"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." Groucho Marx

Friday, May 4, 2012

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

I have got to read more of Lionel Shriver's work. I LOVED The Post Birthday World and I was struck dumb by We Need to Talk About Kevin. Of the two, I prefer The Post Birthday World. Frankly, I'm a pansy, so I enjoyed the safe world of relationships, snooker, and gourmet popcorn over school shootings, maternal instinct, supposed parental failure, and guilt. What I cannot dismiss is the incredible, inventive, and unorthodox ways Shriver develops to deliver her story to the reader. As I mentioned, I have read only two of her novels and both of them were written in a style and format that I have never previously encountered. One is nothing like the other but they are both endlessly fascinating in terms of form and format. We Need to Talk About Kevin got a little too wordy for me at times but at the close of the novel I understood better why that worked for the main character. Run-on sentences be damned because I was gripped and horrified and sickened the whole way through. This does not have a feel-good ending and although I stayed up until 3:00 am on a school night to finish the tale I felt depressed and horrified when it was all over. I am a devoted admirer of Shriver's writing and she was completely successful in creating a story that grabbed me, shook me, and still has not let go days after I turned the final page. So 3 stars instead of 4 just for giving me nightmares ;0), but smashing writing in my opinion. 

You will find an official plot line description at: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/46365118


  1. Chandra,

    I am so glad that you also loved this book. On Goodreads I think I list this as one of my "top shelf" books, ie one of my absolute favourites. If you haven't done so, try to tune in to the interview with Lionel Shriver on the World Book Club - it's fantastic.

    Well done on another great review.

    Cheers, Beejay

    1. Isn't Shriver amazing?!? Did you read Post Birthday World? It was so cleverly done. Brilliant lady, that one.