Wednesday 28 December 2011

Guest Review: We Need To Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver

Today I'm handing over to my friend Poppy who has a review for you.  I'm very happy to have her making regular appearances here & hope you'll give her a warm welcome.  Thanks for a fab guest review Poppy :o)

Shortly before his sixteenth birthday, Kevin Khatchadourian kills seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker and a teacher. He is visited in prison by his mother, Eva, who narrates in a series of letters to her estranged husband, Franklin, her account of Kevin’s upbringing.

Visit Lionel Shriver's author page on Goodreads for more information

Poppy's Review:
We Need To Talk About Kevin is a thought provoking and challenging read which may not appeal to everyone, parents and non-parents alike. The book is a series of letters written by Kevin’s mother Eva, to his father Franklin, about their family life leading up to the terrible day when Kevin killed some fellow students and a teacher at his school.

Eva’s narrative begins in her current day and reflects back from before Kevin was born, continually interspersing tales from the past with those from more recent times, providing comments of what she thought at the time, or thinks now looking back.

The subject matter and reflections of the past can often make uncomfortable reading, but hearing the story told through Eva’s eyes was intriguing. Before opening this book, I think most people will have their own opinions about the nature versus nurture debate regarding children who commit awful acts against others, and may therefore approach it with the expectation of either having their views vindicated, or substantially challenged. To me however, We Need To Talk About Kevin makes me want to do just that – talk about Kevin… and his childhood and his family – listen to and discuss other people’s opinions of the book.

The most interesting thing about this book for me, and why I feel there is perhaps no right or wrong answers about Kevin the fictitious character, is that the narrative only comes from one person’s perspective and it is told looking back on events that have already occurred. Throughout the book I questioned many stories and Eva’s subsequent comments about them, wondering about how close to the facts of the true events they really were. People do not always recall things from years gone by with a great degree of accuracy, as time and memory can remove, distort and add various details. Also as the mother of a child who committed such a horrific act, Eva may have consciously or subconsciously told a tale which validated her memory, justifying her thoughts and feelings about what happened and why.

To me, We Need To Talk About Kevin is an absorbing piece of fiction which raises many questions for discussion and/or consideration around a very difficult subject.

Source: Purchased by Poppy

Other reviews of this book:
If you have reviewed this book on your blog please leave a link to your review in the comments & I'll add the link here.

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