If someone was going to compile a top ten list of perfect book club books (which I’m sure people have) this would surely have to be in the top three. It’s the kind of novel that you want to immediately discuss with other people. So it’s a great thing that Tea Time with Marce is hosting a discussion on We Need to Talk about Kevin. Even if you reviewed this ages ago it worth popping your link over on the discussion post.
The novel is made up of the letters sent from Kevin's mother (Eva) to her estranged husband Franklin; they document her memories of Kevin throughout his life, and also her visits to him in prison where he is sent after shooting a number of his classmates. The novel attempts to tackle many issues on parenthood and ends up asking far more questions than it manages to answer. The main question has to surely be, was Kevin born evil or was he a product of his upbringing and his mother’s feelings towards him? Was he a product of nurture vs. nature?
I’m surprised at how much of a page turner this novel proved to be. It was not always the difficult, deep psychological read I expected, sometimes it did not quite read as a thriller but certainly it was plot driven at times and I could certainly see why it has proved such a bestselling if uncomfortable book.
Eva proved a fabulously unreliable narrator; was Kevin really like that as a baby or just Eva’s perception? At first Kevin is described very much like Damien from the omen which I simply could not believe so I found myself questioning Eva’s version of events constantly throughout the novel. I didn’t find myself questioning at the end why Kevin did it but more about the belief in redemption. I do believe there are crimes that cannot be atoned for but when the end of Kevin’s punishment for his crimes relies heavily on his redemption, Eva is in a position where she is forced to somewhat forgive.
I would recommend this, it might not always be what you expect but it’s worth reading with an open mind and who knows, you might love it or you might hate it but it’s unlikely you will remain indifferent.
Posted by Jess