A while ago, I suggested that we pick up certain books in our lives when we need them. What message is 'We Need to Talk About Kevin' by Lionel Shriver trying to send me?
My husband and I are just starting to warm to the idea of having a baby (the thought of pregnancy, and losing my identity terrifies me), and I read about this couple who didn't want children, then decide to have a baby, and he turns out to be psychotic. This book obviously raises a lot of other issues, such as trouble teenagers, and gun control in the USA. But ultimately, it's a mother questioning whether she was a good or bad mother.
Again, before I read this book, I had been forewarned that it was a woman writing to her husband about their son, who had completed mass murder during a School Shooting.
The mother is so depressed, I wonder how much of her depression is tinging all her memories. Hindsight is also generally clearer than during the moment. I don't really trust her version of events. So, was she really also apprehensive about her son? Did she really think there was something wrong with him? Was he really born with a wicked her?
I think the mother had an aversion to having a baby in the first place, so when she got post-natal depression, she believed that the baby hated her back just as much as she resented him. I don't think she ever loved him unconditionally, or at all, and he picked up on that. In fact, she never even likes him - and that is a deep secret that most people would never share. Is it so uncommon that parents dislike their children?
She then blames him for a lot of nasty things, including the lose of his younger sister's eye to acid. She always suspected Kevin, and often vocalised this to her husband, causing fights. However, I think she was right. I do think that Kevin killed his sister's pet, I do think Kevin destroyed everything his mother created, and I do think that Kevin rinsed his sister's eye with acid.
During the book, I was wondering whether the mother was actually sending these letters to her husband. At one point, I thought they separated long before Kevin's School Shooting. Then, I thought he was killed in a car accident and never came home. Then, I thought he was still alive and that they separated after the School Shooting and the husband took the younger daughter to live with him. It is this story that kept me reading. The mother's self-deprecating descriptions were dragging on me, and occasionally I did skip through whole paragraphs to try to pick up the story of her and her husband again. She really loves him, and wants him to come home. Should I spoil it for those who haven't read it? No.
But I'm turned off having a baby.