You NEED To Read About Kevin!


In an age where all the barriers have been broken and controversy often comes at the cost of originality a novel which confidently manages to address a tangible social taboo is a rare find. I recently discovered that Lionel Shriver’s ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’ is such a novel. Published in 2003 Shriver’s novel which documents a mother’s attempts to come to terms with her son carrying out a massacre at his school has gone on to win a numerous accolades and was even adapted into a critically acclaimed film last year.

One of the book’s major strengths is its innovative narrative style with the story being told through the exchange of emails between Eve, mother of disgraced son Kevin, and her estranged husband Franklin. Eve’s narration allows for a fascinating oscillation of themes with the consequences of Kevin’s horrific crimes often taking a back-seat in lieu of an uncomfortable study of how his mother’s ambivalence to maternity may have in some ways lead to his becoming a remorseless psychopath. Shriver’s smart angle on the subject matter prohibits the book from blatantly wandering into the age old ‘are people born evil’ debate as well as offering readers a dark commentary on American optimism.

The recurring idea of high hopes culminating in crushing disappointment and the skewed view of the ‘picket fence family’ that so many Americans dream of made for an exhilarating read especially when watching the very same values and ideals being pedaled and romanticised over and over again throughout the campaigns of the US presidential candidates.

Links to the novel and film for purchase on Amazon can be found here and here.      


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