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Monday, January 30, 2012

We Need To Talk About Kevin

Are there words for this book?  Do I have breath left in my lungs?  I think not, to answer both of these questions.  How amazed I sit here, how in awe I stand, of this book and it's story and the stab I just received in the heart.

We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver is the very same book that was just adapted to film starring Tilda Swinton.  This book has been on my radar for years, one of those oh-yeah-I-definitely-need-to-read-that ways.  Then I saw a screening of the film and was bowled over, so I had to purchase the book right away.  You heard me correctly...I purchased it.  I never buy books.  But I bit the bullet and did it.  Thank goodness.

Holy moly goodness gracious, what a tour de force this book was.  I didn't want to stop reading it, not even to finish up some library books I had.  I would allow myself to read only one chapter per day so that I could finish other books on my plate, but that took patience and self-restraint on my end that I don't normally have.  I had to keep reading. 

Kevin is written as letters from Eva, Kevin's mother, to her husband, Franklin, one year after her son's school massacre.  Yes, her son was the perpetrator.  Eva writes letters to Franklin detailing Kevin's history, her visits with him while he is incarcerated, and later on with the details as she knows them regarding the attack.  From the beginning Kevin is a clear-cut psychopath, but how much was Eva to blame for her lack of affect toward her son?  Franklin's overparenting didn't help, of course, and the bringing of a younger sister in only served to give Kevin a plaything to experiment on.

Sometimes the details are harrowing, sometimes Franklin's justification of Kevin's behavior is infuriating, sometimes Eva's seeming vendetta against her own son is heart-wrenching, but all of the time the narrative is riveting.  This book is quite incredible, and I am thrilled that I own it so that I may come back to it again.

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