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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

Critic Reviews

“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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    708
  • 4 Stars
    351
  • 3 Stars
    141
  • 2 Stars
    48
  • 1 Stars
    47

Performance

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • 4 Stars
    305
  • 3 Stars
    112
  • 2 Stars
    38
  • 1 Stars
    40

Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • 3 Stars
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  • 2 Stars
    32
  • 1 Stars
    50
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  • BriSun
  • Edgewood, KY United States
  • 09-03-12

One of my faves

What did you love best about We Need to Talk About Kevin?

This story just continues to build on itself and on the characters. In the beginning I started off not feeling sure because it was more about how the couple met and their early life but this background is vitally important to the story overall. By the end of the book I literally could not stop listening, and when it was over...I wish there was more to listen to

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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One-joke short story painfully stretched out

What would have made We Need to Talk About Kevin better?

If only Shriver had read Doris Lessing's The Fifth Child and realized that any other version of this same story had to be kept to a short story (in The New Yorker?).

Any additional comments?

It might be a good movie (which is, essentially, the length of a New Yorker short story), but this was just ENDLESS. By the end, I was just disappointed Kevin didn't also kill his mom and spare us her narrative.

5 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
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Still Processing This Book.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, the story was great. I enjoyed the character development, I loved that there was a twist, but not one you saw coming.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Cecelia. Can't describe why without spoilers.

What about Coleen Marlo’s performance did you like?

I liked that you could hear the pain in her voice, she wasn't reading a story, but legitimately performing it.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I sobbed.

  • Overall
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  • Story

Chilling, brazen, relentless.

Written in the voice of a woman penning a series of letters to an estranged husband has a chilling effect. The frigid, almost matter of fact tone of acceptance comes only from living a life of constant reminders of events from the past and being subjected to horrible treatment by all who surround you. You feel for this woman, you want to hold her, console her and you want to tell her to please, stop. Stop talking about Kevin. No spoilers here. Just read the book. I'd avoid it if you're trying to get pregnant, expecting or have a newborn. It will break you and have you looking over your shoulder for the rest of their life.

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High Expectations, Falls Short

I've heard so much about this book and it has been on my list for years, but I was a bit disappointed in the book. It was very slow and tough to get into. In the end the book was fine, but I wouldn't go out of my way to recommend it.

AUDIBLE 20 REVIEW SWEEPSTAKES ENTRY

  • Overall
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Still stunned, a week later.

After listening to this book I felt as if I had been hit by a truck. I could not write a review. I had to just let it 'sit'. Although I gave it 5 stars all the way I am not at all sure that I liked it. The composition and structure was brilliant BUT it was the story of a nightmare of a child who turned into something that was something short of primal.

Will I ever listen or read it again. No way, never. Would I recommend it so my friends? I would certainly discuss it with them but would let them know that it was so frightening because it was so realistic. These cases happen and because of that it scared me.

Lionel Shriver certainly knows how to hit a nerve and you cannot fault him for that. Coleen Marlo gives us a brilliant performance that made it even more eerie.

For those who like to scared out of their wits then this one is for you. You will not be disappointed.

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excellent

Never thought about what could happen to the family who are left behind after their child commits a horrific crime. interesting format. Great description and read with emotion. Well done!

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I couldn't do it

I tried keeping an open mind, but the narrative was so pretentious and obnoxious I couldn't listen to it anymore. I made it more than halfway through the audiobook when I finally gave up.

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slow start but worth it!

I almost sent the audiobook back as the book was so slow to get going. After the 3th or 5th chapter I couldn't stop listening! Deep & Dark!

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incredible

the characters are amazing described and this story is one that needs to be told desperately. I loved it and highly recommend it