I remember seeing the trailers for the movie adaptation of the novel and it scared the bejeebus out of me. I’m not a big horror film fan, though I do enjoy suspense novels, but there is something about evil kids that completely unnerves me. Still, I was intrigued so when I came across the book at a book sale I snatched it up.
Through letters written to her estranged husband, we watch Eva Khatchadourian try to make sense of life after her son, the titular Kevin, commits a horrific school massacre. Eva is brilliant, superior and cold, and far from maternal. She wanted to be a good mother but the reality is far from the fantasy that she constructed.
“But trying to be a good mother may be as distant as being a good mother as trying to have a good time is from truly having one.”
From very early on she pegs Kevin at best apathetic and at worst calculating and evil. She alone makes these observations as her husband, eager to fulfill the Norman Rockwell ideal, is oblivious to Kevin’s potential. Even so, Eva is an unreliable narrator. Is Kevin evil because he was born that way, or was he influenced by an unloving and indifferent mother? Obviously not an easy read it is thought-provoking and a true exposition of nature vs nurture; however, this Shriver will leave you with more questions than answers.