We Need to Talk About Kevin - Lionel Shriver I do not think I alternately hated and loved a book so much since American Psycho. It is a roller coaster of a novel that doesn't flinch at the uncomfortable aspects of its story. Many reviewers dismiss the characters, especially Kevin and his mother, as unlikable. I think the author successfully portrayed them as real and, if not understandable, at least mirroring portions of our own human frailties and personalities. Kevin is the bigger puzzle and is meant to be. He kills a number of his schoolmates in a Columbine-like massacre. There is clearly something wrong with him but is the cause nurture or nature? The novel is presented in a series of letters from the mother to her estranged husband as she tries to understand her son and her own role in the tragedy. The epistemological novel is one of my least favorite forms of literature but it works marvelously here as it allows the story to develop into its sad and surprising ending. Kevin's mother is far from perfect and it is easy to dislike her. But her confusion and grief comes across well and the reader yearns to find out answers to the incident with her. We Need to Talk About Kevin is not an easy read and I needed to put it down occasionally for my own peace of mind. That just goes to show how powerful this novel is.