Robert Kennedy Jr., 16-year-old son of the late Robert Kennedy, leaves court at Barnstable, Mass., after a hearing on charges of possession of marijuana, Aug. 6, 1970. Accompanying him are his mother, Ethel, left, uncles Sargent Shriver, upper left, and Se
My review of ‘We Need to Talk About Kevin’ by Lionel Shriver (SPOILERS AHEAD)
OK, first up, this is undoubtedly a great novel. Well-realized, wonderfully-written, good characters, great twists and turns, strikingly true at points, etc.
My main problem? The whole “Nature vs. Nurture” ambiguity that is the prevailing theme doesn’t hold water because, you know, I’m not convinced she was ever that bad a mother. At least not to the extent you could ever consider it justifies what he did.
Cold, snobby, aloof and distant? Sure. But she still provided him with everything he needed, tried her best and gave him a frigging mansion to live in. And he had a doting, if dimwitted, father and a loving kid sister. That’s more than many kids have these days. And they don’t murder a bunch of people.
Maybe if the mom was a drunk or a drug addict or constantly hitting him, “Nature vs. Nurture” would be an issue. But she wasn’t.
Basically: That kid was an evil little shit to begin with and it’s not that ambiguous at all.
In that respect, this book fails. It keeps pushing a point I can never truly buy.
We Need to Talk About Kevin AKA bourgeois, middle class America suggests that a lack of overwhelming motherly love makes it understandable that someone ends up a serial killer.
I mean, Jesus Christ. I find the book intriguing and Lionel Shriver is obviously an incredible writer. But, yeah, this novel is extremely fucked up for even suggesting that anyone but Kevin is to blame for what Kevin did.
That kid had everything. Every advantage possible. Even his (supposedly cold and distant) mother still did everything she could for him and tried her best.