Tuesday, July 30, 2013

We Need to Talk About Kevin; Lionel Shriver -- - Beware --Spoilers Galore -- Rambling Thoughts on the book and the movie

Recorded Books audio book 
narrated by Barbara Rosenblat
For those of you who haven't read or watched the movie, We Need to Talk About Kevin, it's a gut-wrenching story that I think will stick with me forever. it is also one of those stories that make you question, what you would do if you were faced with a similar situation. It is a story I will never forget and certainly, I can certainly understand why Lionel Shriver won the Orange Prize in 2005, I highly recommend both if you think you are up for this story.

The novel begins with the narrator, Eva Khatchadourian, mother of Kevin, writing a series of letters to her former husband Franklin. Their son Kevin committed a horrific act a few years earlier, just a few days before his 16th birthday. It is through these letters that the readers get a glimpse into the head of the mother, who never wanted to have a child in the first place -- she admits to this. The reader could easily fill a small notebook with the parenting missteps of both parents -- they made me angry -- very angry, especially the mother Eva.  But, then at times I had to take a step back and question whether there was such a thing as "the bad seed" or is it just bad parenting that creates sociopaths and future killers.

Kevin clearly had issues early on in life, but I never really got a good sense of maternal nurturing going on in this family, especially during those important first 12 months of life.  I'll get off my high horse about Eva's shortcomings and say at times I felt sorry for her to have to deal with all of Kevin's issues alone. How awful that her husband didn't believe the things she told him about Kevin.  Then I got really mad, I had to ask myself, if motherhood was such a horrible experience for Eva from the get-go, why in the world would she have another child?  The two children were not that close in age so why would would Eva think motherhood the second time would be make things better in her life?

In a nutshell - both the book and the movie were gritty and haunting, yet unbelievably brilliant.  I read the book first and as I read I was filled with dread and a sense of impending doom. I I kept asking myself as I listened to the audiobook, what horrible thing would happen next? The movie was terrific as well and each cast member was perfect for their part IMO: , and
SPOILERS - How the Book and Movie Differs

Although the book followed the movie pretty closely, there were a few differences. For example, in the book the mother and father actually divorce, but in the movie, they only talk about it.  I also thought that Eva, the mother, at times seemed to try to mother Kevin, whereas in the book, I never felt that for a minute.  Unfortunately, his obsession with archery and Robin Hood, started early -- it was the one book that he allowed his mother to read and read and read to him over and over again.  The biggest difference however, was the fact that in the movie, the father and sister died at the hands of Kevin. ......OMG...today, Aug 12th...my coworker and discussed the book and we disagreed about the ending in the book, versus the movie ending.....so together we read the last chapter of the book (at work...LOL), and she was right....the ending was the same both, but the way Shriver worded one sentence, made me think differently initially.


  1. Yay! I'm so pleased that you found this as powerful as I did. I was very worried about watching the movie, but in the end I was impressed by what they did. The book was far better, but I thought they did a good job - especially Tilda Swinton. Glad you've finally ticked it off your TBR pile :-)

  2. Oh, how I loved this book! At first I was angry at the mother, then I was angry at the father (for his blind faith in Kevin), then I was angry at both, and finally I was angry at Kevin. This book was a gut wrenching roller coaster ride! I haven't seen the movie but I want to

  3. I really must read this - it keeps being recommended to me, and I've never read any Lionel Shriver at all (a sad failing!).

  4. I haven't read the book but have seen the movie. I would like to listen to the audio though and I noticed my library does have it. First off I think people that don't want kids should not have them. No matter whether you try or not that child will always feel that distance. Do I think that parenting is always the reason a kid turns out bad - no. Some just are - I've seen it a few times even with my own family. I thought the movie was powerful but I'm saddened to see the differences. I think movies should follow books just as they are.

  5. This was one of the most intense books I've ever read. It was amazing, but disturbing.

  6. I loved the book and now I will so be watching the movie!

  7. I loved the book, didn't care for the movie. I wonder if I was anticipating for two hours and it moved so slowly.

    Glad it worked for you though - Kevin is one of my top 5 books that has 'stayed' with me so I was hoping for the same experience on film. I set myself up for to not like it!

  8. I couldn't read it or watch the movie! :<)

  9. I really do need to watch this movie. I read the book years ago and it really has stayed with me much more than almost any book I've ever read. So much to think about, so horrific. Brilliant is the perfect word to describe this one.

  10. I skipped most of your post, since I'm one of the few who have never read this book. My library doesn't have it on audio, but I've added it to my wish list. I love Barbara Rosenblat, so I think I'll hold out until I can get it on audio. One of these days, I'm going to have to join Audible.com.


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