Jaime's Reviews > We Need to Talk About Kevin

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
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's review
Feb 12, 2008

really liked it
Read in February, 2008

I don't really know where to begin here. This book was intriguing, yet very, very disturbing for a number of reasons. Eva, mother to the murdering teenage boy, is brutally honest about her misconceptions of motherhood, her feelings toward her shameless, saucy little boy, and her apparent guilt regarding his murderous rampage. Although I love her candor, I was sometimes repelled by the way in which she talked about her son. Referring to Kevin as "a little shit" as the 18 month old stood defiantly in his crib, forcing herself to make a vow to be nicer to him as a three year old, and having to determinedly think about offering up any kind of affection to the boy is just beyond my comprehension. Clearly, motherhood was not something that came easily to Eva; instead her maternal instincts were cold and contrived. Does that make her responsible for what her son ultimately became? Absolutely not. Although Eva is far from mother of the year, I truly believe that Kevin had something inherently wrong with him. Sure Eva wasn't always warm and fuzzy, but there is no denying that Kevin's actions (from a frighteningly early age) were premeditated, malicious, and calculating. This could not be the sole cause of the environment in which he grew up. Even so, I'd place more of the blame for Kevin's actions and behaviors on his father, Franklin. Although Eva was chilly, Franklin tried too hard to be Kevin's friend and defended him time and again when Kevin was questioned about, well, you name it--tormenting his kindergarten classmates, causing a neighbor's bicycle accident, throwing bricks from a bridge onto a highway, etc. etc. Franklin always saw good in Kevin; at least Eva saw her son for the monster he truly was. With that said, this is definitely a book I would recommend reading. Although I can't say I loved any of the characters (except, perhaps, poor little Celia), they were well developed and remained true throughout the novel. The pacing of the novel was good, allowing the reader to gain just the right amount of insight into Kevin and his family at the appropriate time in the book. What I liked best was that the author led up to a much needed climax with an excruciating ending that I didn't see coming.
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