If you’re looking for a book that’s going to leave you wondering what to believe and what not to believe, and wondering if you can even trust your own instincts, then We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver is the book for you.
I remember when I was first getting into the psychological thriller genre, this movie kept showing up on recommendations on my Netflix. The tagline didn’t give me much desire to watch it, though. When I found the book in the psychological thriller section of the bookstore, I became much more intrigued. I read the book, and this is not a spoiler, but dear 15-year-old Kevin murders seven of his classmates, a teacher, and a cafeteria worker. His mother, who never wanted to be a mother in the first place, wonders how much she is to blame for his actions.
The book has a slow build of tension, and at first it was difficult for me to get into. The story is told from the mother’s point of view through letters to her husband. Believe me, Kevin was a troubled child from the beginning, but I can’t help but also comment on Eva, his mother, and how she doesn’t feel attached to her son even at the time of conception and birth.
It took me a while to truly get into this book, but once I did, I was devastated when it ended. The author does a great job at building tension and transitioning into scenes page by page, and with each page turn I felt myself more compelled to binge read this novel. I couldn’t put it down. It’s been about 24 hours since I finished the book, and I am still questioning the true motives of the characters. I’m wishing for just one more page, one more chapter, one more tidbit into this tale.
Although I must admit, the climax of the novel is so unnerving, so shocking, that I had to stop reading for a bit to process what had just happened. The denouement of the novel was beautiful. I closed the book feeling as though a part of me had been stolen, sucked into the pages of the novel, and I was never going to get it back. I mean that in a good way, though. It got me to thinking – what good is a book if you don’t carry a part of it with you and if you don’t feel that you leave a part of yourself behind at the end? A good book should alter the way you think.
We Need to Talk About Kevin definitely caused me to think, and I am still thinking. I believe that this book will leave me forever with questions that I may never really be able to answer. And that’s okay. There is an underlying theme that Americans are basically living in a day-to-day routine that I can’t help to agree with, and it makes me question – what are we REALLY doing here?