Review – We Need to Talk About Kevin

We Need To Talk About Kevin – Lionel Shriver


In this gripping novel of motherhood gone awry, Lionel Shriver approaches the tragedy of a high-school massacre from the point of view of the killer’s mother.  In letters written to the boy’s father, mother Eva probes the upbringing of this more-than-difficult child and reveals herself to have been the reluctant mother of an unsavory son.  As the schisms in her family unfold, we draw closer to an unexpected climax that holds breathtaking surprises and its own hard-won redemption.  In Eva, Shriver has created a narrator who is touching, sad, funny, and reflective.  A Spellbinding read, We Need to Talk About Kevin is as original as it is timely.

 My thoughts –

This book has left me a tad bit stunned and I’m not quite sure what to say about it.  Having just finished reading it a few minutes ago, I can easily say that it is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, but at the same time I am so incredibly disturbed and upset by the content that I don’t know how to properly review it for all of you.  The character of Eva, the mother of Kevin and the narrator of the story, is SO absolutely believable and real that by the end of the book, my heart truly, truly broke for her and all that she had been through.  I’m sitting here, marveling at how a person can live through this kind of unspeakable grief that she has, only to remember that this is a novel, and Eva is only a character, not a real person.  The tragedies in this book felt so freaking real to me that I am just very, very sad right now.  Obviously, I know this is just a novel, but Shriver does do a creepily good job of highlighting all of the real school shootings that have taken place in America in the last few years, making We Need to Talk About Kevin not just disturbing in the far-off sense, but in the sense that although this particular story isn’t real, Eva could be any number of mothers in this country whose children have done the unthinkable.  Of course that’s what makes all scary stories truly scary – they have an element of truth to them that cannot be explained away.  This book is amazing – I strongly recommend it.  But don’t say I didn’t warn you – I’d be shocked by anyone not left feeling pretty upset after having read this book.

10 stars.

check out what these other bloggers had to say:  Lynne at Lynne’s Little Corner of the World, Raych at books i done read, litlove at Tales From the Reading Room, Care at Care’s Online Book Club, Lisamm at Books on the Brain, Bibliolatrist at Bibliolatry, and Dewey at The Hidden Side of a Leaf.

15 thoughts on “Review – We Need to Talk About Kevin”

  1. Brilliant book. Brilliant review. I too have struggled with how to convey to people how I feel about this book. Reading Jodi Picoult’s Nineteen Minutes and comparing it to this shows how shallow Ms. Picoult’s writing has become. Unfortunately.

  2. Read it for my book club last year. It’s not easy to tell folks about it except to say they have to read it. It’s disturbing, fascinating, real, amazing, emotional, and many others. I agree.

  3. It turns out that this was the first book a friend and I picked to read for our fledgling book club. I think disturbing was the only word we had for it. But it was so awesome to be able to talk to someone about the book…I think I would have BURST if I hadn’t been able to discuss this book. 🙂

  4. I’ve seen this title floating around but yours is the first review that I actually took some time out to see what it was about. Now I want to read it and I didn’t think I had any interest before.

  5. Yep, this one was good, but it took awhile to get into it, didn’t you think? It wasn’t until after Kevin was born that I became interested. I remember thinking it could’ve used better editing. Still a good read though.

  6. Thanks for the review. It’s made me definitely want to read this book. It reminds me a little of Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult, which talks about a school shooting from the point of view of various people involved, including the shooter and the shooter’s mother.

  7. The book was amazing. Reading from the mother’s point of view was fascinating. To read about her experiences and what she was seeing in her son, that her very own husband refused to accept was mind boggling. It shows the importance of communication with your child and how very important a nurturing environment is.

  8. Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on blogs
    I stumbleupon everyday. It’s always useful to read content from other authors and use something from their websites.

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