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

by Lionel Shriver

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,342348961 (4.09)1 / 661
  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
    The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb (freddlerabbit)
  7. 30
    Hey Nostradamus! by Douglas Coupland (verenka)
    verenka: Both books deal with the aftermath of school shootings but from different perspectives.
  8. 10
    The Wrong Mother by Sophie Hannah (JeaniusOak)
    JeaniusOak: Both novels explore difficult themes surrounding Motherhood.
  9. 10
    The Dinner by Herman Koch (INTPLibrarian)
    INTPLibrarian: Disturbed child and parents dealing with it. Both with twists / unexpected parts.
  10. 00
    A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy by Sue Klebold (TheLittlePhrase)
  11. 22
    The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas (RidgewayGirl)
  12. 00
    Boy A by Jonathan Trigell (FemmeNoiresque)
  13. 00
    Little Star by John Ajvide Lindqvist (julienne_preacher)
  14. 12
    The Cement Garden by Ian McEwan (Monika_L)
  15. 03
    Empire Falls by Richard Russo (mcenroeucsb)
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English (331)  French (3)  German (3)  Dutch (3)  Italian (2)  Spanish (2)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (347)
Showing 1-5 of 331 (next | show all)
Hard to get through because some of it is really drawn out and most is just very unpleasant. The story is well done and unlike a lot I've read.

Throughout the book I was reminded of different situations I've been in during my 10 years working in the social work field. It was powerfully written to remind me of some rather awful situations. I am grateful all the time I don't work in that field as it wasn't for me. The author was really able to tap into those feelings dealing with that stuff. ( )
  jill1121 | Jun 1, 2019 |
After any tragedy we ask, why? We Need to Talk About Kevin offers up several possibilities for why Eva's monstrous son murdered several classmates, a teacher, and a custodian at his school gym. But it never labels one as The Answer, and for that, the book is much stronger.
We Need to Talk About Kevin functions as a character study of both Kevin and Eva, and how their antagonistic relationship progresses and worsens. Kevin is a chilling psychopath, but Eva uncovers moments of humanity. Eva herself is not entirely sympathetic, or even mostly. Kevin is evil and Eva is a terrible mother. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? At first, Eva is quick to blame her poor mothering skills on Kevin's total unlovability. But by the end, Eva, and the reader, wonders. ( )
  miri12 | May 31, 2019 |
We need to talk about Kevin.

Right now.

This novel consumed me. In a way my daily world revolved around that hour or so per night I could get back to the story. Some nights the Disturbing factor was off the charts and I felt uneasy; most nights I just left the book in rapt admiration at how each chapter ending left me dying to know how it would reach its inevitable violent climax.

I didn't even care about the secondary questions, like "Why does she stay in this marriage!?" and "Isn't Franklin drawn as just a little TOO much of a jerk? Why does she love him again?" The mother-son relationship mattered too much to care about the realism or frustration in the other relationship.

LOVED the conclusion. No spoilers ( )
  Tytania | May 18, 2019 |
Never has a book evoked so much emotion out of me. It was slow moving at first but well worth it if you can push through. To put it in perspective, it took me 3 years to get through the first half of the book and less than 3 days to get through the second half. And I'm so happy I got over the hump because the second half was quite a ride. It made me question my own life over and over, my parenting, my work, my biases, my relationships. I felt so much hate towards the characters, and also towards the author, which is a first for me. This book was very difficult to read not only because of the disturbing nature of the topic but the author's style of writing was painful. Long wordy passages that actually made me question my intelligence. I'd get so lost in the drawn out sentences and giant words I'd never seen before and then have to go back for context clues to figure things out. It was a lot of work and seemed so unnecessary. I felt like the author was deliberately trying to make me feel stupid and I think that fueled my anger towards the characters. Sometimes in the midst of my hate for a character, I'd be drawn out of the story and focus on my aggravation with the author. I have never experienced that before and while it was a bit distracting at times, I do give the author credit for reaching me on so many different levels. As I got deeper into the book I got used to her style and the passages started to come much easier. I finished the book with a lot of respect for the author.
The reward for the perseverance is phenomenal. ( )
  Kdichard09 | May 9, 2019 |
This book is deeply unsettling and haunting. It stays with you -- years later, I can still relay even small details about this book. It was an excellent book, despite it being a disturbing read. ( )
  mmacinnes | Apr 29, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 331 (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 (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lionel Shriverprimary authorall editionscalculated
Mosse, KateIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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)

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, 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."--Cover, p. [4].… (more)

» see all 11 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 1921145080, 192175849X

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