Friday Favorites: We Need to Talk About Kevin

Friday, March 5, 2010


I may be out on a limb with this one, but I'm ok with that. This is a strange book to list as a "favorite" because it's not one I'd pick up to re-read out of love for the characters. In fact the characters are decidedly hard to love.

It's something more than that. There's something about this book and the intimate way it was written that just cuts all the way to my bones. It is brutally honest. It says those things you're not supposed to say. It holds nothing back, makes no excuses and leaves the reader to form their own opinions.

The book is written in the form of letters from a woman to her husband. Here's a brief summary from Booklist...

"In a series of brutally introspective missives to her husband, Franklin, from whom she is separated, Eva tries to come to grips with the fact that their 17-year-old son, Kevin, has killed seven students and two adults... Guiltily she recalls how, as a successful writer, she was terrified of having a child. In crisply crafted sentences that cut to the bone of her feelings about motherhood, career, family, and what it is about American culture that produces child killers, Shriver yanks the reader back and forth between blame and empathy, retribution and forgiveness. Never letting up on the tension, Shriver ensures that, like Eva, the reader grapples with unhealed wounds."

I think it would be incredibly difficult to write a book that you know will cause some horrible responses, but she did an amazing job. It's a book that spurs discussion and isn't that what a great book is suppose to do? I highly recommend it, but that doesn't mean you're going to like it.


Have any of you read it? What did you think?

4 comments:

Sandra said...

i enjoyed your review very much. I was very impressed with this book. I thought she did a wonderful job of talking about a very difficult subject. The emotional impact of reading it has stayed with me. I told everyone what an important book I thought it was. Thank you for reviewing it. Kevin was the first thing I read by Shriver. I've just won two of her other books and I can't wait to read them. My thoughts on the book are here:

http://freshinkbooks.blogspot.com/2009/01/tss-books-read-this-week_25.html

LPC said...

Oh yes, I did read this. It was very painful. I had forgotten until now. I almost preferred having forgotten...But all mothers sometimes feel that they don't like their children. That was the real undercurrent, to me.

Jenners said...

I did love this book ... hard to say I enjoyed it but it just rocked my world. It was one you don't forget ... and the "twist" at the end was shocking to me ... though I probably should have seen it coming.

I also recommend her book "Post-Birthday World" if you've never read it.

Avid Reader said...

Thanks for the recommendation Jenners. I have that sitting on my shelf, but I was worried it would disappoint after reading Kevin. I'll have to pick it up.