Sunday 11 December 2011

Review - We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

We Need to Talk About Kevin (Five Star Paperback)We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Blurb From Goodreads

A stunning examination of how tragedy affects a town, a marriage, and a family, for readers of Rosellen Brown's Before and After and Jane Hamilton's A Map of the World.

That neither nature nor nurture bears exclusive responsibility for a child's character is self-evident. But such generalizations provide cold comfort when it's your own son who's just opened fire on his fellow students and whose class photograph--with its unseemly grin--is blown up on the national news.

The question of who's to blame for teenage atrocity tortures our narrator, Eva Khatchadourian. Two years ago, her son, Kevin, murdered seven of his fellow high-school students, a cafeteria worker, and a popular algebra teacher. Because he was only fifteen at the time of the killings, he received a lenient sentence and is now in a prison for young offenders in upstate New York.

Telling the story of Kevin's upbringing, Eva addresses herself to her estranged husband through a series of letters. Fearing that her own shortcomings may have shaped what her son has become, she confesses to a deep, long-standing ambivalence about both motherhood in general and Kevin in particular. How much is her fault?

We Need to Talk About Kevin offers no pat explanations for why so many white, well-to-do adolescents--whether in Pearl, Paducah, Springfield, or Littleton--have gone nihilistically off the rails while growing up in suburban comfort. Instead, Lionel Shriver tells a compelling, absorbing, and resonant story while framing these horrifying tableaux of teenage carnage as metaphors for the larger tragedy--the tragedy of a country where everything works, nobody starves, and anything can be bought but a sense of purpose.

My review

This was my second time reading this book, I re read it after watching the movie because I had some questions.

The story, whilst I have given a 5 star rating and I do think it is a great story it takes an age to get started (it is needed to see the whole picture) but it is hard going at first. The book is made up of letters from Eva to her husband Franklin (instead of chapters).

Eva takes us through her life before Kevin, her relationship with Franklin and how she percieves things as they happened. Events don't always go in order as they happened, it reads like her diary rather than letters but it works really really well.

This book will stay with you, it is a fantastic read so when you pick it up and its long and drawn DON'T give up on it. It is a really long start and slow but once it gets going you won't be able to put it down and if you have kids you will be thankful they turned out as perfect as they did (compared to Kevin).

Great book which is still weird as it is so slow paced but honestly it is a great read and I would recommend it to anyone, 5/5 for me.

View all my reviews


  1. Nice! I loved this book and have recommended it to many people. Not too many takers, though, because of the subject matter. I've read a number of her books and have enjoyed them all.

    I'm hoping one day to see the movie.

  2. Great review Lainy. I need to read this one again.


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