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We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

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We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

This was the last author I needed to read for my project (reading all the 154 bestselling authors my library system gets automatically from our distributor).  This is the best known of all Shriver’s novels so I figured it would be a good pick.  I definitely ended my project on a high note, albeit a deeply disturbing one.

The novel is told in a series of letters Eva writes to her estranged husband about her life now that their son Kevin killed a number of people on that Thursday, the day he killed eleven people.  In her letters she reflects on her past, present and future, but it is the view into the past and how she felt about her firstborn child that is the crux of her writings.  She wasn’t really sure about having a child, and Kevin was hard for her to accept.  She knew from the very beginning that there was something wrong, “off” in a way, about her boy.  Her husband refused to acknowledge it, in fact berated her for her misgivings about Kevin.  And Kevin, naturally, pushes them apart.  To help out her marriage, she hopes, she gets pregnant again with wonderful little Celia.  This happy, cautious, little girl is the opposite of her brother in so many ways.  But what is it about his family life that pushes Kevin to murder his classmates at age fifteen like so many other school murderers?  Or was Kevin just born with the capacity and will to kill?

Eva is not a perfect person.  She has many faults as a wife and mother.  But her honesty in her retelling of the not so great things she did and thought in her life really brings us into her mind and helps the reader puzzle out alongside her what could have happened with Kevin to make him the person he is.  Gripping, disturbing and thought provoking this is a hard read but one that makes you think.

By | 2017-05-03T20:32:44+00:00 September 16th, 2014|SCLSNJ Recommended Reads|
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