Shriver, Lionel "We need to talk about Kevin" - 2003
What is going through the mind of a mass murderer? What is going through the mind of his mother? This book is trying to answer that question.
Eva is writing letters. Letters trying to explain to her husband how she never got close to their son. An interesting approach to the problem.
Being the mother of two sons myself, it was very hard for me to read this book and, yet, I couldn't put it down. Personally, I never met a child like that. I can hardly believe they exist. And, if he was really, how come she didn't get any help at all, nobody noticed that she couldn't do it on her own?
The marriage between the two seemed doomed from the beginning. And we all know that it is the worst idea to have a child in such a circumstance. A child, any child, will change the life of their parents, and they need to stick together in order to get through this. Even an uncomplicated child has sleepless nights, even the slowest child will try to "train" their parents and if they don't have a common rule, the child notices that straight away and will play the two against each other.
I don't think it's Eva's fault that her son turned out the way he turned out. I also don't think it's the father's fault but if he had been a little more understanding, things might have gone a different way. Of course, he probably sees it completely different and we would learn more if he had been able to tell his part of the story, as well.
Anyway, Lionel Shriver managed to get under the skin of both the mother and the son. I can't believe she has no children of her own, she described everything so well.
Even though the book itself was a shocker already, the end is even more shocking. I won't spoil it here for anyone who hasn't read the book, yet, but I did not think this was going to happen. And, yet, despite everything that has happened, it is very hopeful that Eva visits Kevin in prison and even wants him to come back to her after he has done his sentence.
Definitely a book everyone should read.
From the back cover:
"The gripping international bestseller about motherhood gone awry
Eva never really wanted to be a mother - and certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin’s horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklin. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails."