Book Review: ‘We Need To Talk About Kevin’

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis: We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver is a series of letters written by Eva to her husband Franklin about their son Kevin. She writes about her visits to see Kevin in prison after he murdered fellow students, a teacher and a cafeteria worker in the gym of their school. The reader is given an insight into Eva’s mind with the story of Kevin’s upbringing and the time leading up to this event being told through her eyes.


My thoughts: I’ll warn you this is not the book for you if you are looking for a quick read. It took me a lot longer than a book of its length would normally take and it was a difficult book to get into. I decided to persevere as I had heard many good reviews and I am glad I did because it turned out to be a very interesting and thought-inducing read. Normally, when I read a book I feel disinclined to carry on reading when I find the characters to be unlikable and Eva is definitely that however the story made me want to read on. Having Eva presented this way as selfish and pessimistic works for the story, it creates questions for the reader as to the effects this had upon Kevin and makes us question whether her accounts of Kevin’s actions and the intentions behind them are bias because of her outlook. Kevin is an interesting character too, there is a sense of frustration that we are never able to see inside his head except what he has told Eva which wills the reader to continue reading in hopes that their questions will be answered. I was also impressed by the twist towards the end it was not something that I had personally guessed which I always find pleasing in a book as it gives a sudden change to the tone of the novel. The book itself is very well written, using articulate and intricate language. I would have to read another of Shriver’s books to see whether this is her writing style or whether this was the voice she chose to give to Eva. The voice does work well; Eva herself is a travel writer and very passionate about it so it would make sense for her writing style to be this way. Not only this but she is an arrogant character and so such a tone makes it seem like she is intending to show off how educated she is. The only downside to this is that it made it difficult to understand at times and so slowed down the reading of the book but then again allowing yourself more time to read this book will allow for you to really think. After speaking to my own mum about this book, I realised being a mother would definitely mean you have a different perceptive on this book as you would be able to more understand the difficulties a mother goes through with her children. Perhaps I would read it again if I ever had children of my own and see how my views towards it change. The book itself opens up much discussion as you are left with unanswered questions that force you to come to your own conclusions.


Would I recommend? Overall, I feel it is an important book to read as it gives a new perspective on life and allows the reader to contend with the ideas of nature vs nurture. I would definitely recommend this book as it different to anything I have read before and I see it sticking with me for a long time to come. The only reason I gave it four stars instead of five is because it was very difficult to get into at first!


Up next… Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce

Keep up with what I’m reading: goodreads.com/studentlifeandbeyond

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