Title: We Need To Talk About Kevin
Author: Lionel Shriver
Release Date: July 2006
Publisher: Clipper Audio
Voice Actor: Barbara Rosenblat
Awards: Orange Prize for Fiction (2005)
Finished Reading: December 3, 2014
About: “Two years ago, Eva Khatchadourian’s son, Kevin, murdered seven of his fellow high-school students, a cafeteria worker, and a popular algebra teacher. Because he was only 15 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?”
I picked up this book because it was voted as our book club book for December. I hadn’t heard anything about this book previously, but the synopsis sounded really cool. The theme for this month was psychology, and I’m all about that. (Heck yes, Criminal Minds may or may not be my favorite show. It is.) So, I was all jazzed to read this one.
Holy crap. Slow down, we’ll start at the beginning. I really, really despised our narrator, Eva. She’s insanely elitist and pretentious and pretty much everything I don’t like in people. Everything from the way she told stories, to her word choice, to how she acted in situations just pissed me off. We know within the first few pages that Kevin, her son, has killed nine people in a school shooting. Sooo this book is basically a lead-up to that <em>Thursday</em> and everything that surrounds it.
I was so mad at pretty much all of the characters. I was mad at Kevin’s father, Franklin. I was mad at Kevin. I was mad at Eva. I was mad at pretty much everyone in this sad, little nuclear family. I was mad that Shriver tried to get me to sympathize with Eva. How dare she try and make me feel sorry for this pompous character.
Then I took a look at why I was so mad. It’s because Shriver is an amazing writer. I was connecting with all of these characters. I was so engrossed in all the anecdotes. I was right there with Eva, reliving all those years previous.
A huge, huge round of applause to our voice actor, Rosenblat. She had the perfect voice for Eva. It was elitist, it was semi-mature sounding (age-wise, not the other-wise thing… words…? what are they?). I was so pleased with Rosenblat. She, along with the story, had me wanting to sneak off to my car during lunch to have a listen. I didn’t want to get out of the car whenever I got to my destination.
Just because we’re told right off what happens on that fateful <em>Thursday</em> does NOT mean Shriver doesn’t surprise us. Holy crap, does she surprise us. So many twists and goosebumpy moments. Even in the resolution! Who twists in the resolution?! Shriver does. Oh, does Shriver twist. It’s amazing. It’s crazy. It’s so very twisted.
<strong>My rating and why:</strong> I gave this book 4.5/5 stars! It was amazing. We had so much to talk about at book club, and so much was still left unsaid. The way Shriver crafted this book was pure genius. It’s not just a fiction book, it’s a work of literary fiction and I ate it all up.
Your turn! Have you read this book? Have you read anything else by Shriver? What’s your favorite book that deals with psychology or unreliable narrators? Let me know in the comments below. Like. Comment. Follow. New book review to come tomorrow.
Until next time my fellow bibliophiles!