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Summary

Winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction, 2005.

Kevin Khatchadourian killed several of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a teacher, shortly before his 16th birthday. He is visited in prison by his mother, Eva, who narrates in a series of letters to her estranged husband, Franklin, the story of Kevin's upbringing. A successsful career woman, Eva is reluctant to forgo her independence and the life she shares with Franklin to become a mother. Once Kevin is born, she experiences extreme alienation and dislike of Kevin as he grows up to become a spiteful and cruel child. When Kevin commits his murderous act, Eva fears that her own shortcomings may have shaped what her son has become. But how much is she to blame?

Listen to a free interview with Lionel Shriver. Simply Click here to download.

©2003 Lionel Shriver (P)2006 Orion Publishing Group Ltd

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jacky
  • LondonUnited Kingdom
  • 21-09-06

We need to talk about Kevin

This is a compelling and thought provoking read, I found it a little disturbing but I couldnt put it down. It is beautifully written - download now!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Irene
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 05-05-13

Harrowing

I resisted reading this book for a long time. I thought that it would be more difficult to stop it as an audiobook. I was really engrossed. I found it a very powerful story made even more powerful by one of the best readers I have ever heard. Lorelei King is magnificent in every book I have heard.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent narration

I've already read this book twice, but when I saw that Lorei King was the narrator on this - I had to have it.



I wasn't disappointed. The story itself is riveting, an unusual and maybe difficult subject for some as it is in part about a parents honesty of their dislike of their child. The narration, which I think is actually acting, makes it even more believable and enjoyable.



Enjoy!



4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • KEM
  • York, United Kingdom
  • 26-02-13

Excellent

I love the way this is written, it keeps you enthralled. It is also very well read.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Clare
  • Hotwells, Bristol, United Kingdom
  • 07-08-07

Compelling storytelling

A thought provoking and striking book- one which disturbed and fascinated me, and kept me thinking back to it long after it finished. Well worth a listen!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • oEmmao
  • Wexford, Ireland
  • 15-01-13

something a little different

i loved it, it was disturbing and amazing, some of it made me flinch it was so disturbing and sad, very, very thoughtprovoking. its a lot to take in, and really takes the nature/nurture debate to the next level. i would highly recommend this book to all.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • sonia
  • london, United Kingdom
  • 10-10-12

Unsettling but good!

This is one of the most disturbing but engrossing audio books I've listened to and I had to constantly remind myself that this was actually a work of fiction!



I'll be honest, I was quite reticent about getting this after all the reviews I'd read/heard as there seemed to be 2 distinct camps who either loved it or hated it. I haven't watched the movie that is based on the book so after a lot of trepidation I bought the Audible version and listened to it whilst on holiday. All I can say is WOW,WOW,WOW! I felt a range of emotions whilst reading it, pity, sorrow, anger, disbelief etc. for all of the main characters Eva, Franklin and Kevin who to all intents and purposes was the most awful child ever born - I won't give it away - listen/read the book and come to your own conclusions.



Really good read. You are either going to love it or hate it - I'm in the love it camp!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jeremy
  • Malvern Wells, United Kingdom
  • 08-04-12

Brilliant but Harrowing!

I found this audiobook a profoundly disturbing experience. It is brilliantly written and beautifully narrated, but it could put you off having kids.

What do you do if your child is a psychopath? This book charts the dread, shame and heartache of being just such a parent. A mothers place is in the wrong it seems.

I found this book unremittingly dark. If you have the stomach for it, it is a brilliant book, but it did nothing for my faith in human nature. The final "bonus" chapter is an excellent interview with the Lionel Shriver - she has no kids!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Helen
  • Peterborough, United Kingdom
  • 27-08-11

Great characterisation from Lorelei

This is such a good book, well paced and it unravels some surprises as it goes along culminating a shocking end to 'Thursday'. Further more, I'm a great fan of Lorelei King who manages to characterise the voice of each person without it sounding trite (not easy to do when you have a small boy and a grown man to portray too) I love her Margaret Atwood readings for the same reasons.
I found the book totally absorbing and very thought provoking and found my sympathies lay very firmly with Eva on so many levels.
A bonus at the end of the book is a short interview with Lionel as she explains a little about why she wrote the book which was also fascinating and insightful.
Excellent - download it now - I couldn't stop listening to it!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Try it - worth a read!!

Something I'd never normally go for, glad I did.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • francesca
  • 02-04-14

what a pity it was abridged!

What made the experience of listening to We Need to Talk About Kevin the most enjoyable?

I bought this book by mistake. Had I realised I was going to listen to an abridged version, I'd have thought twice before downlaoding it. Anyway, I also read the complete book on my kindle device and I must say that the audible version doesn't do justice to this amazing novel. The performance is excellent, but a lot of the characters' depth and complexity goes lost. I hope Audible realise how important it'd be to give listeners the full version and bring it out soon. So my advice is, don't listen to this abridged edition, but do read the full novel, it's really worth it, however gruesome, cruel and shocking it may be.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gerard
  • 03-01-12

Not everything you read needs to be nice

Great story, with a great performance. Story at times is a bit harsh. You see parts of yourself in the characters, could Kevin be your boy? Are you the doting dad or the detached mother. Not all in life is NICE..

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Maxmud Mo
  • 24-01-18

Absolutely Good book

Well; I was forced to read this book for an assignment in child psycho diagnostic class. I loved it. I liked first of all the entire setting and how the book makes you experience what is happening.

If you are psychology student or thinking of working with kids, this is a good book that questions nature vs nurture.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Trish
  • 01-02-12

Excellent book!

Would you consider the audio edition of We Need to Talk About Kevin to be better than the print version?

Yes, it was even better than the movie.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Kevin did his nuh-nuh-na-na-nuh response to his mother. Ms King portrayed it so perfectly, capturing the arrogance, spite and disdain in the child's voice in a way that chilled the listener.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Avril Gordon
  • 07-01-12

Rivetting

If you could sum up We Need to Talk About Kevin in three words, what would they be?

Rivetting, shocking, sad

What was one of the most memorable moments of We Need to Talk About Kevin?

The end when you realize that she had lost everything

Which character – as performed by Lorelei King – was your favorite?

Kevin

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

A mother's story that you will never forget

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Carmen
  • 05-01-12

A LITTLE OVER SIMPLIFIED

What made the experience of listening to We Need to Talk About Kevin the most enjoyable?

A LOT OF TRUTH IN IT.

What was one of the most memorable moments of We Need to Talk About Kevin?

THE FIRST SECRET KEVIN SHARES WITH HIS MOM

Which scene was your favorite?

THE LAST

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

WHEN AS A BABY , KEVIN CHANGES HIS ATTITUDE WHEN HIS FATHER SHOWS UP

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Alana
  • 20-03-12

I didnt bother to finish it

I was disappointed with this book, I found it was really of no interest to me yet was looking forward to it.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Thomas
  • 27-03-12

Sensationalist: The Ultimate Birth Horror Story

What disappointed you about We Need to Talk About Kevin?

Women need positive attitudes when approaching birth, with this book the worst is dredged from the bottom of the steaming pile and laboured on for pages in the first birth. The second birth is fine and not even explained. I approached this book in half hour increments for a book club. I would have stopped if I didn’t have a reason for reading the book. It made me literally throw up. Sick making. IMHO only for those who want their worst fears about the most horrible things that can happen if you have kids confirmed. Interviews with the author after the boos audio confirm that the author wrote the book to explore her own confirmed opinion about childlessness’ in conjunction with an affinity with the mothers of

What could Lionel Shriver have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

I feel that the father character had little depth, The book is written from the perspective of the mother, in letter form to the father. His voice is less than missing. His or even the boys voice could make the book more interesting, more balanced. It may even give an insight into the fathers ambivalence, bordering on ineptitude to the boys psychopathic tendencies.

How could the performance have been better?

Marvellous voice acting, very well done.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Well, it really made me mad, physically sick, horrified. It changed my mind as to the passive nature of books, and I will be more careful, from now on as to what I read, for this is now part of me, a cancer to be continually excised. Some say to me that makes it a good book. I disagree, Yes I had an extreme reaction, but that does not make it positive in any form. I now have to live with the burden of reading this tripe. Go see the movie, if you want a shock. Don’t read the book. Its just for shock or to confirm already held, rather conservative beliefs about the physical pain of childbirth and the possibility of stuffing up as a parent.

Any additional comments?

Ahhh. Cant wait to get onto the next audio, Possibly J.M.Coetzee, now thats a good writer.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful