We Need To Talk About Kevin

Book: We Need To Talk About Kevin

Author: Lionel Shriver

Short Summary:
We Need to Talk About Kevin book coverIn a series of letters written to her estranged husband, Franklin, the narrator, Eva, describes her thoughts, fears, and relationship with Kevin, their son. At fifteen years old, Kevin is in jail for the murder of several classmates and a teacher at his high school. Eva describes to Franklyn things she has told him in the past and fears and feelings she had never revealed about their son. Eva always saw a dark side to Kevin and struggled with feeling love for him, while it seemed to come easily to Franklin, who was clearly in denial. The book starts with Eva and Franklyn deciding to have children and follows Kevin’s growth through the incident Eva refers to as “Thursday”. This is the infamous day that Kevin performs the school massacre. The book also describes the aftermath and how everyone deals with the tragic events of the day.

My Thoughts:
It is difficult to say I liked this book because it was extremely disturbing and is without question one of the most haunting books I’ve ever read. I will never forget the character of Kevin and the way in which he murdered so many. That being said, I did find this book almost impossible to put down. Despite the difficult vocabulary, which could be distracting and unnecessary, I found myself turning page after page, unable to wait to find out what happened next. And when I did find out, no matter how hard it was to read, the build up did not disappoint.

This story also left the reader with some questions to ponder, which is always the sign of a good book. I wondered who really was to blame for the murders. Could Eva have done something to stop them? Is it possible to love a child if you can not find one thing about them you actually like? The questions could go on and on. This book, too, would make for a great book club discussion.

I am not a mother or married, which makes me think I most likely approached this book differently than people with dissimilar life experience. I think it was easy for me to look at this book from an outsiders view because I have not had to deal with the issues that mother’s must face. I do not know a mother’s love or lack thereof as described by Eva. This book did almost scare me into not wanting children, although I know it is a work of fiction. Although the writing was pretty convincing, I still have a hard time believing any child can be as apathetic or evil as Kevin appeared to be. He was an extreme.

This book, in my opinion, is definitely worth reading, but expect to be disturbed and haunted. Love it or hate it, We Need to Talk About Kevin is not a book that you will soon forget.

My Rating: 4 Stars

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6 Responses

  1. julie,
    i read this book last year, as well. i loved the way the author moved the story, loved her insights or lack thereof, and as a former social worker, felt her inner turmoil. i personally loved the book. i passed it on to a few others who put it down within the first few chapters due to the subject matter.

    • I know people who hated this book, but I really enjoyed it, as twisted as it was. I really like Lionel Shriver and loved her book The Post-Birthday World. She is coming out with a new book in April that I am also looking forward to. I see that you have traveled. Where to?

      • All over Latin America (I was an adventure tour escort there), Asia, Europe, actually a LOT of places. It is my passion in life.
        Wish we could figure out a way to get folks to reply on the blog instead of on facebook. do you keep your stats?

  2. I read this for an online book club and I recommend it all the time. It’s the darkest book I have read but I think it serves a purpose. I had to read it really fast – to get through it without nightmares (which I get from Harry Potter!).

  3. Julie, Like many special ed teachers, I have known thru the years, your statement about not having children because you might wind up with a “Kevin” is a common concern. What you have to remember is that only 5% of children will ever be like this or your students. You are not exposed on a daily basis to that other 95% of “normal” and average lovable kids who are a joy for parents.

  4. […] also talked a little bit about past books such as We Need To Talk About Kevin and The Post-Birthday World. She confirmed that We Need To Talk about Kevin is officially being […]

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