Sunday, 15 August 2010

Book review - We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

Undoubtedly, one of the best novels I have ever read, and I don't say that lightly. Despite the name, Lionel Shriver is a woman, and this book could only have been written by a woman. That doesn't mean, however, that it is 'chick lit'. Far from it, this story is hard hitting and often cruel, both in its' concept, and telling.

It is also unusual, in the fact that you start by knowing the crime that Kevin has committed, albeit in no great detail, and the story unfolds through a series of letters from his mother to his father.

Reading it, there are details of Kevin's upbringing that will strike a chord with many parents. Points where you think 'oh yes - my child was like that'. There are other details which are quite disturbing.

This is one book that I sincerely hope they never try to make into a film. There's no way a film could convey the mother's feelings towards her son, or her husband, or the guilt that she feels over Kevin's crime. Or how she tries to rebuild her life afterwards.

As the story unfolds, you feel more and more disturbed, and the final revelations are quite appalling. You're left at the end wondering if Kevin is mentally ill, or if what happened was the result of his mother's feelings towards him, or if he really was born just pure and plain evil.

Rating 5/5

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