Publisher: Counterpoint Press
Released: April 14, 2003
The gripping international bestseller about motherhood gone awry.
Eva never really wanted to be a mother – and certainly not the mother of the unlovable boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much-adored teacher who tried to befriend him, all two days before his sixteenth birthday. Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with marriage, career, family, parenthood, and Kevin’s horrific rampage in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklin. Uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood from the start, Eva fears that her alarming dislike for her own son may be responsible for driving him so nihilistically off the rails.
I recently saw the film of this book, and I loved it. The story follows Eva, a mother who has ended up in a terrible situation. The film had me feeling desperately sorry for Eva throughout, so this is pretty much what I expected from the book. The book turned out to be more complicated, and rather than seeming to explicitly control the feelings of the reader, the reader is more open to feel what they like. More than a few times this had me wondering if I was supposed to be thinking what I thought, and whether my emotions were ‘correct’. The story is told through the letters Eva writes to her husband, and she isn’t looking for pity, nor making excuses. We follow Eva’s train of thought as she tries to de-construct the terrible thing that has happened. Yes, I did feel very sorry for Eva, but I also found myself wondering along with her whether she actually could have done anything differently. Whether, or to what extent, she is to blame. Without asking questions directly, the book planted plenty. To what extent can parents affect who a child ends up being? How responsible is one for the actions of ones children? This is a good story, and it is told very cleverly. It was different from what I expected having watched the film, but not in a bad way.