Wednesday, December 19

Bibliophile [we need to talk about kevin]

This was very, very good. And unfortunately, given the tragedy in Connecticut, rather timely.

We Need to Talk About Kevin, by Lionel Shriver

I didn't know this was a movie as well, so I imagine many more of you will have heard of this than I expected. It's a disturbing but compelling attempt to understand the mind of a killer. Here's the blurb:

In a series of brutally introspective missives to her husband, Franklin, from whom she is separated, Eva tries to come to grips with the fact that their 17-year-old son, Kevin, has killed seven students and two adults...In crisply crafted sentences that cut to the bone of her feelings about motherhood, career, family, and what it is about American culture that produces child killers, Shriver yanks the reader back and forth between blame and empathy, retribution and forgiveness. Never letting up on the tension, Shriver ensures that, like Eva, the reader grapples with unhealed wounds.

It was disquieting to say the least, but brilliantly written, heartbreaking and scary and funny. I was reading it when I went to Berlin, and it was almost compelling enough to keep me from exploring Europe. I think the less you know, the better; there aren't big twists, so to speak, but the story does unfold in an engaging way. By going back to the beginning of Kevin's life, I do think it takes a simplistic view as to what makes a killer- honestly, I think Shriver is a proponent of nature over nurture, which can be a bit disheartening. But even with this overly simplified explanation for Kevin's personality, the story is so well crafted as to make it worth the read, and touches on subjects other than violence, such as motherhood, travel, familial priorities, honesty, communication, and more. I was highlighting passages all day.

As I'm sure all of you agree, my thoughts and prayers are with the victims and families decimated by the shootings in CT. I'm sure that, for plenty of you, the LAST thing you want to read is a book about a school shooting, but for some, it may add to the dialogue.

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