Release Date: 3rd July 2006
Publisher: Serpent's Tail
Add it: Goodreads
Eva never really wanted to be a mother; certainly not of the 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 Kevin's horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband. Uneasy with the sacrifices of motherhood, Eva fears that her dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so drastically off the rails.
This was the most eerie freakin’ book, you guys. As soon as I finished it I had to sit down and go over what I had just read. The entire thing gave me chills. I’m pretty sure it gave me weird dreams.
So here’s the thing, Kevin is a creepy af child. Like, you read about him and you immediately want to salt the windows and doors, and burn some sage. But, actually, this is all told from his mother’s point of view. Eva seems to suffer with postnatal depression (I think, but please correct me if I’m wrong), which is part of the reason why she’s an unreliable narrator. The other reason is that you have to wonder if her view of her child has been skewed by the horrible act that he committed later in life. I imagine that if your child were to kill a bunch of people, you’d start to think differently of them, right? Her memories could well have been tainted.
And that’s what makes this book so great. Eva is one of the BEST unreliable narrators I’ve read about because the more you read, the more you question things, and then once the book is over you start to go over things more and more. It allows for a good analysis.
I’ve seen a few complaints about Shriver’s use of language, but to be honest it didn’t bother me at all. Eva, the narrator, uses some big words, yes. You could argue that this is largely unnecessary. Personally, I liked the colourful language, partly because it was well written, and partly because it fit with Eva’s character, as she used to be a travel writer.
I am so excited to watch the movie, because the book was truly fantastic and I’m excited to see how it plays out on screen. I’m going to have to find the right moment, though, because this is one of those stories that you have to be in the mood for.
Definitely give We Need to Talk About Kevin a go if you like dark stories, unreliable narrators, and are fascinated by the psychology behind mass murderers. Does that make me sound a little weird? Probably.