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.
Goings on About Town
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.
Kevin is a mass-murderer: a boy who, shortly before his 16th birthday, kills seven classmates, a teacher and a school cafeteria worker. The "we" are, ostensibly, his mother Eva - the narrator of this acutely shocking and profoundly intelligent epistolary novel by an American woman writer - and his father Franklin, the estranged husband to whom her letters are addressed. In these letters, Eva explores the background to, and ramifications of, her son's killing spree. She does so in a way almost entirely devoid of self-pity, dispassionately analytical and inexorably honest. Here she is dissecting one bereaved mother's decision to sue her for negligence: "I fear that Mary's
Following the rash of school shootings in the mid- to late '90s, pundits and politicians scrambled opportunistically to explain the events. Leftists argued that the proliferation of guns afforded damaged young minds easy access to trenchcoat-filling arsenals, while on the right, cultural critics fingered explicit violence in television, video games, movies, and music, which they said erased any meaningful distinction between pretend killing and the real thing. Looking back on her child's history, from her trepidation over his conception to the afternoon he penned his victims seven students, one teacher, and a cafeteria worker in a gymnasium, Eva Khatchadourian finds no answers, only blame, much of it directed at her. Beautifully conceived as a series of confessional letters from Eva to her husband Franklin, the book swiftly dispatches all the facile "causes" that are usually linked to school shootings. The mirthless Kevin, who shrewdly anticipated a lighter sentence by staging the attack two days before his 16th birthday, didn't use a gun, nor did he have access to or even interest in violent media of any kind.
Thank you! Two years earlier, when he was not quite 16, Kevin Khatchadourian went on a murderous rampage and now lives in a juvenile facility, where his mother Eva visits him regularly if joylessly.
read a perfect ten online
I've been holding off on watching a screener copy ever since I decided to review the book for Badass Digest. It turns out that Siberia doesn't have much in the way of nightlife and those Wakefield fuckers sure as hell don't help. I have no idea what has made it into the film, so if I belabor a point that never makes it into the movie, I apologize in advance. Also, you guys all know this is a book about a kid who commits a mass murder at his school, right? I only ask because my boyfriend told me this weekend that the reason he'd never read the book was that he assumed it was a heartwarming tale about a mother's love for her autistic son.