We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Eva never really wanted to be a mother - certainly not of the boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker and a teacher who tried to befriend him.
Now, two years after Kevin's horrific rampage, it is time for her to try to come to terms with her son's actions - and her fear that she may be in part responsible.
Review by Brittany:
Whoa. I first decided to read this book after it was recommended to me, with the warning that the book was brutal. That's not an exaggeration.
The book is written in letter format, all from Eva to her husband Franklin. She begins by describing her feelings about having a baby and goes through Kevin's childhood up through adolescence, interspersing bits of the present in with her recollections of Kevin's past.
This book is hard to read. The subject matter is intense for sure, but I wasn't prepared for some of the hard confessions that Eva makes regarding Kevin and her feelings about him. From the beginning, she doesn't feel connected to him like she thinks she should. Throughout the book, as she revisits incidents that she now sees as precursors to Kevin attacking his classmates, her negative feelings about him were difficult to read. There's also an element of this book that plays on the natural fears and worries that all women have about becoming mothers, which added to the intensity of the subject matter.
The book also outlines the breakdown of Eva's marriage, which was almost as difficult to read about as her relationship with Kevin. I really just felt so sad for all of them. Eva loved Franklin so much, but the difference in each of their relationship with Kevin was enough to pull them apart slowly. The author did a fantastic job with detailing the decline of the relationship, so much so that I could almost feel Eva's frustration and sadness.
The end of the book finally breaks down the day of Kevin's school massacre. It was painful to read and so difficult to imagine how a human could do that to someone else. Because the book is from Eva's point of view, the reader gets skewed insight into Kevin's mind, so there is no clear indication of why Kevin did it. The ending also provides a bit of insight into Kevin and Eva's relationship as it stands now, two years after the incident.
Overall, this book is just tough. It is well-written and a fantastic read, but it's a hard one to swallow.