Saturday, January 2, 2010

We Need To Talk About Kevin

Book: We Need To Talk About Kevin

Author: Lionel Shriver

Short Summary:
In 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: 4/5 Stars


  1. Thanks for visiting my blog! I am jealous you spent so much time in Guatemala :-) Welcome to book blogging- it's awesome to have another Chicago 20-something out there!

  2. I agree -- this is a very haunting book and I struggled with the mother's narration, particularly in the first half of the book.

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog! I look forward to following your reviews in 2010. You will find this blogging community to be the BEST!!

  3. There's Something About Kevin made my top 10 lists this past year. I agree with you, it was *very* disturbing. There were moments where I sat there in awe.

  4. I have not read this yet, but it is on my TBR list. I think books like this are difficult to read but are important to read too.

  5. I will keep this book on my TBR list, even though I had not realized it was about such a disturbing subject. I did like the previous Lionel Shriver book I read.

  6. WHOA! I didn't know that this was the subject of this book. That sounds intense but I've always wondered how murderers can come from completely normal families - I'll be reading this one.