What a train wreck. We Need to Talk About Kevin is a psychological thriller that slowly builds steam. And I do mean slowly. This is not your light fluffy read for the afternoon, but instead something to read, think about, and discuss. And maybe even have another light read on the side to make your way through this journey.
Some reviewers say the writing style is pretentious, but it is the main character Eva, who is pretentious – rather than the book. Lionel Shriver brings Eva’s personality to life, and as other characters are quoted, you get a really good sense that she (the author), can really write characters that are easily distinguished from one another. I grew to hate Eva’s husband almost as much as her son – and that may have even been part of her goal.
From the beginning we know that Eva’s son, Kevin, committed mass murder. Eva wonders if she (or perhaps her “thought crimes”) are to blame, and though the questioning thoughts she has never leads us in this direction, I half wonder if her husband’s behavior toward Kevin played a larger part – given Kevin’s intelligence, personality, and Franklin’s way of never treating him as being older than a toddler.
This is a very difficult book to rate. At the beginning I loved the writing style, and I loved seeing what Eva had to say about the matter (and I too, wanted to know WHY everything happened as it did). However, as the story unfolds, the verbose language style and heavy plot really weighed on me. I took a break in the middle to read a trashy romance novel (and by trashy I mean, it was awful), before continuing on with this journey that felt like it would never end. Then again, I couldn’t make myself stop reading it, and, it’s not a book that can be skimmed.
All in all, I’d say I really liked it for what it made me think. But I’m desperately in need of a good light fluffy novel now to get lost in for a few hours!
I never would have known about this book if it hadn’t been suggested to me by the recommendation engine on Scribd!