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on 28 December 2016
So after my first time read I found major aspects of this book to be extremely annoying (see spoilers at the end) but also, from around the mid point, as Kevin reached adolescence, just as enthralling as it was annoying.

***Spoilers***
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The complete lack of any attempt to form a stable relationship with Kevin, taking umbridge with him from the point of his refusal to breastfeed. Attitudes from the mother surely had a hand in the way he grew up (although the way his father was clearly worked out no better in the end).
Why he did what he did!?!?! The "accountability" aspect that bothered him so much makes me think that he selected one person to represent each different type of person and held them accountable for the entire type of people that he had issues with.
His quick turn around from one Saturday, clearly not caring about what or why he did it to the next visit (close to his 18th birthday) suddenly appearing as though he actually had remorse over the event seemed a bit too sudden for me.
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on 17 April 2017
It took me a while to get into and I must admit I skipped a few minor details, but actually they are not minor! Read every single words carefully. It will all come to light at the end.
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on 14 August 2017
This is a really interesting and cleverly written book. The narrative is from Eva's viewpoint as she writes letters to her estranged husband, reflecting on their life together and the birth of their infamous son, Kevin who kills nine students in his high school days before his sixteenth birthday. So yes, it is about the boy and his seemingly innate evil nature. From birth, Kevin cries constantly, screams and does wicked things to others that only Eva sees. But it is also about marital relationships - her increasing isolation as she and her husband regard Kevin differently, exploring the divide and challenge that perhaps children can bring to a relationship.
The writing is interesting because it is from Eva's view point so there is the question of the 'unreliable narrator'. Neither Kevin or the husband have a 'voice' so we wonder how much to believe. You can have lots of debates about nature/ nurture /parenting / styles of bringing up children. It is also very well written, particularly the vivid, chilling and dramatic scene of "Thursday" (the day of the killings) which is executed in a way you wouldn't necessarily expect.
Read if you are interested in narrative voice, as well as plot.
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on 21 February 2016
What a fantastic book! Takes some work to read as it really builds the characters and I was emotional at times reading it. I have since seen the tv adaptation which is nowhere near as good as the book.
I work in forensics and so the whole argument of nature and nurture has always been of interest to me and this book really does argue this well.
A great read
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on 12 August 2017
Great story, does go on a bit in parts but excellent writing nonetheless. It tells of a mother's feelings towards her young son & the realisation that something isn't quite right with him, something which her husband refuses to see, and who often blames her for hating their son. The son turns out to be a teenage mass murderer, shooting dead kids who attend his high school
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on 12 April 2017
This excellent novel held me gripped from the first page. In classic Shriver style, the majority of the central characters are very hard to like and subsequently more realistic. The relationship between Kevin, Franklin and Eva is so complex and able to be interpreted in so many ways that you leave the book with more questions than answers.
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on 22 May 2017
I saw the film some time ago but only just got around to reading the book. It is not an easy read. The vocabulary is complex, the insights disturbing and I still have ambivalent feelings towards the narrator. However it is a moving and haunting account of when family relationships go awry through no ones design and the devastating consequences for all touched by the seemingly omnipotent Kevin.
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on 28 March 2017
Excellent. Exploring uncomfortable topics (such as a mother not bonding with her child in infancy or how to parent a terror) in a mesmerizing way. Highly recommend.
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on 3 April 2016
It took me 2 attempts to get into this book but once in I enjoyed it. It is a strange book but as the subject matter is not an everyday occurrence (thank god) it was a compelling read. I feel better to have read the book than sit through what would be a harrowing film.
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on 21 May 2016
Chilling tale of a personality-disordered teenager raised by a mother who found him unlovable (or was he unlovable because he wasn't shown love??) and a father who tried to do the right thing until the end...
A thought provoking story which left me wanting to know more about psychopathy and the nature/nurture debate. The book is ten times as good as the film!
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