Haunting and Disturbing
What a book! I nearly abandoned this book several times in the beginning, but I am so glad that I stuck with it. The ending was quite satisfying, as far as reading goes, and believable.
I cannot say I "enjoyed" this book -- the subject matter is not enjoyable, and the voice of the character is biting. But I will say this is a book that will definitely stay with me for a long time. It poses so many questions -- far more than it answers -- and is exquisitely written. The ending is one that will stay with me forever, I have no doubt. This is a book about a mother - son relationship, about what makes kids "good" or "bad," about motherhood, about the public school system... about a mass murder not unlike Virginia Tech and Columbine. Be prepared to hear it unfold one letter at a time -- the whole book is comprised of letters from the mother to the father... the history as she remembers it. Powerful. Haunting. Infuriating. Believable. Sad. DISTURBING
While I agree that someone needed to talk about (and TO HIM about, oh 15 years earlier) Kevin, I wonder if we really needed to talk about him THIS much. I found myself screaming sometimes in the beginning of this book "NO! We do NOT need to talk about Kevin! Shut up!" The first half of this book could have easily been cut by 25%. It's meandering and I only finished it because I wanted to know the ending. I hated the main characters in this book (except for the daughter). The mother's ambivalence, the father's blindness, the son's - well, everything about him. I wanted to smack that child, deck the mother and castrate the father. The book made me very angry. Can you tell?
Once you get past the first half, things really pick up - esp those last 80 pages or so. The author just spends too much time getting us there. I think part of me knew the "twist" ending, but I didn't want to know it, so I was surprised. I, honestly, am not 100% sure I'd recommend the book, HOWEVER, this would be a really really great book club book. Conversation inducing. I probably won't recommend it to my club because I don't wanna read the blasted thing again.
depressing, dark, disturbing, disgusting........need I say more? I cannot imagine what kind of bizarre mind wrote this book. My book club read this book because the author is local and the story takes place in our county, it was just a horrible ordeal for me to read it. The author was very pretentious in her writing, each sentence was an attempt to "dazzle us" with her intellect. I was not dazzled.....dont waste your precious time reading this horror story, there is nothing redeamable about it in my humble opinion.
This is a very disturbing book. I have to say that I had a lot of trouble connecting to the characters though. In this woman's position, I would have divorced my husband so fast it'd set a record, if only in some attempt to try to make sure my son was put in a position to have some accountability and responsibility for his actions. Not to even mention the several other things she does that I think are firmly counter-intuitive to the situation at hand. I can understand the sentiment of in some way hating your child, since there are many children that are naturally very difficult to love, but in many ways she fails to take what I'd like to think most people would consider the most basic of precautions to make sure her troubled child doesn't hurt anyone. So, in many ways this book is like a textbook case on all the reasons so many of the parents of kids who commit school shootings are questioned so strongly afterwards for their parenting decisions. You hear them say they knew their child had problems, they knew they had access to weapons, they knew they were majorly troubled, and yet in many cases they can't explain why they did nothing to block off the access to weapons or otherwise try to keep their child from being a danger to others.
Maybe that's the reason this book is so compelling. Even those parents of the most troubled children, who acknowledge their children's issues, still cannot fathom the fact that their child may be truly dangerous to the extent that they would kill someone. And in that fact resides the power of the story. Parents love their children in some way, regardless of what that child does. And partly because of that, even the most aware parent will not fully grasp what their child is capable of. And as a result, it sometimes falls to them to still love one whose actions make them seemingly unlovable.
I agree with the reviewer who said it is hard to say I "enjoyed" this book, due to the extremely sensitive subject matter. Quite disturbing. This book is the antithesis of books containing the glowing praises to childbirth and the loving child-parent relationships (complete with witty repetoire and "oh how cute" moments). Instead, this book is a blunt, unforgiving account of a woman who went into motherhood unprepared and not 100% enthusiastic. This is not a "happy, feel good" book. My only complaint is this book starts too slowly, and the protagonist (the mother) is clearly an intellectual who has a somewhat heightened ego and sense of self. The book picks up mid-way through, when the narrative shifts more and more to talking about Kevin, the son. You have to just fight your way through the first half.