That neither nature nor nurture bears exclusive responsibility for a child's character is self-evident. But generalizations about genes are likely to provide cold. We need to talk about Kevin [electronic resource (EPUB eBook)] / Lionel Shriver. Requires Adobe Digital Editions reader (go to the download page for this title. Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. A number of fictional attempts have been made to We Need to Talk About Kevin Kindle Edition. by .. Download.
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The topic is horrifying, the characters are hateful and not just the characters that commit mass murders and the writing style is the worst of all. From the first page I was SO irritated by the writing. I'll bet that the first purchase Ms. Shriver made after finding a publisher for this book was a new thesaurus.
I'm positive that hers was absolutely worn out. It was like, "Hi! Let's see how fancy we can sound! The letter format was an especially poorly-chosen literary device.
I get that we, the reader, needed background, but did Eva really think that her husband needed to be reminded, among other things, about all the random little details of his childhood?
They were his memories, after all. Why did she need to repeat them to him, and in such an arrogant, condescending way?
And the lists of other school shootings. I became extremely tired of reading about those as Eva ticked them off.
I felt like I was hearing a lecture or a compilation of NPR news stories. But speaking of arrogant and condescending, here's another problem that I had with this book. Some children have crappy parents and turn out great, and I've seen the opposite happen as well. Did I really need to say that? Eva was mean, negative, and overbearing throughout the book. And again, I realize that with the letter format, we are only getting the viewpoint of one, limited, character, but that's not an excuse for making the characters so completely one-dimensional.
Kevin was evil, Celia was demure, Franklin was naive, Eva was obnoxious, etc.
Finally, the question of the big reveal. And I actually do have a question about this. It was pretty obvious what was going on, that there was going to be a big reveal, after about page 3 of the book and I'm not talking about the fact that Kevin killed his classmates.
That was not meant to be a secret. It was written in the description on the back of the book. My question is this--was this just poorly written so that what was meant to be a big reveal was, well, not? Or did Shriver make it obvious on purpose, in order to make it more awful to read--we knew what was going to happen, and we didn't want to read it, but we were going to have to and were coming closer to it with each page.
I'm going to give Shriver the benefit of the doubt on this one, because if that's what she meant to do, it worked. View all 82 comments. Sep 14, Jenny rated it it was amazing Shelves: Some readers really don't like this book and I'm not entirely sure why.
Maybe it's because I'm not a mother and I did find it believable that Eva doesn't love her son completely. Maybe it's because I enjoy the big words that were used in the letters and found it believable that she would write this way.
Maybe I'm a sucker for good endings and this one ended with a bang. I think the writing was superb and despite it being a hard book to read the incident with the maps was particularly brutal , it w Some readers really don't like this book and I'm not entirely sure why. I think the writing was superb and despite it being a hard book to read the incident with the maps was particularly brutal , it was worth it. I think this dealt with the issue of school killings much more effectively than Jodi Picoult's Nineteen Minutes.
The character of Kevin did come alive for me and he was believable. Just like she never thinks about them divorcing, she also never considers giving her son help. Overall, I'm glad I was able to finish it and I'm going to read more of the author's works. View all 9 comments. Hooked by Title and Cover. It did a great job of confirming a few truisms, maternal instincts are not a given, some children are just born bad, and the worst mistake a couple can make is to allow a child to divide them.
Ergo a neurotic son. Would I recommend it? The writing style is unusual, at times painfully raw, often elegant and always intelligent. Be forewarned, she tends too overkill in the adjective department - like me: Memorable Quote: Impenetrable passions have never made Kevin laugh.
From early childhood they have enraged him. They were determined to find something mechanically wrong with him, because broken machines can be fixed. It was easier to minister to passive incapacity than to tackle the more frightening matter of fierce, crackling disinterest. How can I so deeply love a book that is this agonisingly ugly?? So, in an attempt to limit the coming agony, I made a few rules: RULE 1: Do not get emotionally involved. RULE 2: Do not take sides.
RULE 3: Do not dwell on the disturbing parts. I got emotionally involved. I always do. I wish I could say that Eva's so horrible that I couldn't relate to her but a teeny-tiny part of me did, especially at the start.
I took sides. Right from the start, I unconsciously sided with Eva. For me, Kevin was quintessentially evil, and Eva was the poor woman who had the misfortune of bearing him. As for not dwelling on the disturbing parts The book in entirety is a systematically harrowing tale with no escape.
So I persisted. I bore the mental anguish. And that's my answer to why I love this ugly, ugly book. It caused me to recoil in horror so many times, but also made me come back to it every single time. Every minute I was reading, I wanted to stop; yet when I put the book down, I wanted to pick it up again.
Like being addicted to something unpleasant and craving it, even when that voice in your head begs you not to. Is Eva such a cold mother because Kevin is who he is?
Or did Kevin become who he is because Eva is such a cold mother? In the end, who do we really need to talk about? Or Eva? Because after three days short of eighteen years, I can finally announce that I am too exhausted and too confused and too lonely to keep fighting, and if only out of desperation or even laziness I love my son. View all 41 comments. I've started this review 6 times now, and each time, I've deleted it because it doesn't quite convey the right thing.
I think the problem is that I'm not sure just what that thing is. But one thing I do know is that I love books that make me feel like this I guess it's lucky that this was chosen for our latest group read then, because I fil I've started this review 6 times now, and each time, I've deleted it because it doesn't quite convey the right thing.
I guess it's lucky that this was chosen for our latest group read then, because I filibustered there with every jumbled, messy, half-formed thought that my tired-because-I-stayed-up-until-nearly-2am-with-this-book-then-worked-a-fullhours mind could think of Because this book won't keep quiet in my mind. I finished it last night around 1: Then I slept, and I dreamed about this book, with hazy, distant figures without names or faces, but bigger than life aspects.
It's rare that I dream about books. It doesn't matter if I read it up until the minute I drop off; I only dream about a book I'm reading, or have read if it pulled me into its world first. I dream about the books that touch my soul. If I were to nitpick anything, it would be that Eva's pen wandered a tiny bit too much into the outside world. I wanted to see her world, the world of her family, or her lack thereof. It took a little bit to get there, and for a while, there were hints but the narrative meandered along in its own time.
But oh my, once it got going, it really got going. Once I glimpsed this family's world, I couldn't look away. There is And I don't think that I could even attempt to do the topics or themes any justice as I didn't in my bookclub, not for lack of trying. This is a book that begs to be turned around to the beginning again and immediately re-read.
It's like one of those optical illusions. At first, the picture is simple, but then once you see the hidden picture within it, you gain a new appreciation for the whole. This book was beautifully written, insightful, questioning and heartbreaking. It was nothing at all like I expected, and even guessing the things that I guessed which turned out to be true , it didn't make the impact any less.
This book was so incredible at making me sympathize and empathize with each person's perspective, though we only see these through Eva's brutally honest memory, that it was impossible for me to lay blame anywhere, even though the potential for assigning blame was huge. This was expertly executed pun intended , and it is not one that I will forget any time soon. View all 10 comments. I don't even know where to start with this one.
The book was basically a whole load of nothing. It's the absolute definition of ''trying too hard. Throwing them in so often only made for muddled, disjointed, boring to read sentences.
There's no story. We know from the beginning that Kevin has shot a bunch of students dead, and then Eva goes on to tell random, often exaggerated stories from his childhood leading up to the shooting.
T I don't even know where to start with this one. The characters are so very unlikable. Eva decides from day 1- literally- that Kevin is evil and out to get her. He's only a few minutes old when she decides he's plotting against her.
When Kevin is 18 months old, she sit in front of him and calls him a ''little shit. Kevin was no better than Eva. He's a horrible piece of work, with no sympathy for anyone. It's clear he's a very disturbed person, but I honestly believe half of it was from trying to get some sort of maternal reaction out of his mother, some sign that she actually cared about him in the slightest.
Franklin was just plain irritating. He lived in his own little world where his son was perfect- despite the fact that he seriously injured his little sister for a start- and is convinced they have a ''great relationship'' when all along Kevin clearly couldn't care less about his father. I very much disliked the ending. All the characters were suddenly revealed as the complete opposite to what they'd been for the other pages, and I felt a little cheated. There was no need to strive for a somewhat happy ending, when the rest of the book was already very disturbing.
View all 30 comments. May 24, Petra Eggs rated it really liked it Shelves: At first, this book seems to be about a mass-murdering Columbine-style kid and whether or not he was born that way or his mother, who didn't love him, made him that way.
Nature v nurture. Or perhaps it's the lonely ramblings of a woman who has nothing left except guilt, and it's only guilt and anything that feeds it that sustains her. Like a drug addict she gets her fix from visiting her son, then the rush, the letters, free-flowing words, all the guilt tumbling almost joyously out, no detai At first, this book seems to be about a mass-murdering Columbine-style kid and whether or not he was born that way or his mother, who didn't love him, made him that way.
Like a drug addict she gets her fix from visiting her son, then the rush, the letters, free-flowing words, all the guilt tumbling almost joyously out, no details spared. But she isn't taking drugs and she isn't really writing letters either. I really enjoyed it. A good read. View all 8 comments. Quasi una dichiarazione di guerra. Reilly con Kevin. Shriver sicuramente riesce a rendere le sue pagine magistralmente verosimili e credibili.
Kevin Ezra Miller. Chi sono io lettore, sono Eva o sono Kevin? Posso restare a guardare o devo prendere parte, e schierarmi? Alla lunga, la prosa di Shriver risulta un pochino troppo piatta: Ma Shriver non fa sconti: Ed esiste qualcuno che avrebbe potuto fermarti in tempo? Quanto hai sofferto nei tuoi sedici anni?
Fino al punto di moltiplicare la sofferenza e distribuirla a pioggia di sangue? Da questo libro, una bravissima regista inglese, Lynne Ramsey ha tratto un film: PS Continuando a pensare a madri presunte 'cattive', a depressioni post parto, a madri non accoglienti d'istinto, mi viene in mente la magnifica Ferrante di La figlia oscura - penso anche a 'Quando la notte' di Comencini: Sep 01, Jessica rated it really liked it. This book attacked my brain like a virus.
The character of Kevin, the teenage murderer whose mom narrates the epistolary novel, was so disturbing and harrowingly well-drawn, that I think it caused some sort of chemical reaction in my brain. He gave me nightmares. I swear whenever I picked up the book gray clouds covered the sun. In a series of letters to her estranged husband, narrator Eva dissects her family's life, from the decision to have a child to the day her son locked 9 classmates and a t This book attacked my brain like a virus.
In a series of letters to her estranged husband, narrator Eva dissects her family's life, from the decision to have a child to the day her son locked 9 classmates and a teacher in the gym and used them for target practice. Were Eva's ambivalent feelings about motherhood part of what made Kevin into such a monster, or are some people simply born evil? In the case presented in this book, I'm going to have to lean towards the latter. Even as an infant, Kevin is a solid misanthrope and shows a disarming talent for manipulation.
This question, which I think is at the heart of the book, is not as clearly answered as I'm making it out to me. In fact, Lionel Shriver, in writing about readers' responses to this work, says she has seen two camps: One of the quotes on the back calls it "A slow magnetic descent into hell that is as fascinating as it is disturbing," and I think that's pretty accurate.
I'm interested to hear what people with children think of it from a parents' perspective. Because I tell ya, it sure makes motherhood seem terrifying.
We Need to Talk About Kevin
View all 12 comments. I give this one a couple of meager points for addressing the difficult subject I realise I'm supposed to love my own child but actually I don't because frankly he's a weirdo and always with the backchat, if he fell in a cementmixer how much better would my life be, a lot, and would the world be any the worse, no.
Doris Lessing addressed the topic also in her weedy novel The Fifth Child. It's a big taboo, and all that. For my money though, bypass these poor excuses and go straight to nettyflix or I give this one a couple of meager points for addressing the difficult subject I realise I'm supposed to love my own child but actually I don't because frankly he's a weirdo and always with the backchat, if he fell in a cementmixer how much better would my life be, a lot, and would the world be any the worse, no.
This is a snappy underrated movie about a baby who is frankly unloveable because he tends to slaughter everyone within a 25 foot radius of himself. He's very difficult to get close to. Because he keeps scuttering away into the sewers. So Kevin, of whom we must speak, is this dweeby young sociopath and yes, there are such people, and we should talk about them, yes, that's true, but not - please - not like Lionel Shriver talks about them.
Any more of those creepy overwrought letters and I would have been reaching for my Kalashnikov. They are like an overstuffed Edwardian drawing room with beautifully framed autopsy photographs hung all around and poisoned angelcake waiting for you on a plate on the reproduction Sheraton. It's all more than a little sicky. The writer of these letters which make up this novel needs her head shrunk too, as well as her jolly son.
As do I for reading this hunk of chewy gristle. Frankly ridiculous s movie: View all 33 comments. Sep 10, Carol rated it really liked it Shelves: A disturbing and gruesome epistolary novel that is not an easy read. It's like one of those horror movies where you know there is a monster with a BIG AX behind the door and still the actor moves forward. I kept thinking, NO! Not sure if I would recommend this book as it is NOT an enjoyable read or a book I would read again, but despite the sometimes drawn out pages, I just had to keep reading to find A disturbing and gruesome epistolary novel that is not an easy read.
January 9, Holy Crap! View all 29 comments. Aug 23, Jaidee rated it it was ok Recommends it for: Dr Phil on a very bad day. Recommended to Jaidee by: Jerry Springer on a medium bad day. Ummmm let's get this out of the way Lionel Shriver can write! She can write damn well with razor sharp observations on American Culture that are valid, important and on the mark!
Kevin is 2 "snarky, sensationalistic, schlocky" stars!!! Kevin is so very unbelievable as a character The events were so bloody sensationalistic that they take away from the real pathos and tragedy of mass school shootings 3.
This is a spoiler Another spoiler A baby could never be as manipulative or cunning the way Kevin is portrayed Reasons 1 to 5 are enough to bring this book into one star category but because Shriver is such a good writer and observer of American Culture I am generously bringing it up to a two.
So yeah we really do need to talk about Kevin but not for the reasons you are thinking!! View all 45 comments.
I don't think a book has ever made me teary-eyed before! I have been known to sob while watching a movie but haven't actually while absorbed in a book. No, out of the pages of this book, I thought that the first or so pages were extremely hard to get through because this was not an easy read for me. I did not particularly like the authors writing style, choice of words used, and all the details c I don't think a book has ever made me teary-eyed before!
I did not particularly like the authors writing style, choice of words used, and all the details crammed together in a sentence. It was quite exhausting at times. The last pages were actually hard to put down. After so many pages of build-up the climax was fast-paced and I felt that it was a complete, satisfying read in the end. The book was told in a series of letters by Kevin's mom, Eva to her husband, Franklin. Most of the letters Eva talks about Kevin, why she decided to have him, what it was like raising him, ways that she might of failed at being a mother, and confessions of her own about Kevin.
So was Kevin born that way or was he made that way because he didn't have a mother that wanted, loved or nurtured him? That is the question you will be asking yourself throughout the novel as you read.
It was a thought-provoking, slow-paced, disturbing, emotional, and difficult read but I think it was well worth it. I was completely satisfied with the very emotional ending. That yup actually made me cry. This is an unsettling book, although I would not say as one critic did that it is harrowing. It lacks the immediacy that this would need, as it is exclusively told in flashback, and furthermore the structure is epistolary - in fact it could almost qualify as a series of soliloquies.
The main character Eva is trying to search through her memories to establish whether she could be responsible in any way for her 15 year old son's killing of several of his schoolmates and two adults.
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This is not This is an unsettling book, although I would not say as one critic did that it is harrowing. This is not a promising premise for a interesting lengthy novel, but I did find it absorbing.
Although Eva has been found unlikeable by some, I found her to be a many-layered believable character. However there are a few minor quibbles. Eva, I worked out, was born in Part of the time therefore when she would have been considering having a child would have been in the late s, when Paul Ehrlich's The Population Bomb was hugely influential. With the plethora of reasons for and against having a child that Eva muses on, it is hard to credit that she would have completely missed out on agonising about the problem of over-population.
In fact her eventual reason for having her son seems to have been an impromptu masochistic one, which I found barely credible. It has been said that "nobody writes in this way to someone they've lived with for 30 years" , and that it is "self-consciously literary".
Whereas I rather enjoyed the sardonic wit of the narrator, it did begin to dawn on me that view spoiler [there was a reason why these letters were not answered. They were clearly partly cathartic and partly an attempted analysis of where if anywhere to apportion blame. Eva was an intelligent and educated woman, familiar with the Nature v.
Nurture controversy and many psychological disorders, especially of children. But it was also a cry for help, so why was it unanswered? Personally I guessed the reason for this about a third of the way through the book, and expect others would too, though I doubt whether this was intentional on the part of the author.
It had already been mentioned that teenage killers such as Kevin tended to kill close family members or themselves too. But when the "shock" came very near the end of the book I realised just how deliberately this fact had been hidden.
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We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Progress Indicator. Opening Apple Books. If Apple Books doesn't open, click the Books app in your Dock. Already have iTunes? Click I Have iTunes to open it now. View More by This Author. Description That neither nature nor nurture bears exclusive responsibility for a child's character is self-evident.
A review with a blue-tinted title indicates a book of unusual commercial interest that hasn't received a starred or boxed review. A gifted journalist as well as the author of seven novels, she brings to her story a keen understanding of the intricacies of marital and parental relationships as well as a narrative pace that is both compelling and thoughtful. Eva Khatchadourian is a smart, skeptical New Yorker whose impulsive marriage to Franklin, a much more conventional person, bears fruit, to her surprise and confessed disquiet, in baby Kevin.
From the start Eva is ambivalent about him, never sure if she really wanted a child, and he is balefully hostile toward her; only good-old-boy Franklin, hoping for the best, manages to overlook his son's faults as he grows older, a largely silent, cynical, often malevolent child.
The later birth of a sister who is his opposite in every way, deeply affectionate and fragile, does nothing to help, and Eva always suspects his role in an accident that befalls little Celia. The narrative, which leads with quickening and horrifying inevitability to the moment when Kevin massacres seven of his schoolmates and a teacher at his upstate New York high school, is told as a series of letters from Eva to an apparently estranged Franklin, after Kevin has been put in a prison for juvenile offenders.
This seems a gimmicky way to tell the story, but is in fact surprisingly effective in its picture of an affectionate couple who are poles apart, and enables Shriver to pull off a huge and crushing shock far into her tale.
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