We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
The gripping international bestseller about motherhood gone awry.
Eva never really wanted to be a mother - and certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevins horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklin. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.
'We Need to Talk About Kevin' Author Wonders Why Anyone Has Kids
Books seldom feel as contemporary as this one. Set against the farce of the counting of the votes in the US presidential elections, We Need To Talk About Kevin tells the story of a high-school massacre, similar to that at Columbine. And it asks the question all America has asked itself: why? However, it is not the novel's ostensible subject matter that has made it an underground success in the US. Told through letters from the killer's mother, Eva, to her absent husband, Franklin, the book explores the trials of maternity and the traumatic impact it can have on a marriage. As such it has been hailed as taboo-breaking, but it is difficult to see why. Anyone who has ever expected a baby, or even just opened a pregnancy book, will be familiar with the anxieties associated with preparing for parenthood.
A starred or boxed review indicates a book of outstanding quality. A review with a blue-tinted title indicates a book of unusual commercial interest that hasn't received a starred or boxed review. A number of fictional attempts have been made to portray what might lead a teenager to kill a number of schoolmates or teachers, Columbine style, but Shriver's is the most triumphantly accomplished by far. A gifted journalist as well as the author of seven novels, she brings to her story a keen understanding of the intricacies of marital and parental relationships as well as a narrative pace that is both compelling and thoughtful. Eva Khatchadourian is a smart, skeptical New Yorker whose impulsive marriage to Franklin, a much more conventional person, bears fruit, to her surprise and confessed disquiet, in baby Kevin. From the start Eva is ambivalent about him, never sure if she really wanted a child, and he is balefully hostile toward her; only good-old-boy Franklin, hoping for the best, manages to overlook his son's faults as he grows older, a largely silent, cynical, often malevolent child. The later birth of a sister who is his opposite in every way, deeply affectionate and fragile, does nothing to help, and Eva always suspects his role in an accident that befalls little Celia.
To ask other readers questions about We Need to Talk About Kevin, please sign .. cover of the edition I read suggests that it's impossible to put this book down.
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The Major Themes of We Need To Talk About Kevin : An Analysis
An interview with Lionel Shriver, whose novel has been turned into a film that goes into wide release this week. We Need to Talk About Kevin expands to more theaters this week. The movie, based on a novel by Lionel Shriver, follows Eva Tilda Swinton , the mother of Kevin Ezra Miller , who committed a massacre at his high school, as she tries to decide if she was responsible for turning him into a monster--or if he was one all along. The novel is an unflinching look at a set of emotions that are often considered unacceptable for polite conversation, including the failure of mothers to bond with and to love or trust their children. We spoke to Shriver about what it's like for a novelist to hand her work over for adaptation, why you can leave your country of origin but not transcend it, and why anyone has children in an era of widely available birth control.