We Need to Talk About Kevin and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Vous voulez voir cette page en français ? Cliquez ici.

Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Start reading We Need to Talk About Kevin on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

We Need to Talk About Kevin [Hardcover]

Lionel Shriver
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)

Available from these sellers.


Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition CDN $12.69  
Hardcover --  
Paperback CDN $13.36  
Audio, CD, Audiobook --  
Join Amazon Student in Canada


Book Description

March 25 2003
A stunning examination of how tragedy affects a town, a marriage, and a family, for readers of Rosellen Brown's Before and After and Jane Hamilton's A Map of the World . That neither nature nor nurture bears exclusive responsibility for a child's character is self-evident. But such generalizations provide cold comfort when it's your own son who's just opened fire on his fellow students and whose class photograph--with its unseemly grin--is blown up on the national news. The question of who's to blame for teenage atrocity tortures our narrator, Eva Khatchadourian. Two years ago, her son, Kevin, murdered seven of his fellow high-school students, a cafeteria worker, and a popular algebra teacher. Because he was only fifteen at the time of the killings, he received a lenient sentence and is now in a prison for young offenders in upstate New York. Telling the story of Kevin's upbringing, Eva addresses herself to her estranged husband through a series of letters. Fearing that her own shortcomings may have shaped what her son has become, she confesses to a deep, long-standing ambivalence about both motherhood in general and Kevin in particular. How much is her fault? We Need to Talk About Kevin offers no pat explanations for why so many white, well-to-do adolescents--whether in Pearl, Paducah, Springfield, or Littleton--have gone nihilistically off the rails while growing up in suburban comfort. Instead, Lionel Shriver tells a compelling, absorbing, and resonant story while framing these horrifying tableaux of teenage carnage as metaphors for the larger tragedy--the tragedy of a country where everything works, nobody starves, and anything can be bought but a sense of purpose.

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought


Product Details


Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

A number of fictional attempts have been made to portray what might lead a teenager to kill a number of schoolmates or teachers, Columbine style, but Shriver's is the most triumphantly accomplished by far. A gifted journalist as well as the author of seven novels, she brings to her story a keen understanding of the intricacies of marital and parental relationships as well as a narrative pace that is both compelling and thoughtful. Eva Khatchadourian is a smart, skeptical New Yorker whose impulsive marriage to Franklin, a much more conventional person, bears fruit, to her surprise and confessed disquiet, in baby Kevin. From the start Eva is ambivalent about him, never sure if she really wanted a child, and he is balefully hostile toward her; only good-old-boy Franklin, hoping for the best, manages to overlook his son's faults as he grows older, a largely silent, cynical, often malevolent child. The later birth of a sister who is his opposite in every way, deeply affectionate and fragile, does nothing to help, and Eva always suspects his role in an accident that befalls little Celia. The narrative, which leads with quickening and horrifying inevitability to the moment when Kevin massacres seven of his schoolmates and a teacher at his upstate New York high school, is told as a series of letters from Eva to an apparently estranged Franklin, after Kevin has been put in a prison for juvenile offenders. This seems a gimmicky way to tell the story, but is in fact surprisingly effective in its picture of an affectionate couple who are poles apart, and enables Shriver to pull off a huge and crushing shock far into her tale. It's a harrowing, psychologically astute, sometimes even darkly humorous novel, with a clear-eyed, hard-won ending and a tough-minded sense of the difficult, often painful human enterprise.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* 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 with his crossbow. Guiltily she recalls how, as a successful writer, she was terrified of having a child. Was it for revenge, then, that from the moment of his birth Kevin was the archetypal difficult child, screaming for hours, refusing to nurse, driving away countless nannies, and intuitively learning to "divide and conquer" his parents? When their daughter, loving and patient Celia, is born, Eva feels vindicated; but as the gap between her view of Kevin as a "Machiavellian miscreant" and Franklin's efforts to explain away their son's aberrant behavior grows wider, they find themselves facing divorce. 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. Deborah Donovan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
It's still difficult for me to venture into public. Read the first page
Explore More
Concordance
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A horror story for our age June 12 2005
Format:Paperback
Kevin Katchadourian is a parent's worst nightmare: a sullen child who abuses, manipulates, and controls everyone around him. Eva, his mother, seems to know something is terribly wrong with her son from the moment she gives birth, as he grasps for his father and turns a baleful eye towards his mother. As he gets older, Eva's maternal instincts about her dark child places him at the center of incident after incident: playgoups that are dismantled; misterious bike accidents; sexual precocity. As Kevin grows up and Eva bears a beautiful young daughter, the family dynamic becomes even more explosive as she and her husband Franklin take sides against Kevin and his malevolence.
The inorexible march towards the conclusion - Kevin's violent and methodical attack on his classmates - made my stomach tie itself up in knots. Eva is helpless as he controls the Katchadourians and eventually destroys everyone around him.
Taking the form of letters written to her husband, Franklin, Eva reflects on her marriage, her children, the nature of violence and hypocrisy in America, and what it feels like to be the mother of a disturbed and dangerous child. This is not a light book, but it is a necessary one. Her inability to mother Kevin is perhaps an insightful look at those women who bore the real-life School Killers, and Lionel Shriver should be congratulated on her brave and difficult work.
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There's Something Wrong With That Kid May 24 2012
By Jonathan Stover TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
The novel's back-cover blurb makes no secret of the horror shown only at its climax -- a 1999 New York school shooting perpetrated by 15-year-old Kevin, the son of successful tourbook writer Eva Khatchadourian and advertising location scout Franklin Plaskett. There's nothing to spoiler in the bare facts. Nearly two years later, Eva struggles to make sense of her intensely problematic relationship with her now-imprisoned son in a series of letters to her "estranged husband" (so the blurb also tells us).

If it matters to the reader, Lionel Shriver is a woman -- she changed her first name in her late teens, as she hated her given name. The school shooting in the novel takes place 11 days before Columbine, and this does get repeatedly mentioned in the novel, as do a number of other real-life school shootings from the 1990's.

Anyway, it's the details of this detail-oriented novel that shouldn't be spoiled: Eva's lacerating and self-lacerating evaluations of herself and others drive the book. Is she a reliable narrator? Was Kevin born bad, made bad, or resulted from a combination of the two? Well, that's the novel, isn't it?

I note that some reviewers have referred to this novel as a "thriller," though there's nothing thrilling about it: I found it difficult to put down, but not because I was having a wild romp. You're stuck inside Eva's head for the entire novel, and that's going to be trying for a lot of readers. She isn't instantly sympathetic. I'm not entirely sure that she's even finally sympathetic, a judgement I'd extend to the two other main characters of the novel, her husband Franklin Plaskett and the eponymous Kevin.

Plaskett needs desperately to believe in the possibility of the American Dream's happy nuclear family.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not a happy book Sept. 24 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is well worth reading, but it does not take you to a happy place. The subject is disturbing and the struggle between mother and son very real. The outcome surprised me and left a lasting image. This is not a book you will easily forget.
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haunting and mesmerizing June 25 2007
By Samantha TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
While all of Shriver's books grab me by the second page, despite some slight pretentions, this book is outstanding in its honesty and depth of character development. These fictional people are etched indelibly in my mind. Her unique style of making you hate her characters but wanting the best outcome for them is genius. This is not a fun read, by any measures, but one that won't disappoint. It is a vastly disturbing, devouring but strangely satisfying masterpiece fit for those greedy for darkly thematic literature.
Was this review helpful to you?
4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read in Spite of Itself April 21 2004
Format:Hardcover
I have to address this book on two levels.
The first concerns the writing and the story. Shriver builds the interest by teasing us with offhand facts that later come to bear. Some of the story didn't make much sense until a few or a lot of pages later. Although you think you know the story (since it is written both as a current narrative and as a recap of past events through Eva's letters to her husband), it doesn't play out at you think it will.
Other reviewers say that it is slow-going at the beginning, but this is merely because Shriver is laying the groundwork.
This book is un-put-down-able because of the numerous Oh-my-God moments that happen in the story.
What cost this book its fifth star is that I simply could not believe that Eva and Franklin could let things escalate as they have. Am I the only one who thinks that Eva and Franklin forgot early on that they were the parents and that Kevin was the child? If I had pulled even a quarter of the stuff Kevin does, I would have felt consequences in no uncertain terms, and swiftly. Maybe things have changed since I was a kid, and when I was a parent too fifteen or so years ago. Do they still have military school these days for six-year-olds?
Also, Eva is the kind of person that just invites being taken down a peg or two. From the first page I was dreading having to read a whole bookful of her pretentious dialogue. Shriver's masterful turn at constructing the narrative makes it bearable (see, it's rubbing off on me!).
Once you apply a little extra suspension-of-belief, you will be in for a very gratifying and disturbing read.
Was this review helpful to you?
Want to see more reviews on this item?
Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting book
This book,was recommended to me and I am very glad I read it. Very disturbing, but interesting and well written. Definitely gives you things to think about.
Published 3 months ago by Eileen Land
3.0 out of 5 stars Good build up - disappointing ending.
**Spoiler alert**

Ultimately, I was disappointed in this movie, because of the lack of resolution. Read more
Published 5 months ago by M Sockel
5.0 out of 5 stars This book stays with you
I purchased this book based on a side bubble in a magazine that said it was a story about the ultimate bad seed. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Cherry Barrel
5.0 out of 5 stars OMG!
I could not put this book down. It is terrifying, sad, but beautifully written. This is one of those books that has stayed with me. Read more
Published 14 months ago by arisonsensei
5.0 out of 5 stars Works well with an android app
I dislike propriety operating systems and lover android. I downloaded the kindle app free (buy android and get your apps free) and now can read Kindle stuff.
Published 16 months ago by ajeffrey
5.0 out of 5 stars We Need to Talk about Kevin
We Need to Talk about Kevin: one of my favourite books. A totally unique premise and really good writing. I've read it twice before and this was for a gift.
Published 16 months ago by Sue De Giacomi
5.0 out of 5 stars We Need to Talk About Kevin
Riveting and heartwrenching novel about motherhood gone awry. Incredible read, couldn't put it down. Read this before you see the movie, the book was (as always) much more amazing.
Published 18 months ago by Toni
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing, eerily honest reflection of a mother-son relationship
The author leads us through an analysis of her sons childhood, in an interesting and insightful format, as she speaks to her absent husband of multiple signs she saw in her son of... Read more
Published 19 months ago by P. Jarvis
5.0 out of 5 stars Takes a long time to get good
This book is written very well. It is an English lesson in itself! I think if you're an average reader like me, you may need to keep a dictionary close at hand. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Zsa Zsa
5.0 out of 5 stars We Need To Talk About Kevin
Excellent book. Much better then the movie. The book is a real page turner and is hard to put down.A good read from start to finish.
Published 21 months ago by Patty Reynolds
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Look for similar items by category


Feedback