“Harrowing, tense and thought-provoking.”

NO MAJOR SPOILERS

I’ve had We Need to Talk About Kevin recommended to me many times over the years and finally took it out of the library a week ago. It was a lot bigger than I expected coming in at almost 500 pages, and it’s a fairly substantial read too with a meandering, wordy prose.

The book is written in a series of letters to Eva’s husband, Franklin and reveal Eva’s innermost thoughts about her son, Kevin, giving the reader an insight from the moment of her pregnancy right through to ‘Thursday’ and beyond. It makes for pretty uncomfortable reading, and in parts, particular when Kevin was younger I found myself wondering if her perceptions were true, or whether she somehow built her own barriers between herself and her son; a self fulfilling prophecy if you like.

Given the ‘school massacre’ genre I expected the We Need to Talk About Kevin to be harrowing, but it was distressing for other reasons too. Eva’s honest account of the son she neither wants nor cares for is difficult to stomach in parts. Whether Kevin was a mischievous boy with a mother who emotionally scarred him, or whether he was born a psychopath is left for you to decide as Eva herself struggles with her conscience.

While I was reading I had to constantly remind myself this Kevin Khatchadourian didn’t actually commit a school massacre, and that Eva Khatchadourian didn’t really give her account in this book. It really is that good! In fact the only thing that gives it away is its sheer honesty, I don’t think the best writer could write with such brutal honesty if the tale in the book was true.

I found the first half of the novel slow, but the saying ‘plot builds character’ has never been more true than with this stunning masterpiece. I got to page 250, picked it up the next day and devoured the second half in 4 hours. A truly astonishing read, chilling, spine-tingling and brutally honest. This is a book everyone should read.

 

Reviewed by:

Kath Cross

Added 9th August 2015

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Kath Cross

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