We Need to Talk About Kevin

We Need to Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver 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!