This book was a haunting read. Any book about school shootings strikes fear into my heart, being that I work with kids and have children of my own, but this one was particularly eerie. I know I’ve read books before that gave harrowing depictions of the different perspectives of characters experiencing a school shooting — like This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp. But, what makes this book stand out from the crowd is that it provides the perspectives of many different characters’ interactions with Kirby Matheson [the shooter] in the days, months, and even years leading up to the shooting. The author explores a variety of relationships people had with Kirby, effectively highlighting the many clues that were missed or ignored.
When compiled in a story such as this, it becomes rather obvious that the young man was struggling with anger and depression and that someone should have stepped in; that an intervention may have been able to prevent this tragedy. But, as the saying goes, hindsight is 20/20. I can only hope that readers will take this book to heart and apply the information garnered to recognize if and when the people around them are struggling with anger and depression. If we can increase the chances that people will recognize someone in need of help, we can increase our chances that we can get people the help they need before they resort to violence. For more resources, check out the CDC’s page on Injury Prevention & Control: Division of Violence Prevention.