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 three 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 railsThis book is very hard for me to review. It gave me so many mixed emotions.
Kevin shot and killed nine people in his high school. The novel is told by his mother, in a series of letters addressed to her estranged husband, Kevins father. In these letters she is trying to figure out what went wrong: is it because she didn't love Kevin enough? Or was it because Kevin was inherently evil from the beginning?
In the beginning, I did not understand why this book was getting the attention and praise it has gotten. I could not get into the writing. Shrivers writing is intricate and intelligent and I found myself having a dictionary on hand throughout most of the book. I, also, found it hard to believe that any person would write such intimate letters in the style these were written. After getting used to the style of writing, the book did get easier to read. Though it did take 100+ pages for me to get in to it.
Knowing the premise of the story, I went into it expecting to feel sorry for the main character, Eva. She is a mom of a boy who committed mass murder in his high school, it oozes with prospects of sympathy. In the end I found myself hating Eva for most of the book. She comes off selfish and obnoxious most of the time, always blaming someone for things that happened. There were occasions, once Kevin grew older, where I did feel sorry for her. The way Shriver describes Kevin is hard to comprehend at times also, especially when you grew up in a society that always has a finger to point blame. The book makes you think hard about what society says about the kids who commit school shootings and the nature vs. nurture debate.
At times I was completely enthralled with this book and others I was forcing myself to get through. When it is good it is very good. When the book is in its lull it is very boring. The ending, though, was great. It was heartbreaking and brought out even more questions about the nature of love.
After finishing the book I can understand why it has gotten the attention it has. This book and the questions it posed will stay with me for a very long time but I had such a hard time "liking" the book. Maybe that was the point.
3.5 out of 5 stars.
BUY IT HERE: We Need to Talk About Kevin: A Novel (P.S.)Contemporary Literature)