Thursday, February 12, 2015

Throwback Thursday: We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

AuthorLionel Shriver
First published in 2006 by Counterpoint

Eva never really wanted to be a mother and certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin's horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklin. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.

I read this book for my Mental Health class.  We needed to pick a movie with a character with mental illness.  I chose this movie without having read the book.  I felt very lost watching the movie, so I decided to listen to the audiobook to see if it maybe filled in some of the gaps and better explained what was going on with Kevin.  

The book is told in letter format.  Kevin's mother Eva is writing to her estranged husband Franklin about their life before "That Thursday" and her life afterwards.  Eva had been warning everyone, especially Franklin about Kevin, but no one would listen to her.  Franklin, throughout the book, made me crazy.  His constant defending of Kevin and his behavior was so mind boggling.  I felt so protective of Eva the whole time, I guess it's the mothers looking out for their own thing.  Eva was the one that Kevin so tortured throughout the story.  However, in the end Eva and Kevin were the ones that came together in the end and reconciled their differences.

This was a really rough book.  Lionel Shriver doesn't pull any punches.  So I don't necessarily recommend it to everyone.  It does have a lot of powerful messages about motherhood and I think it's an important story.    

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