Before reading this book I had a lot of preconceived notions and really set in my ways judgement about the whole issue of nature vs nurture, the influence of the parent and most importantly (but perhaps not fairly) how I would view a parent in the way they feel about their kid. I say it's not exactly fair since I have no idea what it's like to be a parent so I really shouldn't have the kind of harsh judgements I have and I do recognise that but sometimes you can't help but just give out these quick fire judgements without knowing the reality of the situation and especially with the kind of distant one would have.
So already knowing a bit about the book before I started reading, I already had the notion it was all the mother's (Eva) fault, she didn't love her child and what kind of mother is that etc. And I don't think it's exactly the best way to start a book which you know will hit upon contentious issues to have a set mindset because it's hard to open yourself to what it is telling you. But...what could I do
The whole debate about nature vs nurture, I think cannot be effectively argued as being entirely one or the other. Kevin did not have a loving mother and grows up in a society that showcases violence and often glorifies the perpetrator. However, this shouldn’t excuse what Kevin did. I’m of the thought that believes no matter how you've been raised up, the choice to commit an act such as shooting a group of your fellow students and a teacher is still your own choice and your upbringing should not be a reason for it. That has always griped me, the whole 'I went on a killing rampage because I had a tough childhood' really just
but I digress (sorry, I feel like that might happen a lot during this so just bear with me if you can
At the same time, can someone really be born evil? In that I agree with you Scott, it doesn’t gel with me and that was something that I disliked the fact that the author seemed to drive that point home more than anything else.
And to the point of how much Eva is, and should be held accountable? I did find that yes Eva was quite detestable, her feelings towards her own child shocked me and made me feel uneasy. Often, throughout her recounting of Kevin, I feel that she had already casted him as wrong
from a very early stage before he even had a chance to prove or disprove it thereby blinding herself to anything he did as being nothing but wrong. Her feelings towards Celia, I think pinpoints this. She doesn’t find Celia’s shortcomings, her constant clinginess as detestable (the very things in Kevin she couldn’t stand) and not only can she tolerate her but she can love her which makes her culpable in her mistreatment of Kevin but does not make her culpable of his actions.
The whole issue of the shooting really is I believe just the background to the real issue of Kevin and Eva. At first, I was disappointed because I thought the book would focus on the very real issue of shootings in school, perhaps embark on the easiness of a teenager being able to get a gun and shoot up his classmates leading to the whole right to bare arms in America and all that which is central to the whole problem but as the book progressed I began to appreciate that this is very focused on one incident, on one family and that again the shooting is just the podium leading to the stage (if that makes any sense at all!)
Although the revelation towards the end of the story is hardly surprising that both Franklin and Celia are dead by Kevin’s hand, I did start to feel that Eva definitely did not deserve what Kevin put her through even whilst I felt that how could she hate him so much. It really pulls you in different directions.
The very last part of the book surprised me though because I just did not see that coming. I did not think Eva would be able to open her heart for him by promising he would have a home with her when he got out. It made me feel cheated of my perception of her and actually made me question myself about her perception towards Kevin and her character as a mother and my whole preconceived notions about parenthood which again goes to show you never really know until you experience it for yourself.
I did enjoy this book. It was deeply harrowing, depressing but also touching and it opened my eyes anyway so I’d say it did its job.
Anyway thanks for reading this very long review and kudos to you who made it to the end
Has anyone watched the movie? I tried to watch it but didn’t last 30 minutes. I felt like it was too disjointed and erratic and I couldn’t get into it.