lies! If the kid doesn't tell the truth, how do you find it? Her regrets are so strong that she didn't go digging in his room; she may have found something that would trigger an alarm.

What about Sue Klebold’s performance did you like?

At times Sue's voice bubbles over with joy when she remembers early days and special occasions with her family. At other times, I could hear the catch in her voice as she spoke of her sorrow for all the damage Dylan had caused.How does a regular person deal with the most shocking and public day of her life. I felt Sue's loneliness and confusion in those first few days after Columbine.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Sue's story is a grim reminder for me as a parent and as a teacher of high school kids: how can we really know what's going on? How do we know which kids can handle the situation versus which ones are falling apart on the inside? Children are amazingly adept liars and are determined to do what they want to do... yet parents are still legally responsible for the actions of their children.

Why do kids "cut off" their parents emotionally? What is empowering them and encouraging them to believe that their folks "don't get it"? Along with violent movies and video games that Sue mentioned, I include the TV shows that mock adults and popular songs infiltrating their brains. At times, a student has asked to play a song in class, promising to play the "clean" version, as if to protect MY brain from the nasty lyrics. Rating a movie, song, or video game "for mature audiences only" means that every child will find a way to see it, come Hell or High Water! All of these influences tell teens that they rule the world and are all-powerful.

Brain health, as Sue calls it, is incredibly important. The protection of a child's brain begins at birth and is influenced by EVERY input and info upload, not just what the parents do and say. I didn't see it then, but I do now, Sue. It wasn't your fault. NO parent can protect a child from what's out there.The real question is, how do you teach a child to "just say no" to every evil influence that is attempting to stake a claim in that child's mind?

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Heartbreak on Every Page

I have lived the same grief because of my children committing terrible crimes together that led to many years in prison. My grandchildren were taken far away to escape the publicity of their father's crime. So many people hurting over things I had no control over. Loving them still, when others hated them. Feeling ashamed of them. Wondering what I could have done differently while I raised them. I felt her grief and heartbreak on every line and chapter. I couldn't stop listening until the last word was spoken.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

truthful and unapologetic

this story is one that is little told and necessary. sue klebold tells the story of her and her family's suffering after what her son did at columbine high school in 1999. she never once makes an excuse for dylan's actions but holds him accountable while raising much needed awareness for recognizing signs of mental illness in teens. this was raw honesty and emotion put to words and it is powerful.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A balanced journey of a mother's heartache

I recently read a number of books about Columbine and always wondered about the parents experience with the fallout of their sons choices. I commend Susan Kiebold for her honesty, her convictions to the truth, and her courage to face the hurricane of judgement, heartache, and still wrestle with the storm single visioned on the truth. as a parent of 3 teens, I get that it could happen to me and mine ..Thank you Susan for sharing your thoughts and heart.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Courageous. Real. Laced with love.

This is a must read! I found myself speechless and emotionless yet filled with sorrow. Sue Klebold is brave, selfless and honest in her writing.

15 people found this helpful