As a relatively new father of an eight month old boy I picked this book up with some trepidation given its subject matter. Some reviewers have commented on Shriver's prose style and suggested that the first half of the book is too heavy going. Personally I found the writing excellent - lucid and articulate. I was slower through the first half than the second but then again I find that that applies to most books. Like others I whistled through the last third at rate of knots as Shriver finally takes the reader through the bloody events of 'Thursday'.
Throughout the novel however I had a nagging sense of disquiet. Ultimately I just didn't believe in it. I just didn't buy the tale that Shriver was telling. I didn't believe in the father-son relationship, I didn't believe the hopelessly naive father, the hopelessly trusting daughter. More critically, I really didn't believe in the evil son. The idea that Kevin popped out as a ready-made Damien-esue bundle of misanthropy just didn't wash and some of the calculating behaviour attributed to him as a baby and small child are frankly ludicrous. Interestingly, I was convinced by the selfish hard-nosed mother but the fact that the author is not a mother herself is interesting having read the book.
The denouement is fairly predictable, and the apparent volte-face in the last couple of pages reeks of a hollywood ending I'm afraid. But having said all that, it's definitely worth a read a raised some interesting questions for this new parent. Not sure I'm going to get my wife to read it though!