Elizabeth's Reviews > We Need to Talk About Kevin

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
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's review
Jan 08, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: drama, family-drama
Read from December 30, 2011 to January 05, 2012

It seems a lot of people love this book, and a good number didn't. Kevin is the son of Eva and Franklin, older parents who are relatively well off. Eva does not bond with her newborn. And from day one, Kevin appears to dislike his mother, or want to drive her to distraction. This culminates years later, when he becomes a school shooter, a la Columbine.

I found it oddly fascinating. The relationships between the husband and wife, father and son, mother and son captivated me. The arc of the relationships, at least some of them, changed and grew in interesting ways.

When I read a book, I tend to accept it for what it is rather than parse every word, sentence and character. Some of the characters were certainly hyperbolic. As a mother myself, I found it difficult to believe a newborn would behave in this way or a mother would feel that way. But when I step back from per-conceived notions and accepted the book for what it is, and the characters for who they are, Shriver had my rapt attention.

Eva and Kevin are the most dynamic characters. And I feel that who they are at the beginning of the book may not be who they are at the end. Sometimes I felt Eva was the "bad guy." Sometimes Kevin. And then sometimes Franklin. I kept thinking about all the relationships, deciding if they were realistic or not. And if I read the book with the notion that all characters could be real, it left me thinking about the choices in parenting and marriage and motherhood and fatherhood.

In the end, Shriver's characters stuck with me. I considered them long after I finished the book. Without realizing it, I was thinking about what I would do differently and what choices I would make that were the same. And any book that keeps you thinking, is good in my opinion. It's a difficult topic. But I couldn't put it down.
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Sweetp-1 Great review, have had a copy of this for ages, on the list to read this year, may have to move it up

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