Monday, July 20, 2009

We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

Disturbing book about family-life in suburbia in the 1990es. Lionel Shriver has written a powerful book about Eva, her husband Franklin and their son Kevin. The book is made out of a number of Eva's letters to her estranged husband, following her visits to the prison where her son Kevin has been after killing seven classmates, a teacher and a cafeteria-worker in on of those school-shootings we all know about, mostly from the Columbine-massacre. I don't know, but maybe the Columbine-massacre was the inspiration for this book.

Eva and Franklin are New York WASPs in their mid-thirties, when they decide to try making a baby and becoming a real family, moving from TriBeCa to the 'burbs, bringing up their son, Kevin. Kevin is not like other children - or should I say, that seen through the eyes of his mother, he is not like other children, while his father seems to think that whatever Kevin does, its normal and healthy? The voice of the book belongs to Eva, mainly, and I shuddered through parts of the book. Clearly, Eva did not like her son, and she definitely did not understand him. But I shuddered even more when I read about Franklin's reactions, and found him a weak idiot through a large part of the book. But then again, the letters are from Eva to Franklin, not the other way round, so we can only take Eva's words for whatever she claims went wrong through Kevin's childhood and adolescence. It is not that she is not taking the blame, though, because she is. I still would have liked to hear Franklin's voice as well, and I grew a little tired with Eva's voice, and actually also grew a little tired with her taking much of the blame. I would also have liked some kind of explanation of why Kevin became a killer, although I guess the explanation is what I have just read in this book which has more than 450 pages.

I would love to discuss much more about this book, as there are many interesting topics to discuss, but I am afraid it would mean spoilers, so for now I will just say, that if you haven't read it, do it now. Great book, but scary and disturbing.

6 comments:

farmlanebooks said...

I loved this book too! I know what you mean about wanting to discuss it. There is so much to talk about - it makes it perfect for book clubs.

Louise said...

I even contemplated writing my review based on the book club questions in the back of my copy - but it would simply mean too many spoilers, so that is why the review is somewhat thin ;o) I really liked it too.

Natalie W said...

Oh, i need to put this on my list! Sounds like a great read.
I also have an award for you too
Natalie :0)

http://thebookinn.blogspot.com/

Beth F said...

Wow. I've been meaning to read this, and I guess I really should. I love books that make me want to talk about them, even when the subject is difficult or disturbing. Sounds like a good book club book.

One Swede Read said...

This is on my TBR-shelf - I just have to get in the right mood to read it... :)

Sheila DeChantal said...

We read this for book club a while back... wow, at least two years ago... I really found it as you said, a good read but dark and very close to home.
Many in my book group couldn't stand it, but I actually found the events that lead up to what happened interesting as you see the other side....