Publication: February 12th, 2019
Read: February 2019
Rating: 5 Caffeinated Stars
The New York Times bestselling author of Columbine offers a deeply moving account of the extraordinary teenage survivors of the Parkland shooting who pushed back against the NRA and Congressional leaders and launched the singular grassroots March for Our Lives movement.
Emma Gonzalez called BS. David Hogg called out Adult America. The uprising had begun. Cameron Kasky immediately recruited a colorful band of theatre kids and rising activists and brought them together in his living room to map out a movement. Four days after escaping Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, two dozen extraordinary kids announced the audacious March for Our Lives. A month later, it was the fourth largest protest in American history.
Dave Cullen, who has been reporting on the epidemic of school shootings for two decades, takes us along on the students’ nine-month odyssey to the midterms and beyond. With unrivaled access to their friends and families, meetings and homes, he pulls back the curtain to reveal intimate portraits of the quirky, playful organizers that have taken the nation by storm.
Cullen brings us onto the bus for the Road to Change tour showing us how these kids seized an opportunity. They hit the highway to organize the young activist groups mushrooming across America in their image. Rattled but undeterred, they pressed on in gun country even as adversaries armed with assault weapons tailed them across Texas and Utah trying to scare them off.
The Parkland students are genuinely candid about their experiences. We see them cope with shattered friendships and PTSD, along with the normal day-to-day struggles of school, including AP exams and college acceptances. Yet, with the idealism of youth they are mostly bubbling with fresh ideas. As victims refusing victimhood, they continue to devise clever new tactics to stir their generation to action while building a powerhouse network to match the NRA’s.
This spell-binding book is a testament to change and a perceptive examination of a pivotal moment in American culture. After two decades of adult hand-wringing, the MFOL kids are mapping a way out. They see a long road ahead, a generational struggle to save every kid of every color from the ravages of gun violence in America. Parkland is a story of staggering empowerment and hope, told through the wildly creative and wickedly funny voices of a group of remarkable kids.
Description has been copied from Goodreads.
I first read Dave Cullen a few years ago when I finally got the courage to listen to Columbine. Columbine was personal to me because I grew up in Colorado with Columbine about 15 miles from my house. This wasn’t just a tragedy that happened to somewhere else, this was a horrific event that shaped my state and changed my life. We all hoped that Columbine would be the first and last mass school shooting but unfortunately we were wrong.
When I was shopping in a bookstore I saw Parkland: Birth of a Movement and knew that I needed to read it. Columbine was one of the hardest reads of my life and I knew that this book would be the same.
I started reading this book knowing that I was going to be emotionally destroyed and angry throughout the book. It brought back the memories of watching Columbine unfold & watching those moments which ended up creating snapshots in my mind. Dave Cullen did a phenomenal job with showing the facts, telling the stories, and bringing hope. He drew back on his last book but still gave the kids their voices & helped show just how much these kids had to grow up in a matter of seconds.
This book should be required reading. It shows how much can change when a movement is born. It also shows how one-sided the media can be when it comes to gun violence. I loved that it didn’t just focus on Parkland but brought in other individuals and other organizations who were trying to do the same. This book is upsetting, but it is also inspirational. It shows that with tragedy, hope can persevere.
If you’re on the fence about reading this book, do it. If you don’t understand what the March for Our Lives group stands for, read it. This helps breakdown the narrative and helps get their points across in a non-biased way.
If my review has convinced you to buy this heartwrenching yet powerful book, please click on the following links to purchase it.