“Columbine: A Survivor’s Story”: My Thoughts
I recently purchased a book titled, Columbine: A Survivor’s Story. I am not ashamed to admit that I have studied in the case at length and was quite intrigued. When I began reading the book, I noticed it was very much written from the viewpoint of an adolescent. It starts off talking about the author’s family, her siblings, her parents dysfunctional marriage, and her life as a high school student.
The author (Marjorie Lindholm) seems to be a very shallow, and for lack of a better word, immature, child at the time of the event. Yet, in a way, the child-like nature of this person leads to an extra amount of sympathy by the reader.
The author states that that day started off normal and that her only concern was that she look very nice because she was trying to impress other students, at her father’s expense.
Readers can find some very morbid details peppered in throughout this seemingly innocent part of the book, where she talks about how her cute sandals would be soaked in blood. Due to the atrocities going on around her, another unsettling detail is that the author continues to talk about how she could hear the squeaking of her blood-soaked shoes on linoleum, as she was passing by the library, which is where most of the events horrific took place. Stressing again that she is very displeased with her outfit and the fact that she wound up on TV, this could be the ramblings of an adolescent who happens to be in shock, and understandably so.
Lindholm States that after the events of Columbine, her family started to fall apart, but it is never made clear whether the happenings of April 20th, 1999, had anything to do with the disintegration of her parents marriage. At the point when her parents marriage is being discussed, it’s very unusual.
Marjorie Lindholm mentions that she has a really good relationship with her father until he tries to take money from her mother. Money seems to be the focal point of a lot of this book, with page after page of ramblings about hidden stashes of cash, lawsuits between the parents, which of the kids has what car, and the jealousy that the kids in the family seem to have over who has what car or what new outfit. The author also states that she decides not to go back to the high school she was attending, not because of the trauma, but because she doesn’t want to look like she doesn’t have as much money as some of the other kids are rumored to have.
What strikes me as odd is the parts that seem like they may be valuable life lessons, but are kind of glossed over. The author talks about being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, having no way to deal with it, and going back to college and not being able to feel comfortable in a classroom setting. This is totally understandable, but it’s a mere mention. I think that PTSD is one of those things that isn’t talked about enough, and if the author were to open up more about that, it would be very helpful to a potential reader.
Marjorie Lindholm also talks about her failed marriage to a man who seems to be well intentioned, but doesn’t understand the trauma she went through. This man, who is doing his best to help her by basically distracting her from her inability to be in a classroom and her inability to cope with low self-esteem from not being able to finish college, does this by taking her on vacations and buying her animals. The author seemed genuinely appreciative, but Marjorie Lindholm’s marriage ultimately fails because she ends up creating a much stronger emotional connection with another survivor of the tragedy named Brad. The author expresses confusion over being in love with two people for different reasons, as well as guilt for ending the marriage when she feels that she is obviously loved.
I believe that there’s some value in the story, and also distractions. Not having as much money as other people or not being able to afford a nice car, or at the very end, she mentions being a model but not making as much money as she thought she would. I don’t find these things to be very emotionally impactful or helpful. However, I do believe there’s a lot to be said for the fact that Lindholm has PTSD and her first marriage disintegrated due to her emotional state. I think those things are both very important, and I wish that those were touched on more because I’m sure that both of those things happen a lot more than people realize, and I really think those things would be helpful for another person to examine.
Whatever the case may be, I hope that she is doing well as of writing this and I wish her nothing but the best
Curious about the book? Follow this link.