I had owned my copy of We Need To Talk About Kevin for some time, at least a year, before I started reading it. It was my friend Michelle who told me “You have to read it. It’s totally your kind of book.” So I picked it up. And about fifteen pages into it, I emailed Michelle: I don’t like this woman. Am I supposed to like her? She sounds like she thinks she’s smarter than everyone else. Am I going to hate her the whole time I read this book? And does Franklin ever reply to her letters?

Michelle, because she knows I do not like to be spoiled with a book, told me to just keep reading.  Talk about intense.  I know I’ve used that word in a fair number of other reviews, but really, what other word fits for a novel about the aftermath of a mass killing at your child’s school? Except in this case, your child wasn’t a victim. Your child was the killer, and is now incarcerated for the crime.

If you spend your child’s early years wondering why you don’t connect with him, perhaps resenting this screaming, wailing, manipulative child, are you a bad mother?  What if you see warning signs in your child, but no one will listen to you?  Can a mother’s love surpass even the most unimaginable of circumstances? Those are just some of the questions Lionel Shriver explores in We Need To Talk About Kevin.

In all honesty, I never really warmed to Eva, Kevin’s mother and narrator of the story.  I am not sure I would like her, if she were a real person. But I felt as though I got to know her. And the story certainly made me think. If you’re a parent, is there anything that your child could do that would make you stop loving them?  I found myself having to look up some of the “vocabulary” words in this book- I think part of the reason I didn’t like Eva.  But at the same time, I found myself pitying her.   Shriver provides a fascinating glimpse into a psychotic personality, the power of guilt, and the power of love.

Although it took me several pages to really want to know what happened, I ended up enjoying (being glad I read?) We Need To Talk About Kevin. It’s one of those books that stays with you for a while after you finish it. You’re conflicted, and creeped out and unsettled at the end. It touches a nerve, much like life.