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We Need to Talk About Kevin: A Novel (P.S.)…
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We Need to Talk About Kevin: A Novel (P.S.) (original 2003; edition 2006)

by Lionel Shriver

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,919326705 (4.09)1 / 634
Member:912greens
Title:We Need to Talk About Kevin: A Novel (P.S.)
Authors:Lionel Shriver
Info:Harper Perennial (2006), Edition: Movie Tie-In, Paperback, 400 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:fiction, "mental instability", killers, murder, family, mothers, prison, schools, archery

Work details

We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (2003)

Recently added byaimeereadstn, alo1224, private library, EmiDanielle, rjonesy27, Samantha_D, MMnBB, klrrrrrr
  1. 91
    Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (bnbookgirl, BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Both of these novels are about school shootings and the alienated teenage boys responsible for them. 'We need to talk about Kevin' depicts the complex relationships within the shooter's family, whereas 'Nineteen minutes' focuses on the larger community affected by the event.… (more)
  2. 81
    Columbine by Dave Cullen (GCPLreader)
  3. 60
    The Fifth Child by Doris Lessing (christiguc, humppabeibi)
    christiguc: Both are books that explore the nature vs. nurture question in disturbing situations.
  4. 50
    Before and After by Rosellen Brown (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: Both of these novels tell haunting, harrowing stories about the family relationships of teenage boys who commit unthinkable crimes: in 'We need to talk about Kevin' a school shooting, and in 'Before and after' a teenager's murder of his girlfriend.… (more)
  5. 62
    Defending Jacob by William Landay (arielfl, Booksloth)
    arielfl: Both books are about bad seed boys who murder and who have mothers who have an inkling about their true nature and with fathers who deny, deny, deny.
  6. 30
    Hey Nostradamus! by Douglas Coupland (verenka)
    verenka: Both books deal with the aftermath of school shootings but from different perspectives.
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  8. 10
    The Dinner by Herman Koch (INTPLibrarian)
    INTPLibrarian: Disturbed child and parents dealing with it. Both with twists / unexpected parts.
  9. 10
    The Wrong Mother by Sophie Hannah (JeaniusOak)
    JeaniusOak: Both novels explore difficult themes surrounding Motherhood.
  10. 00
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English (309)  French (3)  German (3)  Dutch (3)  Italian (2)  Spanish (2)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (1)  All (325)
Showing 1-5 of 309 (next | show all)
I tried. it seemed more and more like a wine fest. ( )
  shadowdancer | Jun 22, 2017 |
Loving it so far.,... ( )
  Eye_Gee | May 8, 2017 |
I really loved this book although I do question how realistic it actually was...can children really be born evil to the core, as I believe Kevin was in this novel? I'm not completely sure of the answer to that but this book certainly addresses the age old question of nature vs. nurture and leaves me wondering how much responsibility, and blame, if any, should be placed upon parents when their child does something horribly wrong like massacring his classmates. I suppose the answer to that differs from case to case but in the example of Kevin, I don't believe that his mother, Eva, was in any way at fault or responsible for the actions of her son and like I said- the boy was basically the devils spawn and evil through and through. Shriever did a great job with the character development in this book, particularly with Kevin, because I can honestly say I absolutely hated him from the time he was only a toddler and I found myself extremely satisfied when Eva threw 6 year old Kevin across the room after he intentionally shit his pants for the third time in an hour. That must make me sound horrible to those who haven't read this book, wishing harm upon a 6 year old, but he was such a calculated, manipulating, vindictive, mean spirited little twit that I couldn't help myself. And was he ever smart! The way he took the divide and conquer approach on his parents, outsmarting his father and playing him like a fiddle while his mother, who saw him for the monster he really was, was made to look like a heartless, unstable, crazy person because of it! As Kevin grew older and the little girl, Celia, was born and victimized by him I grew to hate him even more. Why Eva didn't take that sweet, kind, innocent little girl and run as fast and as far as she could from her evil son, who continued you grow progressively worse with age, is a mystery to me. I was appalled that she still continued to visit her son after he was incarcerated. If he had killed only his classmates (not to minimize the severity of that tragedy one bit) that would be one thing, but the fact that he killed his father and sister, Eva's husband and daughter, seems absolutely unforgivable for any parent, ever! Not to mention he didn't have one single iota of remorse for anything he'd done and continued to bask in the glory of his fame, comparing himself to other teenage killers and gloating about it when Eva visited him. The fact that she was ultimately willing to forgive him and had a room in her home ready and waiting for him to move into after he was released from his slap-on-the-wrist seven year sentence made me sick to my stomach. It was far from the ending I would have concocted for Kevin had I been the author. I found the need to remind myself quite often while reading this book that it's just a story, this didn't really happen, Kevin doesn't exist, and there's no point getting upset and angry over a fictional character, lol! That's one reason why I love this book so much, because it is very convincing and able to evoke such strong emotions, what more could anyone ask of a book? Directly after I finished the book I watched the movie adaptation on Netflix and that was extremely disappointing. There was so much left out of the movie that I feel sorry for those who didn't read the book and only watched the movie because so much would have been missed, overlooked and unexplained, like reading cliff notes instead of an entire novel. I guess the general message was still there but it was so much more powerful, with much better delivery, in print format, imo. Again, I struggle to think of this book as realistic because it's truly scary to think some children are just born rotten to the core but it's certainly a great form of birth control because I would rather remain abstinent then risk bringing a child like Kevin into this world.
I gave this book an easy five star rating because although I didn't agree with the way Eva continued to support her son and even forgive him, ultimately, this was undeniably a thought provoking and emotion evoking novel that was well written and extremely compelling. I highly recommend it! ( )
  JordanAshleyPerkins | Jan 26, 2017 |
I didn't like the writing style; a series of letters written to her husband about her child who was a mass murderer. I tried for 5 days to get into the book, but just wasn't enjoying reading. Kind of made me feel how kids must feel when required to read a book they don't enjoy at school. So, I ordered the movie on Netflix.
( )
  jothebookgirl | Jan 3, 2017 |
Amazing. One of the most devastatingly smart books that I have ever read. ( )
  Gordon.Edgar | Nov 29, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 309 (next | show all)
A powerful, gripping and original meditation on evil
 
At a time when fiction by women has once again been criticised for its dull domesticity, here is a fierce challenge of a novel by a woman that forces the reader to confront assumptions about love and parenting, about how and why we apportion blame, about crime and punishment, forgiveness and redemption and, perhaps most significantly, about how we can manage when the answer to the question why? is either too complex for human comprehension, or simply non-existent.
 
The epistolary method Shriver uses, letters to Eva's absent husband, strains belief, yet ultimately that's not what trips us up. It's Eva's relentless negativity that becomes boring and repetitive in the first half of the book, the endless recounting of her loss of svelteness, her loss of freedom.
added by stephmo | editSalon.com, Barbara O'Dair (Aug 12, 2004)
 
Maybe there are books to be written about teenage killers and about motherhood, but this discordant and misguided novel isn't one of them.
added by stephmo | editThe Guardian, Sarah A. Smith (Nov 15, 2003)
 
A little less, however, might have done a lot more for this book. A guilt-stricken Eva Khatchadourian digs into her own history, her son's and the nation's in her search for the responsible party, and her fierceness and honesty sustain the narrative; this is an impressive novel, once you get to the end.

 

» Add other authors (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lionel Shriverprimary authorall editionscalculated
Trouw, MiekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
A child needs your love most when he deserves it least.
--Erma Bombeck
Dedication
For Terri
One worst-case scenario we've both escaped.
First words
I'm unsure why one trifling incident this afternoon has moved me to write to you.
Every now again, one of those books comes along that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand on end when you read it. (Introduction)
I can roughly divide my novels into two stacks. (Afterword)
Quotations
You were ambitious - for your life, what it was like when you woke up in the morning, and not for some attainment.  Like most people who did not answer a particular calling from an early age, you placed work beside yourself; any occupation would fill up your day but not your heart.  I liked that about you.  I liked it enormously.
Only a country that feels invulnerable can afford political turmoil as entertainment.
You never wanted to have me, did you?
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
Eva never really wanted to be a mother; certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker and a teacher who tried to befriend him. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood and Kevin's horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her absent husband, Franklyn. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 006112429X, Paperback)

The gripping international bestseller about motherhood gone awry

Eva never really wanted to be a mother—and certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin’s horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklin. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:48 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Eva Khatchadourian writes to her estranged husband Frank, trying to solve what went wrong in raising their son Kevin after he kills seven classmates and a teacher in his high school in upstate New York.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 1921145080, 192175849X

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