[Book Review] We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

we need to talk about Kevin.jpgWe Need To Talk About Kevin is on the surface a gut-wrenching story about Kevin who kills 9 people in a school shooting. On a deeper level, the novel is about a mother’s love and if a mother’s love can influence a person’s upbringing.

I went into reading this novel with my eyes open, I knew it was going to be a tough read, but even as I finished the novel, the novel continued to display it’s perplexities and harshness.

The novel follows a sequence of letters from Eva to her husband Franklin as she recounts Kevin’s childhood to the present. The novel is a mammoth tale, starting from how it all began, from Eva’s and Kevin’s shaky start as he is born, to moments throughout his childhood that leave the reader questioning.

This novel for me left me feeling that it was perhaps a little too real. The novel is psychologically stimulating, as we question with Eva whether Kevin could have done that, or if Eva had been a different kind of mother would Kevin had still continued on the path he chose. The novel is interesting in the way it makes you question everything, Eva is always so certain of the things that Kevin has done, and despite not ever mentioning Kevin’s mental health, it does leave you questioning. Kevin is distant, he dissociates, and from Eva’s retellings comes across as if everything is an act.

But, how much of this is Eva? We rely on Eva to tell Kevin’s story, and how do we, as the reader, know that we are not being influenced by Eva’s experiences?

Overall, I enjoyed reading this novel. I found myself questioning everything at every turn, wondering if Kevin had done what Eva thought. Lionel Shriver has written a poignant story of a mother’s love, and how far would a mother go for her child, and questions a person’s reaction and how they place blame on others.

It is definitely a book I would recommend, and one that I will perhaps read more than once, as I’m sure throughout my reading, I have potentially missed quite a lot of nuances that are waiting to be picked up.

Have you read We Need To Talk About Kevin? Let me know in the comments!

[Book Club] Third Week!

We’re officially into the third week of reading! How’s everyone been enjoying so far?

I’ve actually managed to sit down and finish reading my chosen book, and the discussion is written and waiting to be published.

The third week is always an exciting week for me. Have there been any prominent twists in your story? What’s the ghosts of its past?

Let me know how you’re getting on in the comments! If you haven’t started yet, not to worry, you can find our list of books for this month from here!

 

P.S. Please excuse any and all mistakes, the cat is sitting on my lap making typing extremely difficult currently…

[Book Review] The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

the haunting of hill house

The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson is a classic horror novel. Following the story of four adults as they plan to spend the summer in reclusive and unmentionable Hill House, the occupants soon learn the reason why no one goes there.

Despite the novel being published originally in 1959, I have not yet read it, but it has always been a book I’ve wanted to read.

The novel lives up to its hype, and is truly scary. I found there were moments where Jackson’s writing got under my skin and left me scared, leading me to put the novel down for the moment to calm down. It has been a long time since I’ve read a novel that’s affected me in such a way.

The writing style of the novel is interesting, at times there are more than one conversation going on, particularly when it comes to Mrs Dudley, as she parrots back her rules whilst other characters talk around her. It gives the sections a feeling of her not being there, adding to the haunting element of the tale.

Eleanor is also an interesting character, especially as she begins to ‘feel’ the house and gives the house an almost lifelike description.

This book is definitely one I would recommend for those who are interested in a good scary story. Shirley Jackson crafts a ghost story that gets under your skin and wanting to read more despite the fear you’re feeling.

[Book Review] Release by Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness has always had a way with words and infusing reality with the unreal. This is clearly shown through Release.

Release is a bildungsroman of sorts. It takes place over one day, and follows one boy called Adam Thorn as he navigates friendships, love, relationships and coming out to his parents.

The other half of the story follows Katie, or Queen as she wanders after she wakes up from her murder.

Ness builds a relationship with his characters, and his writing style flows through the day, only giving you the information you need to know. Not all the plot points are cleared, but it never leaves you frustrated with this. It’s a simple look into the way that the teens are growing up.

The other half of the story deals with vengeance and retribution, told in parallel to Adam Thorn’s story. I did not really understand how the two stories would intertwine until the end of the novel, but thematically, the two halves of the story blend well. One deals with the desperation and the need for vengeance, the other deals with the act of growing up and realising that you need the help from others, and learning where your family lies.

Both sides of the story are truly heartbreaking.

Despite not being an intricately written tale, or a tale where there is a lot of guess work and wondering how things will end. Personally, I would recommend Release, it is insightful, and a pleasant read.