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Book Review: Columbine by Dave Allen & My Twisted World by Elliot Rodger

Hello Readers & Friends,

Today I have a different sort of review. A double review! I read a non-fiction, the infamous Columbine by Dave Allen which dissected the events surrounding the Columbine School shooting of '99.
I am really interested in anything to do with murderers, serial killers, sociopathy, psychopathy... you get the picture, so it was a good choice for me.

 I really also want to mention another recent read in a similar vein - My Twisted World, (AKA, The Manifesto) by Elliot Rodger. Rodger was the boy behind the 2014 Isla Vista shootings who uploaded Youtube videos of himself ranting about how he hated women and would massacre them all for 'denying him sex.' His manifesto is his life story, starting when he was a lonely, akward child and carrying us through to the eventual killing spree aged 22.  What fascinated me most about Rodger was that he was never diagnosed, despite seeing several psychiatrists and therapists. There was no final explanation given for his strange, anti-social personality and build-up of rage and jealousy. It was actually a really good read - the language he uses is very oddly formal the way he describes things and the adjectives he chooses, but it makes certain parts of the book all the more dark and shocking. I have seen people claim he had aspergers or autism, but as I said, there seems to be no formal diagnosis. I do recommend this as a shorter option to Columbine.

Columbine dissects several topics with fantastic non-bias. From the media coverage and police cover-ups to extensive backgrounds on both Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. It is written in a way that reads almost ficticiously, which made me feel as though I wasn't reading non-fiction. Obviously the subject matter is quite heavy, and it took me a while to get through this book because it's not the sort of read you look forward to each night.

Ten years were spent researching for this book, and you can tell. It's detailed and pacy, working through victim aftermath and family reactions and feeding in flashbacks building up to the fateful day of shooting.
It depicts Eric as a psychopath, aggressive, calculating and intelligent. Dylan as suicidal, depressed, lonely and angry. It debunks myths and explains their origins. It shares excerpts from The Basement Films the boys taped, and their private journals. It was fascinating, dark, twisted and shocking.

I gave it 4 stars only because it was quite long-winded and would recommend to anyone looking to learn more about Columbine.

“The final portrait is often furthest from the truth.”  

“Psychopaths don't act like Hannibal Lecter or Norman Bates. They come off like Hugh Grant, in his most adorable role.” 

"Eric outdid Dylan with the apologies. To the untrained eye, he seemed sincere. The psychologists on the case found Eric less convincing. They saw a psychopath. Classic. "

"For Eric, Columbine was a performance. Homicidal art. He actually referred to his audience in his journal."

As for My Twisted World, I gave it 4 stars also. I enjoyed it more as the tone of voice was so strong it was almost comical at times, but in the end it was too repetetive to warrant 5 stars. Some quotes to share:

"The boys in my grade talked about sex a lot. Some of them even told me that they had sex with their girlfriends. This was the most devastating and traumatizing thing I’ve ever heard in my life."

"I didnt do anything at that barbeque except swing on their swing in misery."

"As the phrase that I had coined goes: If I cannot join them, I will rise above them; and if I cannot rise above them, I will destroy them."

 "One time, as I was walking across the huge bridge that connected the two campuses, I passed by a girl I thought was pretty and said “Hi” as we neared each other. She kept on walking and didn’t even have the grace to respond to me. How dare she! That foul bitch. I felt so humiliated that I went to one of the school bathrooms, locked myself in a toilet stall, and cried for an hour."

"I have always had a penchant for luxury, opulence, and prestige."

C x


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