This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.
The auditorium doors won’t open.
Someone starts shooting.
Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.
This book is a travesty. This book is, quite frankly, an insultto all the victims, direct and indirect, of school shootings. School shootings are a fairly new epidemic, one of the most well-known being Columbine. It is also a morbidly intriguing one; the psychology of the people that committed said acts are deeply complex, and not to be taken lightly in exploration.
And yet that’s what this foolish, belittling, dare I say, stupidlittle book does. It boils down the intricate psychology behind said act, behind the perpetrator down to “he was evil.” Boom. Simple. That’s it, right? That must be it.
One does not simply wake up one morning and decide “I’m going to kill my classmates.” It is a simplistic, idiotic, fatally flawed frame of mind. Any minute bit of research, the dumbest fucking idiot in the world has access to a Wikipedia page, and even the merest glimpse into one of these pages would show that the reasoning behind these acts is not simply “he was evil.”
This book is all black and white. The victims are good, sympathetic, pathetic, nearly indistinguishable from each other in their blandness. I feel this is a betrayal in portraying this way. The victims are diverse, they led different lives, they have hopes and fears and imperfections. Some of them are good. Some are not. Some are bullies, jerks, assholes. The writer of this book doesn’t show that. Just because they’re victims, they are all milquetoast in their mournability once they are lost, and to be honest, I can’t recall any of them with clarity because there are so many of them and they’re all utterly unmemorable. I can’t remember their deaths. It is a crime to portray the victims in that way.
The shooter is evil and bad. Has been evil and bad, and will have grown up to be more evil and bad had he have gotten away and lived.
The book is sensationalistic. Like come on, when the bad guy is about to kill you, would this moment really have happened? Like, REALLY?
“You know, sweaty chic doesn’t suit you,” I muse.
Tyler falters, though only for a moment. “I should have known. Come to protect your sister? What are you going to do—hit me again?”
Again, this is just speculation, but to me, this is nothing that dramatic bullshit to make the book read better.
Tyler. The perpetrator. My god, what a one-dimensional character he is. Dare I say, murderers are always complex people. We read crime novels, mysteries, we watch mystery shows because it’s the motivation of such an act that fascinates us. Some of my favorite book series in the world are murder mysteries because they are so addictingly macabre in their portrayal of the psychology behind such an act.
Tyler’s character is as fleshed out as a vegetarian steak. He did it because he was bad. He did it because he wanted to be visible. Bullshit. People don’t just kill because they wanted to be seen. They kill because they were bullied, oppressed, whether real or felt. They kill because of real or imagined slight that was amplified enough to fuel their rage to want to kill. They kill because they were abused, over and over, until the rubber band of their mind snap.
The psychology of such an act is so complex, and this book fucking misses the point completely. The diversity of the book – students of different color – feels so false. Token persons of color, that’s all. This book deserves to disappear from the face of the earth.