We Need to Talk About Kevin: A Novel Audiobook | Lionel Shriver | Audible.com
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We Need to Talk About Kevin: A Novel | [Lionel Shriver]

We Need to Talk About Kevin: A Novel

Eva never really wanted to be a mother - and certainly not the mother of a boy who ends up murdering seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his 16th birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin’s horrific rampage, in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklin.
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Publisher's Summary

Eva never really wanted to be a mother - and certainly not the mother of a boy who ends up murdering seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his 16th birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin’s horrific rampage, in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklin. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.

©2003 Lionel Shriver (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers

What the Critics Say

“Shriver handles this material, with its potential for cheap sentiment and soap opera plot, with rare skill and sense.” (Newark Star Ledger)

“A slow, magnetic descent into hell that is as fascinating as it is disturbing.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“Powerful [and] harrowing.” (Entertainment Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (483 )
5 star
 (253)
4 star
 (130)
3 star
 (47)
2 star
 (23)
1 star
 (30)
Overall
4.2 (419 )
5 star
 (229)
4 star
 (107)
3 star
 (42)
2 star
 (14)
1 star
 (27)
Story
4.2 (419 )
5 star
 (213)
4 star
 (123)
3 star
 (41)
2 star
 (19)
1 star
 (23)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    P. Porche Chicago, IL 01-29-12
    P. Porche Chicago, IL 01-29-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    3
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "For Every Person Who Knows a Kevin"

    This is a chilling story about what happens went parent(s) refuse to see their child as he really is. From the beginning Kevin is troubled; Eva's sees it, but Franklin refuses and that fuels Kevin's desires to torture his mother. I really enjoyed the epistolary format of this novel. That made Eva's story even more personal and made the reader feel as though she's reading very private correspondence.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    margaret marshall, va, United States 01-10-12
    margaret marshall, va, United States 01-10-12 Member Since 2010

    gentle reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
    21
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    34
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Boring"

    I was so disappointed because this story had great potential. Unfortunately, there is no story, just the character of the mother droning on incessantly. I listened for the first 2 hours and literally nothing happened. There is no action, no plot development, no narrative drive. It was excruciating. No to be fair, I turned it off after 2 hours so maybe it got way better at the end, I can't say.

    4 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Evelyn lawrence, KS, United States 05-30-12
    Evelyn lawrence, KS, United States 05-30-12 Member Since 2010

    Dweenaleena

    HELPFUL VOTES
    14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "No up side"

    Insufferably smug narrator. Intolerably pretentious writing style - like going to a minor hell where you're forced to hear the inner thoughts of someone who isn't very interesting. Telling, telling, and not showing. God. Somebody just shoot me now. Why did I download this thing?

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Saint Charles, MO, United States 04-09-14
    David Saint Charles, MO, United States 04-09-14 Member Since 2013

    An old tech geek with a love of reading, but with limited time. I love just about any genre'. A good book is a good book.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    19
    12
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Not for me, but maybe good for you"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I am not sure it could have been for me. I stopped early and returned it. It was both maudlin and politically pushy in the beginning offering very little story. I also did not like the narration style of the protagonist.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    I am looking for a great horror story. I don't want a slasher, I want the hair on the back of my neck to stand up.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    The performance was quite good. It could not shine because I was preoccupied by the story.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The performance was good, and others may, and have loved the story. If I could have made it passed the opening chapters I think it would have gotten better. The concept of the story really attracted me to the story.


    Any additional comments?

    I returned the book, but it may be one of the best books ever for someone else. My rejection of the book is purely subjective.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Book Hoarder Houston, TX, United States 04-09-14
    Book Hoarder Houston, TX, United States 04-09-14 Member Since 2012

    I have a book addiction and an 2 hour commute, thank god for the sanity of audible

    HELPFUL VOTES
    0
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    58
    6
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Self centered mother, excuses and dictionar abbuse"

    I only managed to get to chapter 4 before I could truly take this book no longer.
    The mother has spent the entire time writing letters to the father justifying their decision to have a child in the first place and while I appreciate a broad vocabulary, she comes off as a self centered snob who is only trying to impress you with her knowledge of words. Considering this was supposed to be a book about the after affects of a teen high school shooter and so far its all about the mother and her conceits, I cannot recommend this book. The rambling memories and still not having brought me into caring about either one of the "supposed" main characters, and the descriptors using 15 big words when 2 would do....

    I will try something else from the narrator she sounded good but the words she was reading alternated between making me just want to skim (hard to do in an audio book and I'm certainly NOT wasting money on this book in publication) or fall asleep (and considering that I listen while commuting that's not good either).

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sammie Bozeman, MT, United States 03-04-14
    Sammie Bozeman, MT, United States 03-04-14 Member Since 2011

    -sam

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    29
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Cardboard characters"

    I am having difficulty believing in any of these one-dimensional people. Kevin is evil incarnate from the moment he is born with none of the characteristics of a toddler or child. His mother is shallow and narcissistic. His father is a 2D cardboard cutout, never seeing anything wrong with his evil son. The mother and father never discuss anything, never question, never seek help for their son. The self-indulgent mother ultimately feels pride in her evil son's accomplishments.

    This tricky topic could have been made a compelling read had it addressed the development of psychopathy. But it appears the author has no psychological understanding of human emotion or motivation. She never addresses any issues, answers any questions or provides any insight. I finally quit listening.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. Moren Kansas City, MO USA 12-05-13
    A. Moren Kansas City, MO USA 12-05-13 Member Since 2008

    texas mommie

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    133
    7
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    0
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Blah"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I thought this book was going to be very thought provoking and intimate. I felt like I was reading the diary of a very boring woman. She didn't share any perspective that I found intriguing. She is very cold and uninteresting.

    A very drowsy book.


    What was most disappointing about Lionel Shriver’s story?

    The main character's persona


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SUSAN Millville, NJ, United States 10-21-13
    SUSAN Millville, NJ, United States 10-21-13 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Unique"
    Would you try another book from Lionel Shriver and/or Coleen Marlo?

    I would try another book from Lionel Shriver but not if it's read by Coleen Marlo.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Coleen Marlo’s performances?

    I did not like her voice or portrayal of Eva. Too thin. When she was supposed to crying it sounded like she had a cold with a stuffy nose.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    I really liked the story. I have to admit I didn't have a clue how the book would end.I love how it was told through a series of letters. Unique.


    Any additional comments?

    Are some children born evil or are they reared to become a monster? I could find no redeeming qualities to make me have a shred of sympathy for Kevin. I could however find some sympathy for Eva.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lee Port Washington, WI, United States 09-02-13
    Lee Port Washington, WI, United States 09-02-13 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Terrible story but fitting performance."
    What disappointed you about We Need to Talk About Kevin?

    It was a horrible, awful story. I kept reading hoping it would get better but was sorely disappointed that I wasted my time when I finished.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Lionel Shriver again?

    No.


    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nicole PROVO, UT, United States 05-09-13
    Nicole PROVO, UT, United States 05-09-13 Member Since 2011
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    65
    15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "I couldn't get into it"
    Any additional comments?

    I don't know if it's how the book was written or the perspective, but I just could not get into the book.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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