Day of Reckoning: Columbine and the Search for America's Soul

Wendy Murray Zoba, Author
Wendy Murray Zoba, Author Brazos Press $17.99 (228p) ISBN 978-1-58743-001-5
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Plodding prose and stale analysis mar Christian journalist Zoba's rehashing of the grim details of the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School. Her argument seems to be that Columbine is a reflection of problems with America's soul. She is particularly interested in the Cassie Bernall question: Did Cassie proclaim herself to be a Christian before being shot? (Zoba admits that we can never know for certain, but she sides with the martyr theory.) Though rich in interviews with survivors and parents, the book skimps on interpretation; what analysis appears here is borrowed from other sources. Zoba too frequently quotes other reporters, sprinkling the book with references to Time, the New York Times Magazine and other publications. She suggests that Columbine sparked a spiritual revival among American teens, but doesn't offer enough supporting evidence to convince the reader that this is the case. Zoba's self-conscious positioning of herself as a mother and a journalist quickly wears thin; one wishes for an end to comments like ""my journalistic instincts to get to the bottom of it went full throttle."" Finally, the writing is often clumsy: ""Many studies have shown, and experts agree, that teen violence, in many cases, easily could be preempted by more parental vigilance."" While this may have worked as a magazine article (indeed, it began as a piece in Christianity Today), Zoba doesn't share enough original insights to sustain readers' attention through a whole book. (Feb.)
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