Sam Woodfield's Reviews > We Need to Talk About Kevin

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
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's review
May 10, 2012

it was amazing
Read from April 11 to May 10, 2012

This novel has just leap to the top of my greatest reads list. This is really a brilliant book which had me gripped from the start.
The novel is written from the perspective of Eva whose son Kevin is responsible for carrying out a high-school shooting. The story is told through a series of letters to her husband Franklin discussing their life and the signs that maybe Kevin was heading this way. Eva discusses her feelings, or lack of, about becoming a mother, her early relationship with a young Kevin as he meets his developmental milestones, and the impact that Kevins behaviour has on her friends, family and own sanity. There is an in-depth discussion of her relationship with Franklin - she who sees the worst in Kevin, he who will see no wrong and makes excuses for all the irregular behaviour. And finally, 'Thursday, the event that will change all their lives forever.
This book was so insightful into so many things. I'm sure Eva is not alone in not bonding with her child, and whilst with most mohers this is short-lived, it was interesting to look at the consequences of a longer term lack of bond.
For me, this novel was so enjoyable, not just because of the subject matter, engaging characters and the way in which it was written, but also because it raised so many questions. I am left wondering about the nature vs. nurture debate - was Kevin born evil hence Eva's instant dislike, or did Kevin simply respond to Eva's cues? Who is really to blame - was it Eva who showed no affection towards her son leaving him isolated, or was it Franklin who failed to set boundaries and saw no bad in his son despite the obvious signs of deviance? What is Kevins true relationship with his mother? - there were various parts of this novel that made me think of an Oedipus complex whereby Kevins actions are the result of sexual gratification at his mothers expense. And finally, whats the true motivation? - at times I thought I knew and then something happened that would blow my theory wide open.
Shriver has written a fabulous book which is full of twists and turns and keeps all these questions unanswered right to the last. Some of the twists towards the end really knocked me for six as, although somewhere I had an inkling for what was coming, the skill of Shrivers writting means that things still come as a shock.
This is a really emotive novel which every parent or future parent should read as it really gives an amazing insight into the mind of a mother in turmoil dealing with feeligs of guilt and questions as to her own involvement. An amazing read that no-one should miss!

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