This book is not fun, and yet I enjoyed it immensely.
It deals with the ultimate taboo of a woman who does not feel any maternal instinct when her first born is placed into her arms, and the subsequent guilt as she raises a child with whom she develops an ambivalent relationship, and who as a teenager ends up killing several of his classmates in a Columbine-style massacre.
Rarely have I felt so drawn into somebody’s life, and it is all the more surprising as there is absolutely nothing in common between the narrator (a woman, a mother with a murderer son in prison) and myself. I suppose that’s what makes good literature.
I imagine We Need to Talk About Kevin is the kind of novel that splits readership in half, and it is not a pleasant read. Often one finds uncomfortably sucked in and does not manage to turn away but can only witness the car crash of a life that is portrayed. As a reader, you feel dirty, a bit of a voyeur, and at the same time touched and honoured that you have been granted the trust to look into this woman’s shattered soul.