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 is Where it Ends is an insult to all the victims of school shootings, a morbidly intriguing topic given the psychology behind the act which is incredibly complex and certainly not to be taken lightly.
Never, just never, is the reasoning behind a shooting simply because “he was evil.” No-one wakes up and decides to shoot their classmates in the same manner we choose which cereal we want for breakfast.
The sad part is, just a little bit of research could have prevented this.
This is Where it Ends portrays school shootings in a clear cut manner: victims are good, shooters are bad. I won’t argue that shooters are good, so don’t worry on that account. But I’d like to harken back to the fact that no one gets to that point on their own. There are signs of mental deterioration as diseases take their brain, there are signs of bullying, of depression and anxiety which gets overwhelming and becomes too much to handle alone. None of which was present here. This shooter is simply evil.
The main characters are diverse (as they should be as this was written by a We Need Diverse Books member), but they are also plentiful. They are also unmemorable. I’m not sure I remember any of their deaths vividly and, awful though it sounds, I absolutely should given the subject matter. It is a travesty that the victims in this situation are not fleshed out and made real. I connected with them just about as much as I do when the news covers a shooting in ten minutes, and given the medium of this story I should have connected much more. I should be able to remember them all like they were my own classmates.
It is sensational, and to be honest, I fell into it and requested it because of the topic. But there are also many unbelievable moments.
The murderer, the shooter, the gunman, is so incredibly one dimensional. Has anyone else ever read a crime novel? Watched a crime show? The bad guy is always complex. They have so many reasons and it is their motivation which fascinates us.
I’m not saying we should all be fascinated by a boy who shoots his classmates. But we should be fascinated by the villain in a book. The psychology behind his character, behind his decision, is never fleshed out.
And as for the diverse cast-they are token. They are only people of color to be people of color.