Why did you choose this book?
There was a lot of pre-publication buzz about this book online and in professional journals. Also, I took a class on the memory of catastrophe in graduate school, and it was quite probably my favorite history class of all time. While the tragedies we studied were horrific and incredibly sad, learning about the different ways that individuals and communities treat the places tragedy occurred can be incredibly fascinating. School shootings fall into the realm of such tragedies, and I was curious to read a fictional recounting of a shooting.
What’s it about?
The story is told over the span of 54 minutes from four different points of view. The points of view are: the shooter’s ex-girlfriend, the shooter’s sister, the shooter’s sister’s girlfriend, and the shooter’s sister’s girlfriend’s brother. Confused yet? These interlocking points of view cover different aspects. One person is outside the school, two are in the auditorium where the shooting starts, and one is outside the auditorium but breaks in to start freeing hostages.
Other recommended reads?
If you’re reading this because it’s about a school shooting, don’t. Read Violent Ends instead.
I did read this book in one sitting. It was a fast read, but it wasn’t a great one. I never understood the shooter’s motivation or who he was as a person. He was just a stock character with a lot of numbness and rage. I also didn’t care about the other characters in the book. When reading a novel about any kind of tragedy, be it the sinking of a ship in wartime or a school shooting, I want to be emotionally invested. I wasn’t. I didn’t care which characters survived and which didn’t and I didn’t have that sense of needing to finish and to know what happened. I could have put the book down, gone to sleep, and finished it the next day without constantly wondering what would happen next. So it was an okay read, but that’s all.
Court of Fives by Kate Elliott