Lois Duncan's Reviews > We Need to Talk About Kevin

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
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Apr 29, 12


I found the subject matter fascinating but the writing tedious. The theory that psychopaths are born, not made, is one I hold myself, and this story certainly supports that. I imagine many people have wondered what it would be like to be the parent of such a person--to, at one level, know that your child was pure evil, yet be unwilling to let yourself believe it--but I've never before read a book written from such a parent's viewpoint.

But the book could, and should, have been 50 pages shorter. The horror of the facts would have had more impact without the rambling self-analyzing narrative.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Carla I think I didn't notice the "rambling self-analyzing narrative" because that's the way my head operates--I do that in my head, and out loud, all the time. :D


Lois Duncan We all have different preferences when it comes to styles of writing.I personally prefer faster pacing. But I did find the subject matter fascinating. What did you think about the mother (the narrator)? I didn't feel she was in any way to blame for the actions of her monster son, but I did find it incredible that she didn't (1)insist he get counseling, which wouldn't have done any good, but would be any normal parent's first effort or (2)see a therapist herself to get a professional's reaction to her suspicions. Especially after her daughter's "unfortunate accident." And the insights offered to her by Kevin's teacher.


Carla I didn't like her at first, but I grew to deeply feel for her.

I'm a intensive in-home counselor--in-home counseling is used to prevent removal from the home, for whatever reason, including hospitalization--so I see some families struggling with this issue. I disagree with her not seeking counseling for herself or her son, but I understand, and I've seen it before, at work. She was terrified, I think, to receive validation that either he was as disturbed as she feared, or that her mothering chip was defective, and she was the mentally ill one.

I think about this book sometimes at work, when I need to tell parents that their child might need 24-7 care, or might need to be reevaluated for more intense psychotropic medication, and I wonder if I'll see the denial, or the fear.


message 4: by Lois (last edited Apr 29, 2012 02:22PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lois Duncan The fact that the father was in total denial and so adament in his defense of Kevin's every action did place the mother in a difficult position. But the drastic injury to her daughter should certainly have shoved her into action of some kind, even if she was afraid of what she would learn.

What did you think of the ending? What do you see happening once Kevin is released?


message 5: by Hil (new) - rated it 3 stars

Hil I disagree - it could, and should, have been a HUNDRED pages shorter! I did enjoy this book but my lasting impression of it was that it was "very wordy". From reading other people's reviews of this book, I get the impression people are far more bothered by her attitude to/relationship with her son than what he eventually does. There's a lot of debate about motherhood in here, written by an author who has no children, and I think some people find that hard to accept or somehow redundant. As a person with no children, I found her inner-debates quite interesting though, and in some cases they were things I'd thought myself.


Edda I totally agree. I'm more thank halfway through with it and find the story fascinating but sometimes I just want her to GET TO THE POINT already!


Edda *than


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