This book is a compilation of narratives from the people affected by school shootings: survivors, family members, and teachers/staff - so of course, it's incredibly difficult to read. There are countless heart-wrenching details and moving accounts of some of the most horrible moments in our country's history. It was an effective and insightful idea to bring all of these stories together in one book - which at times was also maddening when you think about how little our country has done to prevent these types of shootings from occurring in the future. There is simply so, so much preventable loss.
As much as I appreciated these survivors' stories, I did have some issues with the way the material was presented. Each chapter covers a different school shooting, beginning with the most recent in 2018 (when the book was published) and then going backwards until the University of Texas shooting in the 60s. This was an interesting set-up but I think I might have preferred it going in the other direction to see the progression of how these events have been handled differently as time has moved on (in the aftermath at the schools, in the media, etc.). Each chapter opens with a statement from one of the two book's editors. They set up what each chapter is going to cover, but a huge turn-off to me is that they often mentioned the exact details or quotes that were the most powerful in the upcoming narratives. So, when the reader comes across it when the survivor says it, it already has lost its meaning and poignancy. I think the book would have benefitted from a short overview at the beginning of each chapter simply explaining more about the facts of each shooting (and not getting into what the survivor accounts are going to say). I ended up having to constantly Wikipedia things because I wanted to know more facts, which often took me out of the story.
I wish every member of the NRA and any gun rights activist would have to read these pages. Maybe they would think twice about their views.
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