2/4. It was very prosaic (self-effacingly so) in parts, but my main problem with this one is not stylistic. I interpreted the exact ending about 200 pages in. So, then, why did I open with a remark on style? Well, this novel is structured as an epistolary novel...it's written in letters, in other words...and every one of the letters is written by one person. Kevin's mother seemed really supercilious and petty and conceited. She obviously didn't want a kid from square one, and the big question here is whether Kevin was a self-fulfilling prophecy or not. Maybe I'm looking at this the wrong way. After all, this is one of those contextual books. You already know from square one what's going to end up happening, and it's up to the author to structure a narrative which ultimately either creates ambivalence in the reader towards the moral stance of one or more of the characters or reinforces an existing stigma. So, we know from page 1 that Kevin is going to shoot up his school. You have the option of making his parents unwitting dupes (which his father apparently was), creators of a self-fulfilling prophecy, etc. It reminded me a lot of Nabokov at his most flowery. Mind you, as far as school shooting novels go, this is one of the better ones out there (though the first half of it is endless rambling about Kevin in diapers and the truculent mother's attempts to handle being a mom) but it's still a step above "The Hour I First Believed."
"The world is a vampire/sent to drain/secret destroyers hold you up to the flames/And what do I get for my pains?/Betrayed desires, and a piece of the game."