We Need to Talk about Kevin

We Need to Talk about Kevin 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 comfort if it s your own child who jus

  • Title: We Need to Talk about Kevin
  • Author: Lionel Shriver
  • ISBN: 9781582438870
  • Page: 440
  • Format: ebook
  • 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 comfort if it s your own child who just opened fire on his feellow algebra students and whose class photograph with its unseemly grin is shown on the evening news coast to coast.If the question of who s to blameThat neither nature nor nurture bears exclusive responsibility for a child s character is self evident But generalizations about genes are likely to provide cold comfort if it s your own child who just opened fire on his feellow algebra students and whose class photograph with its unseemly grin is shown on the evening news coast to coast.If the question of who s to blame for teenage atrocity intrigues news watching voyeurs, it tortures our narrator, Eva Khatchadourian Two years before the opening of the novel, her son, Kevin, murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and the much beloved teacher who had tried to befriend him Because his sixteenth birthday arrived two days after the killings, he received a lenient sentence and is currently in a prison for young offenders in upstate New York.In relating the story of Kevin s upbringing, Eva addresses her estranged husband, Frank, through a series of startingly direct letters Fearing that her own shortcomings may have shaped what her son became, she confesses to a deep, long standing ambivalence about both motherhood in general and Kevin in particular How much is her fault We Need To Talk About Kevin offers no at explanations for why so many white, well to do adolescents whether in Pearl, Paducah, Springfield, or Littleton have gone nihilistically off the rails while growing up in the most prosperous country in history Instead, Lionel Shriver tells a compelling, absorbing, and resonant story with an explosive, haunting ending She considers motherhood, marriage, family, career while framing these horrifying tableaus of teenage carnage as metaphors for the larger tragedy of a country where everything works, nobody starves, and anything can be bought but a sense of purpose.

    One thought on “We Need to Talk about Kevin”

    1. I am a little apprehensive as to how I should begin this review: there are so many things to talk about.First of all, I consider this to be truly a great work of literature, not simply "fiction". As a great writer of my native language said: "The real story is on the unwritten pages"; that is, it is the gaps, the pauses and the undercurrents between the characters (which the reader is forced to complete or imagine) which is the mark of great literature. This is one hundred percent correct as far [...]

    2. Overwritten. Arduous. Boring.Seeing as We Need to Talk About Kevin is famous for being such a gritty, disturbing read, I always expected to love it in a sick, twisted kind of way. Unfortunately, it is not what I expected at all. I had to force myself through one overstuffed sentence after another, only to be left feeling drained and dissatisfied.I knew I was in for a paint-dryingly slow read almost immediately. Every sentence is padded out with big words and details that are clearly there to imp [...]

    3. The pull-quote on the cover of the edition I read suggests that it's impossible to put this book down. That's almost entirely false. Out of the book's 400 pages, the first 300 were kind of like pulling teeth. Creepy, maternal teeth. The last 100 pages, however, were actually and physically impossible to look away from, and the brisk pace of the climax, after so. many. pages. of buildup, actually created a really wonderful, complete story that was very satisfying and which (god help me) made me c [...]

    4. This book is just devastating and devastatingly good. I've just finished it, and had a little cry on the balcony in the bright sunshine, thinking about my mom and motherhood and blame, self-recrimination, guilt and remorse and parental love and the painfully ambiguous, sometimes tortured complexity of it all.And that is underselling it.Suffice for now to say, you might not enjoy this if:- You believe that a lack of maternal instinct or feeling is a character flaw or a moral failing;- You come o [...]

    5. A novel that's elegant & overly articulate. So much dexterity is on display here ("Damn what an amazing writer" is a perpetual thought while reading this), with a prose made by some wizard's alchemy, a talent-filled intuition, and a distinct view that's brutal & uncomfortably honest. Shriver outshines even Flaubert himself: THIS is the core of feminism, of individualism (move over Madame Bovary you cared more for the idea of love than anything else, anyway, & never gave a hoot about [...]

    6. I did not like this book. Honestly, what was to like about it? 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!" Especially for a boo [...]

    7. 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 [...]

    8. This book should be sold at the pharmaceutical counter right next to birth control pills, I can’t think of a better deterrent for unwanted pregnancy. 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. It’s the story of Kevin, a lethal mix of nature and poor nurturing resulting in the child from hell. Yet it’s the character of his mother Eva that I fo [...]

    9. ---Immediate reaction after reading---I’m so horrified that I feel sick, and I’m nearly crying, not because of Kevin but for Kevin, and I don’t know who to blame anymore, or what to feel, or what to think. I only know that this book is unlike anything I’ve ever read, and in all likelihood, will ever read.How can I so deeply love a book that is this agonisingly ugly??---Full review---I knew before I started that reading this was going to be hard. We Need to Talk about Kevin is listed as o [...]

    10. 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 that "I don't know what I need to say but I need to say something, to talk about this with someone because this book won't keep quiet in my mind" feeling. I guess it's lucky that this was chosen for our latest group read then, because I filibu [...]

    11. 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.'' I don't care how many big words Shriver knows the meaning of. 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 [...]

    12. 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. Old.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 [...]

    13. 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 [...]

    14. 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! DO NOT HAVE ANOTHER BABY, DO NOT BUY A PET, AND FOR HEAVENS SAKE, DO NOT LET KEVIN BABYSIT!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 400 pages, I just had to keep reading to find [...]

    15. I give this one a couple of meager points for addressing the difficult subjectI 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 wh [...]

    16. It's hard to review this book when I am so appalled at what it represents. I appreciate the author's attempt to get into the whys and wherefores of teenage mass murderers, but I'm not sure the book deserves the attention it's gotten. While it definitely presents the story behind one such (fictional) criminal, I don't believe that Kevin's story is every school shooter's story. I think the relationship between mother and son (a son trying desperately to get a reaction from a mother who not only wa [...]

    17. 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. We Need to Talk About Kevin was it "Impossible to put down" as suggested on the front cover? No, out of the 400 pages of this book, I thought that the first 200 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 [...]

    18. Jesus christ this book was a waste of time.I bought it with high hopes. Boy was I wrong. I don’t even know where to begin. Basically every character in this book is an intolerable asshole. You're supposed to sympathize with them, but it's impossible because they are all such horrible people. The whole escapade turns in to a frustratingly unsatisfying schaudenfraud.Chapter after chapter contains nothing but the characters going OUT OF THEIR WAY to make you hate them. I hope this was intentional [...]

    19. It's official: I'm in love with Lionel Shriver. First of all, she writes novels that should be gimmicky, but are not. InThe Post-Birthday World she employs a doubled narrative that splits in two at its heroine's defining moment of choice/will/agency, what have you. InWe Have to Talk About Kevin she goes for the epistolary form. But in both cases, the "device" is perfectly matched to the content, like an igloo (form follows function y'all). The meaning of the novel is bound to its form. Second of [...]

    20. MIO FIGLIO È UNA TERRA STRANIERALa signora Shriver nasce Margaret Ann, poi a 15 anni decide che quel nome non le piace e che per lei un nome maschile è sicuramente più adatto: forse per protestare contro una famiglia eccessivamente religiosa, forse perché troppo spesso si sentiva definire ‘maschiaccia’. Così, sceglie e adotta per sé il nuovo nome di Lionel - quasi una dichiarazione di guerra.La mamma (Tilda Swinton) con Kevin (Ezra Miller) nel film omonimo di Lynne Ramsay, 2011.Lionel [...]

    21. Το We Need to Talk About Kevin μάλλον θα το έχει πάρει το αυτί σας. Ανήκουν σε αυτά τα μυθιστορήματα που είναι γνωστά στους βιβλόφιλους, έχουν καθιερωθεί στο αναγνωστικό ασυνείδητο ως "καλά βιβλία", ακόμα κι αν δεν ξέρει κανείς κανέναν που να τα έχει διαβάσει. Συνήθως έχουν γίνει και ται [...]

    22. This is an uncomfortable read. It is like you are peering right into someone’s soul, maybe someone you know and maybe you don’t always like what you see. Still there are things to like here, things that every one not familiar with this tale would recognize. Good things. Sadly they are pretty much obliterated by the darker themes of this story.It can be both uncomfortable and compelling, to think about the private thoughts of others. I think we would all be protective of many of our innermost [...]

    23. Ordinary People spawn Rosemary's Baby! What a toxic brew of utterly abhorrent characters. Riveting, disturbing and unputdownable; but, very well written.

    24. It is now abundantly clear to me why this novel is such a popular selection for book clubs the world over -- it is a family saga that features a sordid tragedy, filled with abhorrent, compelling, wretched, titillating detail. It is a book meant to conquer and divide its readers, elicit strong emotion, a take-no-prisoners approach that leaves you anything but detached and unmoved. I can't imagine anyone coming to the end of this ordeal (for it is an ordeal) and not have some opinion, if not a ple [...]

    25. 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. This is not [...]

    26. In two of her novels, Shriver is not afraid to write about subjects which stick in the craw of most American's today. In her 2010 novel, So Much for That she tackled to American health care system and in 2003 in We Need to Talk About Kevin, it was school shootings. The story consists of Eva Khatchadourian's letters to her husband Franklin; they start from twelve months after their son Kevin has done the unthinkable and killed seven classmates, one teacher and a cafeteria worker. Eva is looking b [...]

    27. This book scared the living crap out of me. (living crap? Really? Is there another kind? I mean, is it dead when it’s out of you? I’m sorry… not getting it)I kind of sort of knew the gist of the book. It was a rubbernecker… something to do with a deviant child, national tragedy, bandwagon message but I was not expecting this. It is so well written, so proper in its delivery that it takes awhile to warm up to the protagonist as she writes these letters to her husband post trauma or as she [...]

    28. Onvan : We Need to Talk About Kevin - Nevisande : Lionel Shriver - ISBN : 006112429X - ISBN13 : 9780061124297 - Dar 400 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2003

    29. The short review: HOLY CRAP YOU GUYS NOBODY TOLD ME THERE'D BE EYEBALL STUFF I HATE EYEBALL STUFF THIS BOOK IS SCARY AS &$#%! HOW DO I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH?The details: A few weeks ago, a GR friend of mine reviewed a book about women who are regretlessly childless. (Yes, my spellchecker just told me "regretlessly" isn't a word. It is now.) A troll swaggered over to the comment section and mansplained that he knows plenty of women who wish they'd had kids when they had the chance, so all us [...]

    30. Είναι συγκλονιστικό από την πρώτη σελίδα, αλλά στο τέλος ειδικά δεν σε αφήνει να το αφήσεις. Εκφράζει αλήθειες και φόβους που φωλιάζουν στο μυαλό κάθε γυναίκας που σκέφτεται να κάνει οικογένεια. Είναι τρομακτικό το πόσο ακριβές είναι στην περιγραφή της ιδιοσυγκρασίας των [...]

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