We Need to Talk About Kevin We Need to Talk About Kevin discussion

Sick or evil? Nature or nurture?

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message 1: by K (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:11AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

K I thought this book was an interesting stimulus for these deep questions. Was Kevin crazy, or was he wicked? How much of his personality, if any, could be attributed to the imperfect attachment between him and his mother? Or is it the other way around? I'd love to hear what people think.

message 2: by Barbara (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:40AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Barbara While reading this book, I tried to lay blame for situations but I just couldn't do it.

Could it be Eva who never really wanted to be a mom? Give up her freedom and career. Listening to her when she was pregnant with Kevin was difficult.

Kevin. Did he know his mom never really wanted him....deep down? Was he just a bad seed? Some people are evil. period.

Frankin. He never supported Eva in any actions taken agaisnt Kevin to help correct some behavior issues. Was he too much of a friend and not a dad?

I can't seem to pin point it.

I find it interesting to look at the view of the family of the shooter. Even in news coverage for "real" school shootings you don't really get to see the other side of the event which is the family of the person that committed the crime.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

I read this book over a year ago and I still think about it...it was that good. It definitely serves as a disturbing dialogue on the nature/nuture argument - and like everything other example seems to indicate that the answer is that both nature and nurture make humans the way they are. It think what makes the novel so effective is that it's easy to empathize with Eva - her anger, fear, pain, and impatience. It makes one question "What if I didn't bond with my child? What if I disliked it and was scared of it?". Scary.

Minnie I found this book had much in common with Jonathan Kellerman's Savage Spawn in which he looks unflinchingly at the nature of evil in children. Above all he comes to the conclusion that it's no use trying to understand these children because evil is different and that's how i felt about Kevin. he was born evil and the only person he had any "respect" for was his mother because she recognised him. The bond with him was impossible because of who he was. And Eva was a good mother to her daughter, so i don't think she is to blame for his actions. The only irony is that even she could not conceive of his final act of unbearable cruelty. when i read that, i flung away the book in sheer horror. yet i believed that he was capable of doing what he did.

heidi thompson I started this book the day of the NIU campus shootings. Bad timing. Needless to say, I've thought of nothing else.
I love that there are no questions answered at the end. I keep going back and forth about whether Eva's behavior caused Kevin's or vice versa (though I tend to land on the "bad seed" side). Oddly the strongest emotion I feel is toward Franklin, who I wish had just once understood that Eva was telling the truth, that no matter where it came from there was something awful going on.
It made me so so sad.

Rachel This is a devastating story but what impressed me most about it was its startlingly tender resolution- the question of the nature vs. nurture source of Kevin's evil is put aside as unanswerable, as is best summed up by Kevin himself in a very simple, "who knows, she could be a creep, but then I could be a creep too." Within this family the strongest understanding of character- a stark, unsentimental understanding- was between Eva and Kevin. And in the end what's most remarkable is the very believability of Eva and her son coming to love one another.

Marina I read this book over a year ago and find that Lionel Shriver's stories are so refreshingly honest and really speak to the honest side of human emotions. I think that the problem in this situation was Franklin. It was Franklin who wanted children, when Eva did not. It was Franklin who never supported his wife and disempowered her in front of Kevin. But I also think that Kevin was intrinsically difficult and manipulative. I was particularly stuck on the map wallpaper incident. This was the point in the book when I was convinced that Eva was being victimized by Kevin.

I went to a reading by Lionel Shriver very recently where she mostly discussed her most recent book. However she did make several comments about Kevin. One of the things she said (this is not a quote) was that Kevin didn't like people who "had his number" I think that included Evan who had Kevin's number from the very beginning.

Anne Marina, I agree that a big part of the problem was Franklin. Could a parent be more blind? I also enjoy Shriver's writing and am currently reading The Post-Birthday World. Not too far into it but love the concept of presenting two alterative outcomes to the character's decision in chapter one.

Chuckell I work with a guy named Kevin. He couldn't be nicer. Don't let this book prejudice you against Kevins--they're not all congenital amoral monsters.

Does anyone else agree that this book has, quite simply, the worst title ever? The title is so squishy-feely that I feel somewhat certain that I am literally the only man that has ever read it.

Minnie Hi Chuckell
This title is perfect and your response proves it so! What man/father /husband ever responds to this desperate plea, "we need to talk about our child"? I know this illustrates a gender bias but I bought the book because of its title, the desperation rang true to my motherly ears!
This novel is also about the inability to communicate on the most pressing issue, that of a child with a problem. One parent generally has insight and the other is unwilling or unable to see the problem. Kevin very successfully succeeded in dividing his parents and in so doing he ruled.

Chuckell Hmm, interesting. I don't agree, of course--since talking about Kevin wasn't going to do one bit of good for anyone. We Need to Get Kevin Some Convulsive Electroshock Therapy might have been a bit more realistic. Or We Need to Talk to the State High-Security Mental Institution About Kevin, perhaps. And I'd have to say that I didn't see the book as being about a parent grappling with a troubled child as much as it is about a person dealing with a truly malign presence in her life. Really, they could have talked about Kevin until the cows came home, but then what? What could they have accomplished? Had him institutionalized? Sent to military school to put his asocial rage to good use? Well, perhaps--at the risk of putting him in a position to learn how to use a gun. I don't even feel like the title sounds all that desperate--desperation I can identify with. We need to talk . . . just sounds dreary!

Minnie let's face it you're right about the nature of Kevin. And talking was in fact useless but the one parent was in denial whilst the other knew he was as you so aptly put it, malignant. If they had done the dreary (and once again you're right, it sounds dreary and it is!) business of talking to each other, they could have at least united against him. Kevin played his parents off against each other because they did not talk to each other. The fights and slanging matches don't count. I found the title apt because generally by the time a parent reaches the "We need to talk about..." stage the mess they're in is generally beyond talk and usually it's one parent's concern that's being expressed against denial by the other parent.

message 13: by Bess (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bess The "bad seed" in this book was the husband, not Kevin. Imagine growing up with a fake, constantly-cheerful tool of a father who drags you into participating in activity after empty activity all your life? I'd want to open fire on somebody, too. How can anyone have a meaningful discussion about anything when half of the involved parental unit is completely oblivious not just to his son but to his wife and everything about his entire family?

Chuckell It's every boy's birthright to have a father who pisses him off. As for dragging Kevin to participate in "empty activities," well, I think it's clear that Kevin is the empty one. Or maybe Franklin should have gotten more in tune with his son, and taken him on field trips to the local slaughterhouse?

And Minnie--as for presenting a united front against Kevin, I'd have to ask, to what end? Oh, sure, I can see in the real world that a couple coming together in conflict with a marginally troubled child could really help. And maybe they could have ganged up on Kevin enough to at least take his crossbow away. But that's not the reality of this book. It's more like Mrs. Dahmer saying, "Honey, we need to talk about Jeff, Jr. . . ."

message 15: by Bess (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bess I don't know, "Chuckell" -- I think that if there's one thing Kevin isn't, it's "empty." "Filled" to the brim with bad things, maybe, but definitely not empty.

I think it's more that here's this child born with whatever degree of serious mental instability/psychosis -- into a world of complete upper-crust white suburban materialism and spiritual emptiness. With a dumb, happy-go-lucky dad, a little sister who is loved more because she isn't crazy, and a mom who -- though he knows she's onto him -- is too much of a wuss all along to really call him out on anything. But since she's the LEAST empty, he spares her.

Chuckell Fine, Beth. So he's chock full of evil, filled to overflowing, not merely a soulless little creep. Even so, I can't imagine what social milieu you envision such a child might have been born into where he would have been a model citizen. Spiritual emptiness? Do you honestly believe spiritualism is a component of many kids' lives anywhere in the world?

A sister who is loved more because she isn't crazy? Honesty is one of the great things about Lionel Shriver's writing, and right there's an excellent example of the truth--no modern parent would ever have the guts to actually say "Frankly, I don't really love my cute, sweet, innocent little girl and my sociopathic monster of a son equally!" but god knows he or she would damn well think it.

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

Bess She isn't actually loved more, though -- Kevin just thinks she is. Sure, she's adored more, put on a pedestal more, fussed over more, etc., but the whole point is that in the end, parents do love their children equally -- or at least, mothers do. And Kevin spares his mother because she's the only one who remotely knows him AND she still loves him.

message 18: by Chuckell (last edited Mar 25, 2008 08:42AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Chuckell All mothers love each of their children equally? I strongly doubt that--but I do believe I could never get a mother to admit it if I'm right. But I didn't feel for a second that Kevin spared his mom because she loved him but because he respected her for seeing through him, and respected her for not loving his utterly unlovable ass. No kind of love in either direction was factored into his murderous calculations. If anything, he left her alive to punish her for not loving him--though I think it was more so that she could be an audience than an injured party.

message 19: by Bess (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bess Yes, I can see the respect thing, now that you mention it.

You could never "get" a mother to "admit it"? We're not talking about a favorite tv show or a pet hamster here. It's probably slightly more difficult to pick and choose between the human lives that one carries around in her womb for 9 months and then spends hours in agony bringing into the world, only to come away with a body that's aged a decade in the process. I think that might make it somewhat trying down the line -- when one of them becomes a total psychopath and the other a vacant sweetheart -- to answer which one she "likes better." I would imagine a mother's feelings are way too complex to be able to circle y/n at that -- or any -- point.

Chuckell Oh, no doubt, it would be a tough decision to have make, or at the very least, it would be a tough decision to have to own up to. Or that's what I understand from reading Sophie's Choice. But I don't believe it's unrealistic that the average mom might have a favorite--a mother may have carried each child to term, but she's also had to deal with each one since day one. One mom might find she cherishes the easygoing kid more, while another might find the challenges of dealing with a difficult kid deepens the connection. Judith Rich Harris and I are in accord on this discussion!

message 21: by Bess (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bess Sure, in literature. I guess that's what we're talking about here, anyway, right? A book about a difficult child written by a childless woman, no less... and then embraced intellectually by you, a childless man. Nobody is exactly providing relevant insight from "real life experience" here.

Minnie Chuckell,
Perhaps if Mr and Mrs Dahmer had talked about their son, things may have been different, but they didn't. Instead they circled about him confused by his "Otherness" because the grim truth of parenting is that you cannot ever conceive the horror of what your children are capable of without looking into yourself also. And that is a journey for only the truly brave.

If one looks over the range of this discussion it is amazing to see the different paths it has taken, from united parents or not to loving children equally or not. Lionel Shriver should be commended for creating a book that has provoked such an interesting and lively debate.

PS don't tell my children, but one of them is the child of my heart :)

Chuckell And if only Herr and Frau Hitler had sat down and really communicated with little Dolphie . . . I don't know, Minnie. I certainly agree that it could be very hard for parents to conceive of the horrors their own offspring could be capable of, but I also believe that it could be hard for parents to conceive of the fact that, when it comes to some children at least, they could in fact be perfectly powerless.

I have no idea whether the Dahmers conducted family meetings at which they discussed their parental dissatisfaction with all the headless housecat corpses lying around in the woods out back--all I'm saying is, if they did, maybe it would have helped--and maybe it wouldn't have. In a case like Kevin's, I think it's clear that there was no helping.

Ha ha! Your secret's safe with us, Min! I do recommend The Nurture Assumption if you want to feel a little better about picking favorites. Judith Rich Harris will tell you it's utterly natural.

Shatterlings i lost my sympathy for eva when she let kevin hurt celia, she seems to just say "it wasnt me" shrugs her shoulders and let everything carry on as before. if she loved celia so much why does she do nothing to save her? and why does she still love franklin so much, when he shows so little respect for her and her opinions?

message 25: by Old-Barbarossa (new)

Old-Barbarossa On a slight aside folks, have all the actual school shootings happened in affluent areas?
I live across the pond so I'm not too up to speed.
Any ever happen in inner city areas?

message 26: by Rina (new) - rated it 3 stars

Rina i havent finished the book yet, but i wanted to ask: does anyone wonder if maybe, eva, the narrator, is not entirely trustworthy in the way she tells the story? Whether Kevin and Franklin werent quite as obviously awful as she tells it because its filtered through her bias seen AFTER the Thursday?

message 27: by Julia (new) - rated it 1 star

Julia Barbarossa,

You asked this question nearly a year ago, but the emphatic answer to your question is NO!!!

Very few of them have happened in affluent areas. Most of them have been in rural areas, where hunting rifles and other weapons are common. Columbine is unusual in that it's a suburb of Denver, so it got a lot more media attention than previous shootings in Arkansas, Oregon and western Kentucky and others.

Some have happened in urban areas. A 6 year old brought a gun to school and shot a classmate. Because his/ her mother was in jail and s/he missed her. But mostly weapon detectors have become a fact of life in urban high schools, so no, there haven't been (as) many shootings there.

message 28: by Annalisa (last edited Jun 29, 2009 10:48AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Annalisa I'm surprised how many people on here want to scapegoat Franklin. So he is overwhelmed with a family that isn't the perfect one he envisioned and the only way he knows how to counter that is by playing the extra perfect father. That doesn't make him the source of the problem.
I agree with Rina that Eva is not a trustworthy narrator and one must look past her justification to find the real story. There is no excuse for some of her behavior and had she been a better mother, results may have been different. That being said, Kevin is just evil. I don't know how I could have raised a child like that, but I think I could have at least given him an ounce of love.
My mother and brother never bonded and there was always tension between them growing up. My brother has always been an angry person but does that come from this lack of maternal nurturing or was he just born difficult? I think he is the way he is and his relationship with my mother expounded an already bad situation. That's how I think it is with Kevin and Eva.

message 29: by Rika (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rika I think the first thing that this book exposed me to was the fact that people could be born evil. I didn't think it was really possible,( well I just didn't think about it at all) I thought people were always a product of their environment. But I guess in some ways he was.
1. His perfect middle class suburban life, the whole explanation the book gives about that lifestyle and it breeds High school shooter types because they have everything. Kevin had everything and his life was boring, so uniform that his act gave him a sense of uniqueness.
2.At first I didn't like Eva and thought she was bad mother and could have tried harder but pretty soon that notion vanished.
3. Franklin I blame the most. He was so oblivious and although he wanted that perfect family and life he was just plain dumb. If Franklin had realised what Kevin was like sooner and listened to Eva I think the situation would have been much different. But Franklin's gullibility just gave Kevin the do-whatever-the-hell-liked way.

message 30: by Hello (new)

Hello I think Kevin was born innately difficult. Eva's obvious hatred for him, combined with Franklins obvious enabling of him made him a lost child with no rules or sense of boundaries which he covered up with sociopathic tendencies. His brief moments of love and caring which occur when he is sick and worn down are real moments. If he was truly born evil he would not be able to have those connections. He makes an effort to not care about people and things; people who truly lack empathy and a conscience don't have to make an effort to do that, it comes naturally. I'm on the nature side, although I do believe purely evil children exist, I don't think Kevin is one of them.

Cheryl It's been several months since I read this book - it enthralled me and chilled me at the same time. Eva's voice was such that I appreciated her intelligent, brutal honesty; it took my breath away at times. At first, her reactions to her pregnancy and birth...well, it was like looking at the sun - I would glance at it quickly and then look away for fear of burning my retinas. But I'd look again three seconds later...it was unavoidable. I had to read on and I was sorry when the book ended.

I'm still trying to figure out if Franklin was purposefully blind or if he was just that enamored with the idea of having a SON that he just couldn't see Kevin's innate evilness.

Yes, I believed Kevin was evil. I never once remember him desperately trying to "be good" instead of hateful, hurtful, or manipulative. There was no remorse for anything he did that I saw. He had justified the murders in his mind and was proud of what he had done. No child who has *any* compunction to be good acts this way.

The fact that Eva waited as long as she did to enact some "justice" towards Kevin (throwing him across the room during a diaper change) surprised me. I don't know that I could've held out that long.

The only time Kevin acted somewhat human was when he was sick, but he was in a weakened state then. I feel that even sickness trumps evil and the affected person is unable to control the basic physiological and/or mental responses of the body to pain and other maladies.

I've never read a book like this - for all their "history", to read that Eva made a place for Kevin in her apartment for him to return to after his prison release boggled my mind. I would not have done such a thing - I think. Just how deeply CAN one love a child like Kevin? Apparently Eva loved him enough to keep him in her life.

Amazing stuff. I will be reading it again.

Clare Johnston This is one of my favourite books and, after quite a bit of reflection, I concluded that Kevin probably had difficulties since birth that hadn't been identified or addressed. This combined with the fact his mother was probably depressed after his birth and the two never properly attached, compounded the problem with terrible consequences.

Cheryl Has anyone else seen that the movie will be coming out in January?? You can watch trailers at imdb.com

message 34: by Cara (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cara Bertoia I don't know if I can say I loved this book, but it had me riveted. I read a Jodi Picoult Book about the same thing and never believed a word of it. I must admit I love Lionel Shriver. I think she sees the world as it is. I do believe that there are people that are just born like this and no amount of nurturing will ever help them.

message 35: by epat (new) - rated it 5 stars

epat I also liked this book a lot. It annoyed me at first that the narrator, Eva, was getting most of the blame, but I think her husband also was to blame and the fact that Eva never got any help for her obvious postpartum depression and wrong thinking about Kevin's rejection of her. I did like it, however, that Eva was honest. It had me so riveted, I couldn't stop thinking about it for weeks. I read it after I'd read Laura Lippman's "I'd Know You Anywhere," and both tapped into the humanity behind the monster.

message 36: by Chimene (new)

Chimene I am a parent and can tell you there was so much wrong with the parenting. Eva was ambivalent about being a mother and hard a very hard adjusting to motherhood. It is difficult with a difficult child but she never once talked about how much she loved the child and how her love got her through the difficultness. Franklin was completely unsupportive and never once agreed with her parenting. Any parent knows you need to have a united front when it comes to your child.

Kevin seem to do all he can to get attention. He onlyu seemed satisfied when his mother breaks his arm. This is the first time you see a reaction from him or his mother. This is a huge turning point.

I think that Kevin is deeply disturbed but why did the parents never get him help??? They thought it was acceptable to wear diapers until 5? They never punished or disciplined.

I found this story sad but completely frustrating.

Rebecca The jury is out for me. I used to think of the nurture v nature argument as a continum. Maybe some are more limited with their natural personality (perhaps someone born with severe disabilities) and some personailities can be flexible. But are they flexible because their personality had the capability of flexibility?

Where does it happen? At conception (completely natural), within the womb (some natural influence here), or because of Eva's poor parenting skills?

The argument almost reminds me of the two brothers in "East of Eden". However, Steinbeck boiled it down to concept that one chooses to be evil.

message 38: by epat (new) - rated it 5 stars

epat Chimene wrote: "I am a parent and can tell you there was so much wrong with the parenting. Eva was ambivalent about being a mother and hard a very hard adjusting to motherhood. It is difficult with a difficult c..."

It is very sad...but so true in a lot of families. Disturbing to know that in the modern age people can't recognize the signs that mean they need help. However, even with help and love and nurturing, there will be Kevins in the world.

Amanda The conclusion I got from the story, and what I felt all along, is that Kevin was just born that way and it was inevitable he was gonna end up how he did and it was nothing to do with his mother. Okay so she didn't want kids, but she tried her very best with him. Plus plenty of kids have worse things happen to them growing up and they DON'T murder a bunch of people! It was a fantastic read though. So well thought out and the twists and turns kept coming.


Davytron I hate the simplicity of the nature vs nurture arguments that people try to make sound deeper than they are. It's painfully obvious that it's both in most cases - but also I'm not entirely convinced that Kevin is evil to begin with. First we'd have to create an operational definition of evil and I'm not comfortable doing that because of how relative the concept actually is when you get down to debating it.

message 41: by Erin (new) - rated it 5 stars

Erin WV Rina says: i havent finished the book yet, but i wanted to ask: does anyone wonder if maybe, eva, the narrator, is not entirely trustworthy in the way she tells the story? Whether Kevin and Franklin werent quite as obviously awful as she tells it because its filtered through her bias seen AFTER the Thursday?

Yes! As much as I think Kevin is a freak of nature, Shriver's choice to tell the entire story through Eva's letters/journals/whatever it is she's writing is significant. Hindsight is definitely 20/20 for Eva, although she surely always knew he wasn't totally normal.

I think our instinct to blame Eva's problems with motherhood--and her instinct to blame herself--is an equally important part of the story. Our society puts so much pressure on women to be perfect mothers. It can be emotionally dangerous for everyone involved.

Christoff Youngman I'm inclined to believe that Kevin's behaviour was almost entirely down to nurture and that Eva is a textbook unreliable narrator. Eva was a terrible mother - she broke Kevin's arm, told him he was a 'little shit', ignored his crying as a baby and left him alone for hours - and Kevin learned that the only way he could get attention from her was by upsetting her. This was why he took so long to potty-train, why he destroyed her map-room, and ultimately why he killed everyone she cared about: he wanted Eva to love him, but Eva had screwed up his understanding of what love is.

message 43: by epat (new) - rated it 5 stars

epat Christoff wrote: "I'm inclined to believe that Kevin's behaviour was almost entirely down to nurture and that Eva is a textbook unreliable narrator. Eva was a terrible mother - she broke Kevin's arm, told him he was..."

Perhaps. Yes, she was a horrible mother, but there WAS something wrong with kevin from the start. In the end, I am sure she blames herself for her inability to bond with Kevin, but I am not sure that was necessarily her fault. Where I fault Eva--and her husband--is for not dealing with it sooner.

Hannah I have to disagree with you Christoff. If it really was entirely down to Eva's bad mothering, every neglected child would be capable of mass murder. There are many children who go through far worse than a broken arm in childhood (and without the parental remorse Eva shows) and manage to get to adulthood without killing their family and schoolmates.

I can see your point that Kevin's atrocity could be a reaction to his environment, but others would react differently to the same environment, so there has to be something intrinsically in him that was always capable of what he did.

In my view, everyone is responsible for their own actions unless there is overwhelming evidence to the contrary. If Eva really was, truly, responsible for what Kevin did, she would have done it herself or at the very least been capable of it. And she's not, hence her anguish.

message 45: by Erin (new) - rated it 5 stars

Erin WV I agree that Eva is an unreliable narrator--and she blames herself which is why our instinct is to blame her as well. But H is right, Kevin has agency in this situation and his choices are his.

I also feel compelled to add that if Eva is in any way responsible for Kevin, then her husband carries an equal share of that responsibility. Or more so, for being so damn stupid.

message 46: by Hannah (last edited Apr 04, 2012 07:05AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

"Or more so, for being so damn stupid."
Ha! Too true.

Christoff Youngman I don't understand why Eva would need to be capable of killing people to be responsible for Kevin's rampage, my argument is not that she neglected him (although the book very strongly implies that she does) but that she broke him. Eva physically and emotionally abuses Kevin, and ultimately says herself that “I think he wants me to be mean to him... he slackened in disappointment that here I was finally pitching a few halfheartedly injurious remarks and he felt nothing.” (p.68)
He was horrible to her because she'd taught him - as you can see through the whole book - that that was the only way to get her attention. Kevin comes out and says near the end that the murders were a show and Eva was the audience, implying the whole thing was just to get her attention. It worked - Eva gives him all the attention and only comes to realise she loves him afterwards.

Franklin may have blinded himself to what Kevin was really like, but he wasn't the one who broke Kevin's arm, told Kevin that his existence made him want to kill himself, was always suspicious of everything Kevin said and did and so on, so I don't feel he can be held as having had the impact on Kevin that Eva did.

Hannah If Kevin wanted to get her attention through murder - that's one thing. He would have only needed to kill her husband and daughter to do that though, why kill all the people at the school? And why target those people specifically? Throughout the book Shriver alludes to the fact that Kevin doesn't like people who think they know him. Many of the people he killed were people who reckoned they knew him (the teacher, his dad etc). So there's an argument there that if Eva had been a lovely mother who thought the best of him, she would have been on his hit list too.

Eva continually says she doesn't feel like she knows Kevin, and I think that's what he wanted to be - an enigma. So in a way he did it to get her attention, but that doesn't make the mass murder her responsibility. He did it to get the world's attention too - that doesn't make it the world's responsibility.

I think he admires Eva for being able to see him without sentimentality, because no one else in the novel is able to do that.

What I mean when I say Eva would have to be capable of murder to be responsible for it is simply that Kevin didn't get the idea from her behaviour. It is illogical to hold someone responsible for something they did not do themselves, unless they deliberately set in motion a series of actions they knew would result in a particular outcome. And Eva did not. She is not a master manipulator, Kevin is.

Kevin made the decision to carry out the murders without a prompt, he knew how it would end and whatever his reasons were he still did it himself. She had no idea he would do it, or even that he was capable until it had happened.

Kathleen I think Eva did know him and was really the only one who did. It was a very intriguing book with no likeable characters. However, Eva was really the only one who seemd to know what he was capable of--perhaps not wanting to admit it. The ending disturbs me a bit in that she is willing tot ake him home whe throughout the book she again was the only one able to think of what he was capable of.

Ariel The way everyone blamed Eva was such a cop out!(although I guess I understand the grieving people needed to place blame somewhere) Being a less than perfect mother or being unsure of wanting a child before getting pregnant isn't the same as putting those arrows in his hand and sending him to school to kill people. I agree that Eva was the only one who seemed to know exactly who Kevin was and I think that alone made her a better mother than most.

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