Good lord. I don't half pick 'em. A haunting narrative to an estranged husband, the wife and mother (Eve) of a teenage boy who has murdered 9 of his classmates and 1 teacher in a high-school shooting incident tries to come to terms with the result of their foray into the dangerous and undiscussed potentially negative result of parenting.
We Need to Talk About Kevin struck several chords with me, notably the concerns and paranoia surrounding the perils of producing and raising children. 'They f**k you up, your mum and dad' certainly rings true here. A 'normal' couple in a 'normal' setting upon closer inspection reveal conflicting and unnerving reasons for having children. Eve's giving in to her husband's need and her expectation of the picture-perfect child are confounded in a baby that will not play, will not nurse and will not stop crying.
Kevin grows into a child who refuses to be potty trained, refuses to speak until he has privately learnt the basics himself and, as far as Eve is concerned, refuses to be loved.
What happens if you don't love your own child? What happens if you don't like your own child? What happens if its presence, its actions and its temperament unnerve your very soul? What happens if his actions are wholly reprehensible and abhorrent? Whose fault does he become?
Again, this book is a page-turner, and at the point I realised that the narrative was about to climax, I shut myself in my room, swearing at my partner to leave me alone in spite of my swallowed wails. Eve's character has undoubtedly been dragged through the emotional spectrum, but somewhere in the narrative, a space is found to allow the reader the potential to understand or at least try to comprehend Kevin and all that he is and represents.
This is an incredibly strong prose style, thoughtful and provocative, and I would be interested to read the comments of those of you who have completed the exhausting journey. Please, though, don't give away the twist in your comments. I absolutely did not see it coming and I wouldn't want to betray its disemboweling effect on my abdoment to any other.