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We Need to Talk About Kevin

Shriver, Lionel (eBook - 2006 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
We Need to Talk About Kevin
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Two years ago, Eva Khatchadourian's son, Kevin, murdered seven of his fellow high-school students, a cafeteria worker, and a popular algebra teacher. Because he was only fifteen at the time of the killings, he received a lenient sentence and is now in a prison for young offenders in upstate New York. Telling the story of Kevin's upbringing, Eva addresses herself to her estranged husband through a series of letters. Fearing that her own shortcomings may have shaped what her son has become, she confesses to a deep, long-standing ambivalence about both motherhood in general and Kevin in particular. How much is her fault? Lionel Shriver tells a compelling, absorbing, and resonant story while framing these horrifying tableaux of teenage carnage as metaphors for the larger tragedy - the tragedy of a country where everything works, nobody starves, and anything can be bought but a sense of purpose.
Authors: Shriver, Lionel
Title: We need to talk about Kevin
[electronic resource]
Publisher: London : Serpent's Tail, 2006, c2005
Edition: 5 star paperback ed
Characteristics: 468 p
Statement of Responsibility: Lionel Shriver
Notes: Originally published: New York: Counterpoint, 2003
Additional Contributors: ebrary
Alternate Title: Public Library Complete
ISBN: 9781852424671
1852424672
Branch Call Number: Electronic Book
Reproduction: Electronic reproduction. Palo Alto, Calif. : ebrary, 2010. Available via World Wide Web. Access may be limited to ebrary affiliated libraries
Subject Headings: Mass murder Fiction Mothers and sons Fiction Teenage boys Fiction High school students United States Fiction
Genre/Form: Electronic books
Topical Term: Mass murder
Mothers and sons
Teenage boys
High school students
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May 16, 2014
  • ashleysears rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I was ready to bring this book back to the library. The way this woman writes letters to her husband and the words she uses reminded me of watching Dawson's Creek when I was younger - people in read life do not talk like this. As the story goes on, I sort of warmed up to her, she isn't the perfect mother. She wasn't horrible either - how could her children turn out so completely different from each other - they were born like that. Why do I think he spares his mother that Thursday? Because she is the only one who has ever known the real Kevin, who has seen him for who he really is not someone they want him to be.

Jan 25, 2014
  • stewstealth rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This is a well written novel done in an epistolary fashion. Though ostensibly about her psychopathic son the broader look of the novel is American culture, parenthood and relationships. Very well crafted and an interesting read.

Aug 15, 2013
  • samutavi rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

I saw the movie before I read this book. Even though I knew from the start what the painful revelation would be at the end of the story that did not lessen the emotional impact. This is a good (and difficult) book. There are some very honest moments about the ambiguity and doubt that can sometimes plague you as a parent. It is an extreme example in that the child does something particularly awful, but the challenges his actions present to his mother are reflective of the more typical difficulties of parenting. This one made me think.

Jul 15, 2013
  • everydayathena rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A dark and compelling book.
The plot, despite its unusual focus (most mothers, thankfully, do not give birth to monsters), was incredibly plausible - at no point did I find myself doubting that this could happen. I did struggle with the 'weight' of the book - meaning, I found the heavy subject matter difficult to bear - but I was absolutely gripped throughout. I found myself thinking of that now-famous blog post titled "I Am Adam Lanza's Mother". I also connected strongly with the protagonist. Some reviewers below have complained about her character flaws, but I think that's the point - she isn't a madonna, but rather a regular woman who can, at times be petty and mean. She has her limits and her psychopathic son, even as a toddler, incessantly pushes those limits.
In her essay "Life is Precious, Or It Isn't", Barbara Kingsolver expressed her empathy for the parents of the Columbine school shooters, who " must surely live with the deepest emotional pain it is possible to bear". This novel made me acutely aware of that emotional pain, and of the unfathomable weight of the cross borne by the parents of kids who kill.

Jun 22, 2013
  • WVMLBookClubTitles rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The mother of a teenage boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and the much-beloved teacher who had tried to befriend him relates the story of her son’s upbringing in an attempt to find out what went wrong. She considers motherhood, marriage, family and career, while framing these horrifying tableaus of teenage carnage as metaphors for the larger tragedy of a country where everything works, nobody starves, and anything can be bought but a sense of purpose.

May 23, 2013
  • finn75 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

An amazing book. Twist at the end floored me. Is someone born evil or do they become that way? Extremely well written.

Totally loved this book! Couldn't put it down. The subject matter is horrifying and scary. Loved the way it was written.

Feb 02, 2013
  • Stephenson1 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This is an amazing novel. Yes, Shriver does tend to use some unnecessarily ornate words, but if you let that distract you from the story she tells, and the exceptional character development of the narrator, you are going to miss out on a great book. The subject matter is dark, but that is part of what makes the book so enthralling. Shriver leads you on a journey though the narrator's whole life, her motivations and feelings, and the apparent consequences of it all. One of the best written, and most developed novels I have read.

Jan 07, 2013
  • dera444 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Wow. I just happened to be reading this at the time of the Connecticut school shooting. Incredible book!

Dec 29, 2012
  • drsvyas rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Very gripping, and extremely eloquent narrative. I enjoyed it all the way through. The writing is so powerful, I enjoyed reading many passages over, and let the message impress me again.

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Jun 06, 2013
  • JCLJedD rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

"You can only subject people to anguish who have a conscience. You can only punish people who have hopes to frustrate or attachments to sever; who worry what you think of them. You can really only punish people who are already a little bit good." Eva on the futility of punishing Kevin

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We Need to Talk About Kevin film trailer

Nov 08, 2009
  • vickiz rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Interview with author Lionel Shriver

Lionel Shriver gives a candid interview about her troubling and controversial novel "We Need to Talk About Kevin."

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