” You pick on him. You blame him for everything that goes wrong around this house. And at his kindergarten. You’ve complained about the poor kid at every stage of the game. First he cries too much, then he’s too quiet. He develops his own little language, and it’s annoying. He doesn’t play right—meaning the way you did. He doesn’t treat the toys you make him like museum pieces. He doesn’t pat you on the back every time he learns to spell a new word, and since the whole neighborhood isn’t clamboring to sign his dance card, you’re determined to paint him as a pariah. He develops one, yes, serious psychological problem having to do with his toilet training—it’s not that unusual, Eva, but it can be very painful for the kid—and you insist on interpreting it as some mean-spirited, personal contest between you and him. I’m relieved he seems to be over it, but with your attitude I’m not surprised it lasted a long time. I do what I can to make up for your—and I’m very sorry if this hurts your feelings, but I don’t know what else to call it—your coldness. But there’s no substitute for a mother’s love, and I am damned if I am going to let you freeze out another kid of mine ” (19 January 2001, p.209)
We Need to Talk About Kevin grows on me. The book consists of a mother’s monologues, in the form of letters to his now ex-husband. Eva gradually comes to terms with marriage, career, family, motherhood, and the tragic event that was known as the Thursday, when her teenage son killed seven people in school. The real story is on the unwritten pages. Eva was never excited about motherhood. She reflects on how her dislike of her son might have led to the incident. Kevin, through Eva’s eyes, is portrayed as so evil that I shudder; as he grows up, his evil nature also expands. This is not a fast read, but simmering and filled with undercurrents. I need extra coffee, or tea, for this book. A few people at the coffee shop mentioned it’s not a book for the season. No, sure not. But when am I ever bound by the season?