We Are All Columbine

Christian - Non-Fiction
120 Pages
Reviewed on 09/28/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite

There are various ways of looking at a tragedy. What happened at Columbine High School on April 20th, 1999, when two boys killed a teacher and twelve students, was a horrific massacre. Yet, even in the worst moments, there can be hope. In We Are All Columbine, Thomas P Tweten and Ann A Graham recount the Columbine shooting observing how, even during that terrible event, it was possible to feel the presence of God. A book that can be a source of reflection and solace, We Are All Columbine helps readers understand how it is possible to find comfort even in the most painful circumstances.

What struck me the most while reading We Are All Columbine was the delicacy of authors Thomas P Tweten and Ann A Graham. When they described the teacher's heroic deeds before he died, Cassie's last words before her tragic end, and even when they reflect on the two killers, what I noticed was an incredible sense of balance and tact. I do not think there could be any other way to write a book on this subject. Also, although We Are All Columbine wants to prove the presence of God, I liked that Tweten and Graham do not refer to a particular religion but speak to all readers regardless of their faith. For these characteristics of balance and sensitivity, as well as for the message that the book conveys, I recommend We Are All Columbine to all readers who are fair and thoughtful and for whom the presence of God is essential in their lives.

Asher Syed

We Are All Columbine by Thomas P Tweten and Ann A Graham is a Christian theological book that places the authors on the day of and aftermath of the Columbine High School massacre that took the lives of twelve students and a teacher. Countless more were injured physically, emotionally, and spiritually, a fact that Tweten and Graham focus on as they weave together their belief that God’s plan for the deceased and the survivors, as well as the community as a whole, transcends the actual tragedy of the massacre. Narrated from a position of faith and interspersed with scripture, the authors use stories from within the school as the rampage by students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold unfolded, which are implemented to support their position that those who perished did so to allow others the opportunity to open their eyes to God.

I understand that Thomas Tweten and Ann Graham have written We Are All Columbine from a place of deep emotional connection and the intent to move and inspire. I also have profound respect for their point of view, even if I do not wholly agree with it. I agree that despite families being torn apart in ways most of us cannot comprehend living through ourselves, it absolutely pulls strangers together in mourning and solidarity. Overall, from a literary standpoint, this book is tightly written, and it gets straight to the point and to the heart of their point of view. The theology that is both the foundation and theme of the work is reinforced with relevant scripture in a narrative that is clear and sure to resonate with many readers.

Deborah Lloyd

April 20, 1999 is a day that is etched into the memory of millions of people. The shooting at Columbine High School was traumatic and painful for the students and families, the community of Littleton, Colorado, and for caring people across the nation and throughout the world. Twelve students, a teacher, and the two shooters died, and many others were injured. Authors Thomas P. Tweten and Ann A. Graham present a different perspective in the nonfictional work, We Are All Columbine. Their insights are based on the “most unexpected gift of a beautiful vision, a lot of faith, and a good bit of time.” The authors’ religious beliefs and knowledge, along with several amazing occurrences, form a spiritual understanding of this tragic event.

Mr. Tweten shares his personal experience of that terrible day, including receiving the news at work and handling the emotions of a livingroom full of teenagers, friends of his younger son, that evening. How the community dealt with the anger toward the shooters is thought-provoking. The authors’ perspective on the need for forgiveness is based on religious beliefs and is inspiring. Although the story is tragic, the messages are filled with hope and healing. How the authors were able to weave these messages into the details of this incomprehensible event reveals skillful writing. We Are All Columbine, written by Thomas P. Tweten and Ann A. Graham, is a spiritual book that will help anyone dealing with any type of tragedy. It is a book that can be re-read many times to grasp all the meanings within its pages.

Vincent Dublado

We Are All Columbine by Thomas P. Tweten and Ann A. Graham is a look back at the tragic events that took place at Columbine High School on April 20, 1999. Old wounds might be opened at the mention of this unspeakable tragedy, but what Tweten and Graham present is a re-examination of the event from a spiritual perspective that may well lead to healing. As victims of violence and tragedy often feel distressed or overwhelmed, a feeling that could run through their veins over the course of years, spirituality becomes important to help find meaning and purpose, and it even connects people to reach their higher power. You will be prompted to ask what kind of benevolent God would allow this to happen. This book addresses the important things that God wants you to see and one of them, for example, is to look at one another with newfound wonder and appreciation.

Tragedy changes people. At worst, it shatters our view of the world, of our place in it, and the existence of God. Thomas P. Tweten and Ann A. Graham keep it real by examining how the Columbine shooting had a devastating effect on an entire nation. They do not rush to defend God and then offer deep theological and philosophical explanations. What they write here is done with empathy, information, and understanding. This piece of work is written with the best of intentions, but not all good intentions may be well-received. Still, this book has a caring voice that properly articulates the deeper truths we all need to see in times of our vulnerability. In the spirit of healing, this work becomes invaluable. With a different perspective that it offers on an event that shocked the whole world, We Are All Columbine is the piece of spiritual reading that may help us proceed through life with relative confidence.

Tammy Ruggles

We Are All Columbine by Thomas P Tweten and Ann A Graham is an intriguing journey into the spiritual/supernatural aspects of the Columbine school massacre that happened in 1999. Authors Tweten and Graham, who have personal ties to the tragedy, take readers into the hearts and minds of those involved and affected by the terrible event by going beyond the headlines. They relay a different meaning - one that is uplifting in an unexpected way. Once you read this book, you may never think of Columbine the same way again. It was a dark time for everyone, but goodness can happen in the shadows, as this book shows. If you are interested in hearing about what could be called hidden knowledge surrounding Columbine, keep reading.

Making sense of a national tragedy like Columbine is almost impossible. Everyone wants to know why something like this could happen. But the authors give a thoughtful and spiritual perspective and a clue that led them in a direction that was different from most others. Healing and hope don't come easily after trauma, but this book makes a brave attempt at offering both. It has decidedly spiritual themes but should be relatable to most readers as it poses spiritual questions most of us have from time to time. Who are we really, where do we come from, where are we going, what is the meaning of life, and the nature of God? Tweten and Graham try to explain that there may have been a higher purpose for Columbine that no one really understood at the time, but assure readers that they don't have to believe or accept it and would rather you come to your own conclusions. I won't spoil the message by giving too many details here. If you want a different perspective on Columbine and its aftermath, make plans to add We Are All Columbine by Thomas P Tweten and Ann A Graham to your reading list this year.

Ryan Fitz

Top reviews from the United States
Ryan Fitz
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful, uplifting, straight from the soul.
Reviewed in the United States on February 18, 2021
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We Are All Columbine is a thought provoking and spiritually uplifting look into one of the darkest moments in modern history. Thomas and Ann take the pit of darkness that was April 20th, 1999, and artfully point out the ray of blinding light that shown through the darkness. I would recommend this book to anyone, yet it is truly a must read for anyone who has dealt with loss or trauma, because of its unyielding message of love and hope, even in the worst of the worst. When you read it, you can't help but get the feeling what you are truly reading is the heart in soul of not just the authors, or the Columbine community, but of the essence of the human spirit. Buy this book. Read it from front to back. You won't regret it.
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Jeffrey J. Gunther
5.0 out of 5 stars A nice read
Reviewed in the United States on March 11, 2022
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A nice read for anyone interested in the Columbine incident.
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