On the first anniversary of the events at Parkland, the acclaimed, New York Times bestselling author of Columbine offers an intimate, deeply moving account of the extraordinary teenage survivors who became activists and pushed back against the NRA and feckless Congressional leaders—inspiring millions of Americans to join their grassroots #neveragain movement.
It was one of those events that shocked and moved us when multiple news broadcasts showed us the horrors that hundreds of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, FL endured, with 17 losing their lives on Valentine’s Day in 2018. I know I’ve heard people say things like “It’s just another shooting in a gun crazy country, nothing will change.”, fortunately for me I don’t live in the US (I’m Australian), and I also still feel absolutely devastated every time I hear of one of these gun-related mass murders. The author of this book, Dave Cullen, takes a different approach with this book compared to his other, Columbine (which I absolutely loved), and I believe it most certainly paid off. The reader is not only given information about the terrible shooting, but we get to know some of those young victims who’ve fortunately escaped with their lives, to fight for the right to be heard given that they – the school kids – are the ones who so often find themselves the victims of this type of crime.
I found getting to know these victims incredibly inspiring. It warms my heart to read the words of these young teens who seem to have more insight, compassion, and gumpsion than many so-called adults I know. It’s difficult not to get emotionally sucked into this book, to shed tears for the victims who died and their family’s, for your heart and sould not to ache for those incredibly brave souls who lived and are shouting their rights to feel safe in their learning environments. I think this book has been one that forces you to question your stance on gun-laws, on your morals and empathy, and makes you figuratively sit down, shut up, and listen.
I’d also like to thank the author for volunteering to divulge his struggle with PTSD over the last decade almost, since investigating and writing about Columbine. I understand that in a world where mental health and associated labels are still so sadly stigmatised, volunteering your struggle has the potential to show others that it shouldn’t be a taboo topic. We should be able to feel comfortable disclosing our thoughts and feelings without fear. The only way to do that is to model that ourselves. Nobody is immune to mental health, no one should be made to feel at fault. Thank you Dave for sharing your struggle, I know that you’ll have helped at least one reader.
A special thank you to Hachette Aus for my copy, eternally grateful.
I rated Parkland: 5/5 stars