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If I Don't Make It, I Love You
If I Don't Make It, I Love You: Survivors in the Aftermath of School Shootings | Amye Archer, Loren Kleinman
11 posts | 4 read | 31 to read
"The result is an important and horrifyingly thick anthology of mass murders...Highly difficult to read in one sitting, but we must not look away." Kirkus Reviews A harrowing collection of sixty narrativescovering over fifty years of shootings in Americawritten by those most directly affected by school shootings: the survivors. If I Dont Make It, I Love You, a text sent from inside a war zone. A text meant for Stacy Crescitelli, whose 15-year-old daughter, Sarah, was hiding in a closet fearing for her life in Parkland, Florida, in February of 2018, while a gunman sprayed her school with bullets, killing her friends, teachers, and coaches. This scene has become too familiar. We see the images, the children with trauma on their faces leaving their school in ropes, connected to one another with hands on shoulders, shaking, crying, and screaming. We mourn the dead. We bury children. We demand change. But we are met with inaction. So, we move forward, sadder and more jaded. But what about those who cannot move on? These are their stories. If I Dont Make It, I Love You collects more than sixty narratives from school shooting survivors, family members, and community leaders covering fifty years of shootings in America, from the 1966 UT-Austin Tower shooting through May 2018s Santa Fe shooting. Through this collection, editors Amye Archer and Loren Kleinman offer a vital contribution to the surging national dialogue on gun reform by elevating the voices of those most directly affected by school shootings: the survivors.
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This book is so dense and so gut wrenching that I couldn‘t read it straight through. At almost 500 pages, every page was difficult to read. There were a lot of lesser known shootings, and I was especially riveted by those pre-Columbine, during a time school shooter hadn‘t yet entered our vernacular. #publishedin2019 #booked2019

Cinfhen This one sounds really painful to read 💔 2mo
Mdargusch The title is gut wrenching just to start. 2mo
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Getting ready to start this today. I‘m using this for the book that scares me for the #scaryscavengerhunt. With three kids in college and three in public schools, there‘s not much that scares me more than school shootings.

#scarathlon #teamslaughter @Clwojick

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Finally, some fall weather. It‘s very welcome after a week of sweltering 90 degree heat.

I‘m slowly making my way through this one. It‘s certainly not an easy or quick read. Just made it to Columbine. 😞

CocoReads I‘m so excited for the cooler temps! I‘m off today because it‘s my weekend to work and I‘m looking forward to getting out and about today! 2mo
Cinfhen Your current book sounds really hard to read 💔and today my car temperature was reading 93 🥵 2mo
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“Gun violence prevention advocates don‘t want to take away guns. We just don‘t want your guns to take away our lives or the lives of our children.”


britt_brooke Exactly! 👏🏻 2mo
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There is no “right” way to survive, you just do what you can and keep moving and fighting. This is the theme of this book on school shooting survivors. Incredibly important. I wish the editors had been a bit more careful as several things slipped through but it was still an immensely moving and heartbreaking read.

Rachel.Rencher Oh god that books sounds sad. I just had to implement a new shooter lockdown protocol at my school and it's so scary to think of what would happen if it wasn't just a drill. 2mo
Amiable I am glad you mentioned the sloppy editing —I‘ve been wincing when I spot one. It distracts me from the message every time. 2mo
Nebklvr @Amiable drives me crazy but happens all the time 2mo
Nebklvr @Rachel.Rencher It is sad. And I think drills are traumatic too. Crazy making that we havent done much in way of prevention 2mo
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This book compiled oral histories of school shooting victims, starting with Santa Fe and working backwards to 1966 and the mass shooting that took place at the University of Texas. The most shocking thing about reading this was realizing how many school shootings have happened that I either don‘t remember or didn‘t even know about. Many of the survivors, regardless of which event, talked about how as soon as they mentioned their connection 👇👇👇

AmberWB To the shooting, people immediately wanted to talk about where THEY were and their memories of the day, which was extremely painful for the survivors. 2mo
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Going to try to start this tonight...😭

Sace Wow. I hope you survive the read. I'm not strong enough for a book like that. 😔 2mo
britt_brooke I‘m so happy to see this book getting attention in media and on Litsy. It‘s such an important read, but understandably difficult to take in. When you get to Heath HS, 1997, that‘s my school. 😔 2mo
Nebklvr @RestlessFickleBookHoarder I have the kleenex box next to me. 2mo
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Nebklvr @britt_brooke Oh my gosh. So sorry. I heard about this book on Pantsuit Politics. One of the cohosts lived through a school shooting. I can‘t imagine worrying about this as a kid. 2mo
Amiable I‘m reading this one right now as well. 😳 2mo
britt_brooke @Nebklvr I‘ve known Sarah Stewart Holland since we were small. 😊 She was one of my classmates. At the time, I was a sophomore and she was a junior. 2mo
Nebklvr @britt_brooke I can‘t imagine the trauma of a shooting or the need to return to a school where I or my classmates once fled to save our lives. I can‘t say I ever believed my country would shrug off the responsibility for its children like it has 2mo
Nebklvr @Amiable First night I had nightmares all night. Last night I read something else right before bed so it wasn‘t the last thing I read. 2mo
britt_brooke @Nebklvr It‘s ridiculous that now, nearly 22 years later, it‘s still happening. 😡😔 It‘s not an experience any child nor parent should ever have. 2mo
Amiable @Nebklvr I went from Garrett Graff‘s oral narratives of 9/11 right into this one. I‘ve been a mess for several weeks now. 2mo
Nebklvr @Amiable Wow! I have The Perfect Storm on the go but it isn‘t as traumatic yet (not very far in). Plus, you kind of expect nature to be ruthless. 2mo
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Brian has the girls at dance, so after a quick run to Starbucks and the library, I‘m taking a moment to start a new book before a meeting.

emilyhaldi Enjoy the peace and quiet 🙏🏻 2mo
SauerPatch As a parent of two young children I live for these moments! 🙏🏼 2mo
MatchlessMarie I didn't realize this one was already out! I'd been looking forward to this one. 2mo
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Amiable I hadn‘t heard of this one... stacking 2mo
keithmalek You win the Litsy Award for Most Disturbing Reading Selections. 2mo
Reviewsbylola Seriously, I‘m a little ashamed of my goodreads. People probably think I‘m a sicko. 😬😆 @keithmalek 2mo
britt_brooke Curious to hear what you think of this one. When you get to Heath High School, 1997: Hollan, Christina, Sarah (of Pantsuit Politics), and Kelly are my friends. Kelly is also the shooter‘s sister. (edited) 2mo
Reviewsbylola I was curious which one was your school. I haven‘t made it that far yet. @britt_brooke 2mo
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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ An incredibly tough, but necessary read. As a school shooting survivor - a loose term because, although present, I was not in immediate danger - this book was oddly therapeutic. My school is in here. My brave classmates wrote essays.

PS. The title and cover are tasteless and insensitive. Do better for the survivors! According to a friend who was a contributor, the editors wanted a different cover, but the publisher gave them no choice.

imabusybee Im sorry you had to go through that! I totally understand My son was in Vegas he called to tell us he loved us and he hung up all I could think/say was...was that gunshots in the back ground. 3mo
Butterfinger How sad that the publisher thought more about money than survivors' feelings. You may not have been near, but you had similar feelings I bet. Fear, confusion, anger, and guilt. My school also had an attack. In 92, two boys died by stabbing beside my brother's locker. It still upsets me knowing my brother was scared and needed me. 3mo
Butterfinger Oh I'm so sorry @imabusybee how horrid for a mother. 3mo
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JenReadsAlot I'm so sorry you went through that. 3mo
Christine That‘s too bad re: title and cover. ☹️ Glad this book felt therapeutic to you, though. ❤️ 3mo
britt_brooke @imabusybee Omg, that is so scary, Joann. I‘m so happy he‘s okay. As a parent, that is absolutely horrifying. 3mo
britt_brooke @Butterfinger Omg, that‘s horrific. I can‘t imagine what your brother must‘ve experienced. You as well. 3mo
britt_brooke @JenReadsAlot Thank you 💛 3mo
britt_brooke @Christine Thank you 💛 3mo
kate_reads Just that title alone...😞 3mo
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The moment I‘ve been both waiting for and dreading: my school. I was a sophomore when this happened. This difficult book has consumed me for the last 3 days. There are 4 essays from my former classmates. I know them all. One was my neighbor and is a lifelong friend. Our parents still live across the cul de sac from each other. One is the shooter‘s sister. I have mixed feelings, but want to hear her story. She drove him to school that day.

SauerPatch I hate that this even exists. 💔 (edited) 3mo
Melissa_J I can‘t imagine how difficult that must be to read. 3mo
IamIamIam Wow, that's got to be a really difficult read for you. I'm glad you are here today to be able to read it, though. 3mo
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Megabooks His sister went to Governor‘s Scholars with me the summer before. I didn‘t know her well. I‘m so sorry! 💜💜 3mo
Reviewsbylola Aw Brittany, thinking of you. ♥️ I was torturing myself watching and reading about Sandy Hook the other day while my kids were at school. I don‘t know why I torture myself but I just see the love surrounding them at school and it‘s unfathomable to me that these things can happen. 3mo
xicanti Wow. That‘s gotta be an intense read. 3mo
britt_brooke @Megabooks I didn‘t know Kelly well, but she always seemed nice and smart, which she undoubtedly still is. Her essay is good. They lived less than a mile from me. Her brother was always odd. He didn‘t like “preps” though that‘s not who he shot. He shot his friends. He and one of the girls killed trick or treated at my house just a few weeks prior to the shooting. She was dressed as Gumby. I gave them candy. 3mo
britt_brooke @Reviewsbylola Thanks, sweet friend. 💚 This book has been oddly comforting. If I‘m being honest, the Sandy Hook stories hurt me as much as my own school‘s. I was a parent to a baby by then and that broke me. I‘m sure you felt/feel the same. (edited) 3mo
britt_brooke @SauerPatch Me, too, friend, but i have to admit it‘s been oddly comforting to me. And that makes me sad, but it‘s reality. 💔 3mo
britt_brooke @Melissa_J It‘s tough, but oddly comforting. That probably sounds weird, but knowing that other people experienced similar (not okay), and feel the same, helps. We didn‘t know what to do back then. We just did our best. 💚 (edited) 3mo
britt_brooke @IamIamIam Thank you. Truly your words mean so much to me. 💚 3mo
britt_brooke @xicanti It is, but it‘s oddly comforting, too. It‘s hard to articulate. 3mo
MaureenMc 💗💗 3mo
Scochrane26 I remember this very well, but I was across the state. It‘s hard to fathom what it‘s like during an incident and after. 3mo
britt_brooke @Scochrane26 It was such an odd thing. None of us knew how to handle it. We went to school the next day. We didn‘t have classes, but being together seemed right, I suppose. That‘s intense looking back. 3mo
mom2bugnbee Wow. I had NO idea you were there. I remember this like it was yesterday. So glad you're still with us! 3mo
mom2bugnbee In other news, I noticed your bracelet. Katie is serving as secretary of her school's Students Demand Action chapter this year. 3mo
britt_brooke @mom2bugnbee Yep. 😔 I was a sophomore. I‘m grateful that I was upstairs. I also feel guilty that I was upstairs. The shooting happened right below my classroom. Feelings are tricky. (edited) 3mo
britt_brooke @mom2bugnbee Your Katie is amazing. Good job, momma!! 3mo
Hooked_on_books Man, that looks like a tough read. Especially considering your personal history. 3mo
BarbaraBB I‘m glad it helps you to read about it and know you‘re not alone in this. I can‘t imagine how to deal with this. So intense. 3mo
Kalalalatja I‘m so glad you are finding the book to be a form of comfort. 3mo
Megabooks We had a Governor‘s Scholars reunion in January in Lex, & they were calling people over the PA if their parents arrived early, & I remember so clearly them calling her & everyone stopped talking for a second. But even then at 17, I also thought thank god she got to do something normal her senior year & hang out with friends who knew her in a different context. I‘m really interested to read that book if for no other reason than her essay. Hugs. 💜 (edited) 3mo
Megabooks Also, it‘s weird the things you remember. Like the Gumby costume. Or that beat of silence. I think Kelly played the flute in the talent show. People think Columbine was the start of an era, but I remember thinking of Heath when I was watching those events unfold in 99 from college. It makes me think of Cheryl Strayed saying WhyTF in an advice column. Truly, WhyTF. Idk if I‘ll ever, or any of us, get a satisfying answer to that. 😢😢 3mo
Suet624 I can‘t even imagine. My heart goes out to you. So glad you‘re finding some comfort in reading the book. 3mo
DaveGreen7777 This is so horrifying! My heart goes out to you and all the others affected by tragedies like this! 😔 3mo
MicheleinPhilly I so admire your strength. ❤️ 3mo
Reviewsbylola Yes, SH haunts me. It is one of those tragedies I just can‘t shake. 3mo
britt_brooke @Hooked_on_books It has been tough, but I feel like I owe to these folks to read their stories. 💚 3mo
britt_brooke @Megabooks Thank you for remembering Heath. 💛 I don‘t know why I‘m touchy about when people think it started with columbine. In fact, there were a few before that, they just weren‘t viewed as being as horrific, I suppose. 3mo
britt_brooke @Megabooks I can‘t imagine how Kelly must‘ve felt/still feels. She lost friends and her brother (he‘s in prison, but you know what I mean). I just reconnected with her on fb. I hope she‘s been able to have a happy life beyond her brother‘s actions. 3mo
britt_brooke @Suet624 Thank you. 💛 3mo
britt_brooke @DaveGreen7777 Thank you. 💛 3mo
britt_brooke @MicheleinPhilly You are so kind. 💛 3mo
britt_brooke @BarbaraBB Thank you. 💛 3mo
britt_brooke @Kalalalatja Thank you. 💛 3mo
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