Here are some of the thoughts that cross my mind when I read Lionel Shriver’s fictional novel We Need To Talk About Kevin.
What does that word even mean?
This book has had me baffled and I’ve only completed one chapter. I thought the objective of the first chapter was to reel in the reader and leave them with the desire to read on. Shouldn’t each chapter in fact fill you with that compulsion? It however seems that Shriver had a different objective in mind, ‘let me confuse any reader who hasn’t eaten an entire dictionary’.
Her frustratingly complex diction caused me to read the first chapter twice, and I am now uncertain as to whether I even wish to complete the book. Maybe chapter two has much more to offer and will leave feeling like less of a ‘dumb-head’.
Another aspect of this book that irks me is that the chapters are supposedly letters to a man who appears to be her ex-husband. I feel your pain Frankie boy . . .
I feel dreadfully sorry for you and now understand why you left your wife. If the burden of a family trauma wasn’t enough, you also had the unwanted role of listening to a woman who speaks as though she studies the thesaurus in her spare time. Some words were not made for conversations, letters or even an academic thesis. Yet they spew from her mouth like dung from a cow’s backside. Visualise this for a second please.
Franklin, I sincerely apologise for any words I have used which may have caused you to recollect bitter memories of your beloved Eva (not Longoria unfortunately).
I’ll give Lionel Shriver (isn’t Lionel a boys name?) some credit for at least keeping the element of mystery floating in the air. The unknown parts of this book, its theme and Orange Prize for fiction in 2005 causes me to consider that maybe, just maybe this novel has more to offer than a bunch of obscure words.
Shriver shows off her flair effortlessly on occasions. Her style switches, although sometimes bothersome, can be admired in the first chapter. She flows with poise connecting technically sound paragraphs with colloquially loose phrases reminding the reader that she is not actually a robot programmed to churn out five-hundred page novels.
My plan is to get through the second chapter with the hope of being astoundingly gratified. I hope that one day the completion of this book will benefit my life. Maybe I’ll mention it in a job interview and be instantly hired. Maybe I’ll be on date with a nice lady, let’s say . . . Jessica Alba . . . I’ll mention the book and she’ll respond in a smitten like manner “I want to have your babies”. I could even use my newly acquired knowledge to run for Mayor (of London); my campaign strategy will pretty much orbit around this book. Who wouldn’t vote for me? Come on people, Ken (Livingstone) hasn’t read a damn thing in the last decade apart from Oyster Card pamphlets and Olympic Games proposals.
Only good can come from this.
A to the . . .