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We Need to Talk About Kevin
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message 1: by Elizabeth (last edited Jun 03, 2013 12:10AM) (new) - added it

Elizabeth (cramptonhodnet) This is the thread for our July Group Read (Fiction). No spoilers please until we have all finished reading it.

Chantal (chantal77) | 151 comments Mod
I won't be re-reading this as I was distinctly unimpressed...

I believe it's a 'marmite' book though(!)

message 3: by Jo (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jo Weston (joster) | 1697 comments Mod
I also won't be re-reading, as it's not that long since I read it. I totally get that it is "marmite", but I found it utterly compelling, though not without significant flaws (will elaborate another day to avoid spoilers!).

message 4: by Elizabeth (last edited Jun 03, 2013 10:11AM) (new) - added it

Elizabeth (cramptonhodnet) You can still contribute thoughts to the discussion when it happens though, Chantal & Jo :).

There's a couple of other books that deal with school killings - by Heather Gudenkauf, and Jodi Picoult I believe (will edit, with details shortly). Have you read either of these?

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult and One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf

Chantal (chantal77) | 151 comments Mod
Thanks Elizabeth, haven't read them but, equally, after - cue menacing music - 'KEVIN' not sure if they're for me. I want to explain more but it's spoilerish so shall wait until July :)

message 6: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth (cramptonhodnet) I'm getting nervous about meeting Kevin now :D. I think I'll line up a happier novel to read alongside it.

Nicola (nicola1) | 61 comments I enjoyed Kevin - I read it years ago mind! And I enjoyed Nineteen Minutes by Picoult. I haven't read One Breath Away, although I've read The Weight of Silence by Gudenkauf and loved her writing style.

Kevin is probably a 'marmite' book though!! I've read others by Shriver and not enjoyed them at all

message 8: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (mrswhams) | 730 comments Mod
I've read this and won't again but will be happily commenting when everyone is done. I will be very interested in the reactions, this one always polarises people.

Gail | 126 comments I have had this on my "to read" list for years and this is the push to get on and actually read it rather than keep putting it to the bottom of the pile!

message 10: by Sophie (new)

Sophie I won't be reading this, read half and gave up.

message 11: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (mrswhams) | 730 comments Mod
That's interesting Sophie, what made you abandon it? I found it very gripping although it's not an easy read psychologically.

message 12: by Nina (new) - added it

Nina Todorova I read the book a few years ago and at the time couldn't wait for someone to finish it so we could discuss it! I found the book a slow and engaging read, sometimes I would stop and go back a few pages. After I finished it, it left me buzzing but satisfied by the ending, sometimes books go well up until the final page, when I feel the author hadn't thought the ending through carefully enough. I agree, it is gripping, deep, sombre, but I also feel that it is totally worth investing time and energy in, one of the best books I've ever read.I cannot wait for all to finish it so we can discuss in more detail.

message 13: by Paul (new) - rated it 3 stars

Paul (halfmanhalfbook) | 5462 comments Mod
Got a copy from the library today

Susan (suze0501) | 190 comments Like other contributors I've read this and will not be re-reading. I look forward to joining the discussion,forum when it opens.

Belinda (belindaj) I've read both this and Nineteen Minutes, and found them equally gripping. I listened to an interesting discussion about it recently on Radio 4's A Good Read, although I think that particular episode was broadcast several years ago (I downloaded the podcast).

message 16: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth (cramptonhodnet) I found this interview with Lionel Shriver, on The World Book Club, where she talks about We Need To Talk About Kevin. I listened to it ages ago but it would be worth another listen once I've read it.

message 17: by Ruth (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ruth (purpleeee) I just read this and I can say it's one of my favorite books of all time. I understand why it would be difficult/tedious/impossible for people to finish, (actually the first 20 or so pages was utter HELL for me... it took me over a year to get past the exposition) but I was thoroughly immersed in the warped up world that Kevin and his mother lived in. In my opinion, it's not so much the school shooting itself that is the most important part of the story, but rather, it's the events that lead up to it. If you're really into plot books that go at a straightforward pace, then this probably isn't the book for you- the plot rambles along at best, being interrupted frequently by the narrator, but it was this characteristic which made the book so interesting for me.

Joanne | 30 comments I've downloaded this one. It doesn't sound like my type of book but I'll give it a go. Hopefully I'll be pleasantly surprised.

Susan (suze0501) | 190 comments Decided to 're-read this, despite earlier decision not to, but felt it had been too long for me to make any thoughtful contribution to this thread otherwise (sorry, dreadful sentence. Hope you can make sense of it!).

First thoughts - am on about page 60: I'd forgotten how self-consciously 'literary' it is.

Susan (suze0501) | 190 comments Joanne wrote: "I've downloaded this one. It doesn't sound like my type of book but I'll give it a go. Hopefully I'll be pleasantly surprised."

PS: I think you may well be surprised, but pleasantly I doubt!

message 21: by Clare (new)

Clare Hough (clarehough) | 2 comments Is there a reading schedule or do we just read it on our own and then discuss it after July 31st?

message 22: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth (cramptonhodnet) Just start reading it when you are ready, add comments to the thread but please avoid spoilers, unless you hide them. People join in as and when they have started. It is quite informal.

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) It took me a while to get the fact that there are 3 possible bookreads a month!

Have just ordered this from my library and hope it comes in time. (They're usually very quick. My brother was amazed to learn that I'd ordered a book he recommended - Michelle Paver's "Dark Matter" - from the library, picked it up and read it all within a week.....)

Oh - maybe this should be on the "Do you use your local library?" thread. Darn it!

message 24: by Jo (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jo Weston (joster) | 1697 comments Mod
"Happy" reading everyone, really interested to see what people say about it when they come back.

Elizabeth - possibly I'm being dense, but how do you hide spoilers? I've seen it done but don't know how.

Jean - Dark Matter - what did you make of it? I shuddered to the very end!

message 25: by Elizabeth (last edited Jul 01, 2013 11:47AM) (new) - added it

Elizabeth (cramptonhodnet) OK, to hide a spoiler (this is really clever!!!!) type one of these < then, without leaving a space, type the word spoiler, then again without leaving a space type one of these > and then write your spoiler bit. It should look like this (view spoiler)

message 26: by Jo (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jo Weston (joster) | 1697 comments Mod
Clever, thanks!

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Jo - yes it was quite atmospheric, though I wasn't really as riveted by it as I'd expected from what I'd been told. Maybe I was in the wrong mood as I read it in the height of Summer, so wasn't quite as empathic with the hero as I could have been....

message 28: by Helen (last edited Jul 01, 2013 02:39PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Helen French (helenfrench) | 52 comments I read this some time ago and wasn't a huge fan. It's well written, but I guess I just didn't believe the main relationship in the story, or in fact the fact the Kevin character was the way he was from birth.

The writing style was very consciously literary to my mind and that got on my nerves too.

I battled through it and it's a thought-provoking book, but to me it was unpleasant, and I read books for pleasure. They can be on difficult subjects, but I just didn't like enough in this.

message 29: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Cox (lisacccox) I had a hard time with this one, too. I read the first 4 chapters and couldn't get into it. I just couldn't find the mom character, Eva, sympathetic. So I went off to read reviews on Amazon to see what I would miss if I quit. The talk of how shocked folks were with the revelations later in the story made me think I should keep reading, but I just couldn't motivate myself. So I did something I almost never do -- I skipped to the end and read the last chapter. After knowing what I guess is the "big reveal" of the book, I could then summon a little more sympathy for Eva. So I went back and read the whole book.

It's still not one of my favorites. I don't really like the way Nature vs. Nurture was investigated. I think it's a lot more complex. And I don't know how many of Eva's thoughts are realistic and how many were designed to show her as a flawed, selfish character. Since it's told in retrospect and she's having trouble dealing with what her child did, then maybe it's realistic that many of her memories are colored by doubt and horror. I don't know. I guess that I'm like Helen in that I just didn't find it very believable, either.

Beatriz Pipkin | 24 comments I will start reading in about a week "We Need To Talk About Kevin", and will finish it before the end of July. I read some reviews and decided to join!

Charlotte (charley_100) | 322 comments Like a few others, I won't be rereading this. I don't recall enjoying the journey and found it to be rather grim. Not that I tend to read happy clappy books either! Think I would prefer to read something new instead, but will come back to see what others thought

Anne Marie Plum | 11 comments I'm on page 29 right now, and I'm having a very hard time summoning the patience to keep reading. I'm starting to develop a real dislike for the narrator, which is being transferred to my feelings about the author.

So far, I'm finding the writing style incredibly pretentious. Especially as an epistolary novel... It's just not how people write/talk to each other. Somebody please tell me that it either gets better, or that it's worth it!

message 33: by Lori (new)

Lori | 2 comments I didn't read this book yet, but I watched this movie few monthes ago. I know this story is about the phcycology relationship of a mother and son. The movie had been attracted me from the begining to the end, it is very good movie, I understand all of roles in the movie.

message 34: by Nina (new) - added it

Nina Todorova Ruth wrote: "I just read this and I can say it's one of my favorite books of all time. I understand why it would be difficult/tedious/impossible for people to finish, (actually the first 20 or so pages was utte..."
Hi Ruth,I loved your comment! I feel exactly the same way, I think because of the ending, people tend to forget about the rest of the story. Really well put, thank you!

Teresa | 85 comments I'm struggling with this book. So far there's nothing I like about it. The mother is so horrible I'm beginning to think Kevin should have shot her! Also, these letters! Do people really write like that to someone they have spent 30 odd years with? As Annemarie said it is so pretentious. Will persevere for a little longer but not sure that I will finish.

message 36: by E.V. (new)

E.V. Legters | 1 comments I found this book mesmerizing. My agent recommended it long before the movie came out, which I haven't seen. It is a difficult read because of the subject matter, and a terrifying read, since children like this do live among us.

Rebecca Shipton | 23 comments I am 10% in with this book and struggling. Im a bit fed up with the narrators self obsessed drivel. Does it improve?

message 38: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth (cramptonhodnet) I have to admit I'm struggling with it too. I've read 28 pages so far, and I've been trying to find any old excuse not to read today, and that's really unusual for me!

I don't hate it, but it is a very very slow read.

I'll give it to 50 pages and if it doesn't grab my attention by then it will be off to the charity shop!

It was my idea to nominate this book for the group read, and I'm really really sorry I did that!!!! Apologies to everyone who is struggling.

It's rare that I ditch a book, but I'm pretty close to doing so with this one.

Hayley | 2 comments This is one of my all time favourites! I won't be reading it again for this read as I found it to be that good that I read it twice, but it is one I will probably read again in the future.

Those of you who say you have been struggling with the beginning - STICK WITH IT! I found it extremely hard going at first but once you have finished it you'll be glad you did - can't really say much more without including hints at a spoiler but will look forward to seeing others' contributions and to contributing as people have read it.

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) I'm finding the polarity here intriguing! My reservation still hasn't arrived at the library, so I'm getting a bit impatient. Don't want to actually buy it on Kindle if it's as dire as it sounds. Most of you seem to dislike this novel with a vengeance.

Elizabeth - you do exactly what I do - the "50 pages test"!(It's even in my profile.)I laughed when I read your apology, as I guess most of us will nominate a book we haven't read yet, rather than a familiar one. And the voting system surely means that several other readers did want to give it a try. It's not all on you :)

I'll probably embarrass myself one day by nominating something I end up hating. It's already happened with a novel I "saved up" to read on holiday, only to be sadly disillusioned......

message 41: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth (cramptonhodnet) Just trying to keep the thread lighthearted, Jean!

I will often give a book more than 50 pages to get going, if I think it's a slow burner (I'm looking at The Marriage Plot when I say that)It was a book I nearly gave up but which did improve immensely.

Generally I wouldn't nominate a book I had already read, but made an exception recently with The Color Purple. It's interesting to try out a new book, unseen as it were don't you think? Certainly not embarrassed to admit I don't like it!

Tonya | 12 comments I picked this up from the library, it's been on my to read list for awhile. Do we just comment as we read? Noting spoilers of course! Thanks!

Bionic Jean (bionicjean) Yes, Elizabeth, I am looking forward (albeit with some trepidation) to trying this book mainly as I hadn't heard of it, or of Lionel Shriver. And I do sometimes stick with a book I dislike to the bitter end - particularly if it has been highly praised. My husband will ask me why I'm still reading something when he hears me muttering and cursing. I did this recently with "Wuthering Heights", which I've read (and hated) every decade or so. This time though I vowed never again!

Susan (suze0501) | 190 comments Rebecca wrote: "I am 10% in with this book and struggling. Im a bit fed up with the narrators self obsessed drivel. Does it improve?"

NO! She's a perfectly ghastly woman.

message 45: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth (cramptonhodnet) Tonya wrote: "I picked this up from the library, it's been on my to read list for awhile. Do we just comment as we read? Noting spoilers of course! Thanks!"

Sorry Tonya, yes just add comments as and when you want to, but don't forget to hide spoilers.

message 46: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Cox (lisacccox) Jean wrote: "Yes, Elizabeth, I am looking forward (albeit with some trepidation) to trying this book... And I do sometimes stick with a book I dislike to the bitter end..."

I don't know what to recommend to other folks. I'm personally glad I finished it, and I did find some redeeming qualities in the book after a lot of thought, but I wouldn't have gotten past chapter 4 if I hadn't skipped to the end and read that last chapter. Since this is the first book I've read with an online group, I really wanted to finish it, but even with that motivation I almost quit because I hated the beginning so much.

Teresa | 85 comments I've persevered and went through a stage where I was enjoying it but unfortunately have hit another stage of Eva's self-obsessed nonsense and am struggling again. About half-way through now and just have a feeling that there is going to be some big revelation so will continue to read on in the hope it will be worth it.

message 48: by Jo (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jo Weston (joster) | 1697 comments Mod
I agree Eva is ghastly, and her husband is a dweeb, the book is not a "fun" read. However, I did find myself strangely quite sucked in when I read it last year, and I read the last section in something of a haze.... won't say any more just yet!

Susan (suze0501) | 190 comments I just never got a handle on what point Shriver was trying to make - though her terrifically self-conscious writing (never use a small word if you can find a big one) persuaded me that she was trying to make some deep and soulful commentary on something.

I shall say no more until the book's been read by all, but I'm interested to get other 'takes' on it.

Rebecca Shipton | 23 comments Am about 45% in now. Its like a car crash, you don't want to read it because the characters are so vile, but you cant help yourself from wanting to know what happens next.

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