Lindsay's Reviews > We Need to Talk About Kevin

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
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Nov 03, 11

bookshelves: misc, misc-horror

What makes this book interesting isn't the terrible, titular Kevin; it's his mother, who is the narrator. The book takes place after Kevin has brought a crossbow in to school and killed several students and a teacher; his mother is basically chronicaling every bad thing he's ever done. She also makes it perfectly clear that she never really liked or wanted her son in the first place. In the beginning, she sees this perpetually screaming baby as a hinderance, something that her husband has foisted upon her. Her attitude makes the reader wonder how much nature versus nurture comes into play in this situation: was Kevin born bad, or did his mother's dislike shape him? The mother isn't entirely unsympathetic, as it's clear that Kevin's father dotes on him, adores him, and turns a blind eye to his bad behavior, even when it's blindingly obvious that something is wrong with him. Kevin's mother feels trapped in an unloving environment: she has a kid who clearly hates her and a husband who ignores her every time she tries to bring this up. Our lead characters - Kevin and his mother - are complex; his father, not so much, but then again, we're seeing him from the mother's skewed viewpoint.
This novel is definitely not for anyone who is easily disturbed, but I recommend it for anyone who enjoys giving serious thought to what they've read.
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