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

How to stay motivated in lockdown

With it being three months into lockdown, it can seem like this is never ending. For some people this is the new normal and they have completely taken to the situation, others not so much. I personally have found myself lacking in motivation recently. At the start of lockdown, I was being so productive; working out six times a week, focusing on uni work and trying new recipes.  Over time however, I realised staying at home was not my thing but knew it was important and so I worked on finding things to motivate me and keep me busy at home. Read my top tips of what you can do to stay productive during the remainder of the lockdown period.


Have a routine – keeping to a routine will help you feel put together, I try to wake up at the same time every day, eat at the same time and then go to sleep at the same time. I’ve found this makes me feel a lot more productive than if I have a lie in as then I feel I’ve lost a large part of the day.  Also having that routine will give a sense of normality! 

Set goals – a to-do list works perfectly as once you’ve done tasks you can tick them off and you get that satisfaction of seeing them complete especially when you’ve finished all your tasks for the day. Be sensible and don’t bite off more than you can chew as this can have the opposite effect if you don’t complete all your goals because you don’t have the time. Having a set plan of things you want to do will allow for you to be productive rather than just procrastinating all day and then realising you actually got nothing done. 

Exercise – the most difficult thing about exercise for me is actually motivating myself to do it but once I’ve started, I find it to be really enjoyable.  The best way I find to motivate myself to work out is to think about how good I will feel afterwards. With all the gyms closed, I have been doing at home workouts. If you go on YouTube there are so many to choose from, they’re great because they tell you what to do and often help you focus on particular areas; whether that’s cardio, HIIT or weight training. 

Get fresh air – there’s nothing worse than being stuck inside all day and at a time like this it’s important to go out and safely get some fresh air. Most days I like to go for a little walk; whether that’s to the shop or just a walk around the block.  Not only does it make me feel refreshed, but I find it breaks up my day, when I get back, I feel ready to be productive again. 

Use the time you have – remember that this is a time unlike any others, many people will be at home without a job, if this is you, you now have time that you would never have had before. This means you finally have the time to do things that you’ve been meaning to do for a long time. I found time to do a clear out of my bedroom, really get into reading and start up a blog. These are things that now I’ve got into them I will be able to implement into my everyday life so if you’ve got a hobby you’ve wanted to start for a while now, why not take the plunge. 

Keep in touch with friends – this is such an important one, lockdown can begin to feel very lonely even if you are living with people. You are constantly surrounded by the same people which might make you feel you need a break and to see new faces. Me and my friends have done facetimes and quizzes to keep ourselves occupied during lockdown and with the new rules you can now have a lovely social distance picnic in the park (provided the rain holds off). Also, try to check in on your friends and be there for them if they are struggling to adjust to this new way of living. 

Remember this is an unusual time – all these tips are great ways to improve your productivity during lockdown but remember we are living in unprecedented times and so things aren’t normal. If that means you feel less motivated then that’s okay, you need to do what’s best for you. It can be difficult seeing everyone else appearing to be very productive but remember, especially with social media, they only show you what they want you to see, don’t feel the need to compete with other people. This is a great time to just take some me time! If you want a break from your busy, productive life, relax and do what feels right.