Wednesday, 6 June 2012

We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver


I got the book so I could read it before the movie comes out. That never happened. After finishing the book I'm not quite sure if I want to go through the story again.

We Need to Talk about Kevin is a collection of letters, written by Kevin's mum Eva. The letters are addressed to Eva's husband Franklin, who never replies. Eva refers to an event (caused by Kevin) as Thursday. We only find out later what had happened (though if you have seen the movie trailer you already know). Was Eva such a horrible mother to have caused this? Was Kevin born evil? Although I don't think it's a female type book, it does deal with a very female question: Why are we having children? What if we are crappy parents? How do we love our child?

Eva's letters contain the relationship between her and Franklin,the 'joys' of parenthood, she describes how a child can get between partners, how a child can ruin your life by it's mere existence (at least in Eva's case).

Something about Eva made me pick her side in the beginning ... her husband was rather boring, and maybe even a little dumb. Eva herself has travelled through the world, and at least appears a very smart woman who knows what she wants (until love happens to her). I felt for her, and the whole giving up my career bit. This attitude changes over the course of the book ... I got angry with her, annoyed with her accusations, sometimes I even felt drawn to be on Kevin's side. 

The book doesn't answer why would should have kids, it doesn't answer the nature/nurture debate. There is not even a silver-lining in Eva's story (there is, but it is so tiny my head blends it away). Although there is nothing hopeful about We Need to Talk About Kevin it is a good read, that will stay with you for a while.

Also, this is one of the few books I really enjoyed reading the authors note at the end!

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