Monday, April 23, 2007

We Need to Talk About Kevin

There’s no explaining the inexplicable, but anyone interested in the issues raised by the Virginia Tech shootings might give Lionel Shriver’s novel, We Need to Talk About Kevin a try. It doesn’t offer facile solutions but it is a dark and thought-provoking look at teen violence and the limits of parental responsibility. In a series of letters to her estranged husband, a mother tries to understand how her teen son, Kevin, became a school-shooter killer.

Nineteen Minutes is Jodi Picoult’s take on the school shootings topic, with the story told from differing perspectives, including the shooter, a bullied high school loner named Peter. Picoult is popular and prolific, so tends not to be included in the “serious writers” crowd, but her books are favourites with book clubs, as they are well-written and she has a knack for examining difficult subjects. Some have called this her best novel.


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