Mondays are a busy time of the week for me: it is the day on the calendar when life comes rushing in and all the errands and tasks that I put on pause for the weekend start yelling at me to be completed. Which is why I am so. thankful. for audiobooks. Mondays on the blog are dedicated as a day to share and review my recent audiobook reads.
Today I start an online class on Plant Anatomy as part of my double B.S. in biology and science education, so I will definitely be appreciating the books more now that my free time this summer has been curbed and I am required to multi task more.
Eva Khatchadourian’s son is a murderer who killed seven of his classmates and two adults before his sixteenth birthday. A son she never loved. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver is her correspondence with her estranged husband about the events leading up to it. No stone is left unturned as she reflects on her career, her marriage, her own mother, and her relationship with her family. It is a raw book that shines a light into the dark recesses that is the human psyche.
Quite frankly, it was not until the end of the book did I truly sympathize with any of the characters. I found the whole family abhorrent. Many times while reading the book I grew frustrated and started complaining to my husband about one person or another. I find it hard to fully embrace a book where I can’t root for at least one character, but I kept hanging on in the hopes that someone would redeem them self.
- Kevin: serial killer and child to Eva and Franklin. The boy is unapologetic and cold, a locked box incapable of empathy or kindness. He is vindictive and spiteful, performing ever increasing despicable acts to everyone around him.
- Franklin: super dad who believes his son can do no wrong and always takes the child’s side over his wife’s. Uber Reagan-era idealist who is trying to relive his 2.5 children and white picket fence childhood. Only better.
- Eva: narrator and the worldly wife who has traveled everywhere and enters motherhood with grandiose views of motherhood as a self-gratifying adventure. She is pretentious and artificial, a woman who knows her son is off but does not get him the professional help he needs, opting to keep up the appearance of a happy wholesome family.
The novel is one that opens a lot of room for discussion. Since we know Kevin is guilty from the very opening, the book is not so much about the crime itself, but the events leading up to it. It was a very searing look into parenting and the dark places within it. Parenting is not all rainbows and sunshine, there are challenging moments and times when a mom or dad might feel like they are floundering. There are moments when you will not be on the same page as your spouse, and moments when you quite frankly will not like the person you have brought into this world. I love that the book shreds through the taboo and confronts these unspoken truths head on.
This book is uncomfortable and twisted, and is a great illustration of the fact that it’s not so much about the destination of a journey, but how you get there that counts.
- So I have a hobby of watching movies after I read a book so I can pick them apart. Of course I had to watch the movie version with my husband as soon as I finished the book and my daughter was in bed.
I still can’t believe they cast John C. Reilly of Talladega Nights and Step Brothers fame as Franklin… And I thought they left some of the best parts of the book out (Kevin’s interactions with his peers), it was all very family centered.
- This interview with Shriver is eye opening and a great insight to her thoughts behind the book.
I certainly knew that if I was going to address a subject of a woman who essentially doesn’t like her own son—I don’t think that’s a minefield, I think that it’s just a mine…
- This psychologist’s perspective of Kevin in the movie was insightful and a great discussion into the question of whether or not some kids are born evil.
Question of the Day:
Please tell me I am not the only one who picks apart movies based off of books! It’s probably my most favorite pass time.