Tuesday, January 5, 2016

This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

This is Where It Ends.  Marieke Nijkamp. Sourcebooks.  January 2016. 288 pp.  ISBN#: 9781492622468. 

It could happen anywhere and it has happened in far too many places, places where a deeply disturbed individual decides to leave a memorable imprint of a hopeless, damaged person crying out for meaning and dignity.  Noble words to express the deepest hurt and rage imaginable!

This is the scene the reader meets in this intense and poignant story of students in the ironically named Opportunity High School.  Over the next 54 minutes, we will watch Tyler, a seriously troubled student, kill far too many teachers and students at the tail end of the principal’s encouraging speech for the upcoming semester.  It happens gradually and in between the random shots we learn his story, that of his family and those of his acquaintances (since he insists he has no friends).

There’s Tyler’s sister, Autumn who dreams of being a classical dancer and her newly discovered girlfriend, Sylv.  Tomas, Sylv’s brother, and Fareed, an Afghanistan friend, attempt to unlock the chained doors during the disaster.  Claire, Tyler’s ex-girlfriend, believes she’s the one responsible for this disaster and seeks to find a way to break the momentum of his killing.  There’s a young man who’s physically challenged but not pitied enough to avoid being shot.  These and other forceful scenes play out.  Some characters will truly examine the past and attempt to analyze the background of Tyler in order that he might realize they do care.  Some will show troubled backgrounds modified by attempts to reach out to each other in their obvious or partially revealed needs.

In between the account of these terrible hours are snippets of emails being rapidly sent, some caring and concerned, some prurient in their looking to sensationalize what is already beyond the word “sensation.”

The purpose of such a novel is to sensitize readers beyond the horrific events of this day to seeing the lives herein as more than worthy, hurting and therefore in need of being addressed as issues that could just as easily erupt elsewhere.  

A highly commendable and recommended, necessary account!

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