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Violent Ends by Shaun David Hutchinson
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Violent Ends

by Shaun David Hutchinson

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I'm not usually a fan of short story collections, but I really couldn't pass this one up, and I am glad that I didn't! This book contains seventeen different stories, all centered around one event - a student named Kirby Matheson walked into a school one day and killed five other students and a teacher before killing himself. Each person (actually one of the stories was told from the gun's perspective, which was super unique and interesting) is somehow touched by the tragedy - Kirby's sister, Kirby's friends, Kirby's former neighbor, the kid who used to live in Kirby's house before the Mathesons moved in, etc.

If you are a fan of linear stories, this is not the book for you. Some of the stories are set before the shooting, and some are set after, and there is no order to them. And if you NEED to know why Kirby decided to go into a pep rally with a gun, you may not enjoy this book either, because the reader is never told WHY. There is no story from Kirby's point of view. There is no story that says "I know that Kirby did this because of ______" (although a few different stories feature characters who believe that they might have been the cause, or at least led up to it).

I think the best thing about this book is that it portrays Kirby Matheson (who, like I said, never gives his own point of view) as a complex person. To some, he's a jerk; to others, he's a savior. To some, he is a friend; to others, he's an enemy. He kills random people he doesn't even know - Billie Palermo, for example, a recent transfer student who is also transgender - and doesn't kill people who have been unkind or downright cruel to him (he doesn't shoot Nate, a kid who beat him up and tormented him, but kills Nate's best friend in front of him). He tells one person to not come to school on the day of the shooting (she isn't aware of why until later) and deliberately sets up another girl to keep her away from the pep rally, and yet Kirby is also okay with his own sister being in the pep rally and potentially being in the path of his bullets.

I highly recommend this book. ( )
  schatzi | Jun 11, 2016 |
Painfully powerful.
Disturbing in all the right ways, this story is so raw, so real, that you will either devour it or throw it away in a fit of sobs.
Want to know what this book is about? Think Columbine. Think Umpqua Community College. Told from 17 points of view, this book is an enthralling account of one horrific day and the events leading up to it and prior to it. I especially appreciated the guns' point of view. Brilliant really, is what that is.
While this book may be hard to read for the nature of the content, but with this kind of tragedy happening so often in the United States, I think everyone should read it. Get a little better understanding of why people snap and do these heinous things. The cycle has to be stopped somehow, and knowledge is usually the key to that power. In my opinion, this book is a MUST read. ( )
  fredamans | Oct 10, 2015 |
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