So this is a book I was given for Christmas, by my baby sister, Sinéad, and I absolutely failed at reading it. In fact, I put it in a shoe box and completely forgot about it until she complained that I never paid attention to her presents (this was around my birthday, which is in April) and she wasn’t gonna buy me anything else. I, wanting to have a birthday present, immediately made the effort and started reading.
Then I gave up.
Eventually, I’ve gotten to the end of the book (in September, not bad!), and have gotten around to reviewing it.
It’s spoiler-free, by the way. I do hate spoilers in book reviews. Unless I’ve already read the book. Then I don’t mind.
Eva Khatchadourian, mother of a notorious school killer, charts the journey of her relationship with her son, from before his conception to the modern day, through a series of letters to her estranged husband, Franklin.
It’s a chilling account of what happens when you don’t, really, actually love your child, and it lingers in the mind long after you’ve turned the last page.
In any case,
The Good: Like Darren said, powerful. Entrancing once you get into it. It’s a worrying, chilling account of what happens when you don’t really love your child.
It makes me wonder, very strongly, whether it was a case of Kevin being truly evil, or that he turned out that way because he knew his mother didn’t love him.
It was a twisty, turny account of a journey from the discussions of whether or not to have a child to two years after the events of that ‘Thursday’, as Eva calls it.
You really get a sense of both the titular character and the narrator and immerse yourself in her doubts – was this her fault? Could she have loved Kevin better? Should she have had children at all?
The novel pulls no punches and constantly surprises. Several times in the course of the novel, I turned a page, discovered a fact and was surprised. I didn’t predict the ending as concretely as I would have thought I did, either, which is always good. I like not quite knowing what’s lurking on the next page, and it adds to the murky atmosphere of doubt which permeates Eva’s letters to Franklin.
The Bad: It was hard to get into at the beginning. Like I said, I got it at Christmas and didn’t finish it ’til September. I constantly put it down and never thought to pick it up again until Sinéad made some sideways remark about it. However, this really abated as I got further into the book. So I’m not sure if it’s a REALLY bad point.
It uses the wrong terminology for the crossbows. They’re constantly referred to as arrows, when in actuality, crossbows use bolts, and bows use arrows. Tut tut tut.
Lionel is a boy’s name, ok? A boy’s name!!
The Ugly: Four and a half out of five. Excellent book. I’m deducting half a mark for the slow start, though.