We Need to Talk About Kevin
by Lionel Shriver
Review by Belle
We Need to Talk About Kevin is a breathtaking book, quite literally; I felt winded when I finally put it down. I had few expectations of this book before I read it - one friend had passionately loved it, another had found it too disturbing. I’d actually thought it was about a mother and her autistic son, so was surprised to read (on the cover) that Kevin was instead the perpetrator of a mass shooting at his high school. The book is made up of letters that Eva (Kevin’s mum) writes to her husband (they’re separated), reflecting on her life, on their marriage, on Kevin, and on where it all went wrong. I was riveted from beginning to end, and, despite her flaws, found Eva’s character both captivating and strangely admirable.
The writing is beautiful - poetic and polished - and now, looking back and seeing how tightly and cleverly the whole story has been put together, I’m even more in awe of Shriver’s handiwork. I was completely under her spell from the opening pages until the inevitable, but still shocking, end (which I read with my hand over my mouth, my heart racing, and my stomach in knots); never before has a book sucked me in this much. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to face reading it again, but I dare say it’ll haunt the top of my ‘Best Novels’ list for a very, very long time.
Thanks Belle! Go check out Belle's Elbows.