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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | November 13, 2019

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Book Review: We Need To Talk About Kevin

Book Review: We Need To Talk About Kevin

| On 03, Jan 2015

This novel is like watching a bus crash, but in a good way. You are 90% sure that something terribly awful is going to occur, but you are holding onto the hope that it doesn’t. Silly, naïve you.

Lionel Shriver’s psychological thriller certainly does a lot more than thrill. The in-depth character development causes the reader to completely humanise the characters, becoming attached and empathising with them. In Kevin’s case, it’s only inevitable that you will be seen grinding your teeth and subconsciously making a fist, as his infuriating character is further exposed.


It is simply engrossing in its suspense, and you will not want to put the book down until you know exactly what happened, and why. The form of narration of the novel impacts greatly on its emotive influence on the reader. Told in first person through letters from Kevin’s mother Eva to his father Franklin, we observe how Eva struggles to come to terms with her sociopath son and the murders he has committed.

We are gradually revealed more information about past events from Eva’s point of view, including the events that lead to the school massacre that landed Kevin in prison. If you are on the fence about whether you’ll have children or not, after this read, you’ll be turning that nursery into a home office before you can say “vasectomy”.


We Need to Talk About Kevin offers more shocking twists to wrap your head around than a garden maze after four glasses of wine. Put it on your must-read list for these summer holidays. Or, if your holidays are for lazing, not reading, you can watch the film adaptation, starring Tilda Swinton and John C. Reily.