Here are some reviews from readers of the March Book Club selection, the novel "We Need to Talk About Kevin" by Lionel Shriver, and the February selection, "Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage," a collection of short stories by Alice Munro:
One of the most chillingly realistic depictions of the psychopathic mind in a novel that I have ever read. "Kevin" certainly is far more psychologically astute than Gus Van Sant's critically acclaimed but completely clueless film about the Columbine massacre, "Elephant."
This novel makes a good companion piece to Anna Salter's nonfiction study of criminal psychopaths, "Predators."
Not since Stephen King's "The Stand" has a book impacted me as much as this month's selection, "We Need to Talk About Kevin." I found myself absorbed in this twisted story of family dynamics whose story often gets overlooked.
Society assumes that we all like our children from birth. I can't imagine how hard it was for Eva to want Kevin so much only to discover that she can't bond with him when he is born.
The story unfolded and kept me guessing, even until the very surprising end.
I commend the author for weaving a wonderful tale and exploring so many sides of tragedy the media so blatantly overlooks.
I came away from reading this book grateful for a wonderful teenage son and the bond we share. This is a must read for all parents! Thanks to the author for writing a work of fiction that never read like one.
From page one of "We Need to Talk about Kevin," the reader is riveted to Eva Khatchadourain as she picks clean the scab of her wounded life.
With precision, author Lionel Shriver unfolds the pitfalls of parenting: the drive to procreate; the skewed view that our children will validate our existence; the unspoken expectation that what we create will flourish, and the stunning sense of shame, guilt, and failure when something goes wrong.
With Eva, we grieve the loss of every dream for her family, and we respect her gutsy self--examination, shivering with the knowledge of our own parental failures.
Dorothy L. Delmonte
"We Need To Talk About Kevin" is riveting and disturbing. Though the subject matter is morose, I felt it was imperative to read the book to its shocking conclusion. Shriver cleverly designed the text as letters from wife to husband, revealing the turmoil of Kevin's dysfunctional family life. There are no rational answers for his actions. As a reader, enjoyable wouldn't work in describing this work, but compelling would.
Joanne B. Lucas
In "Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage," Alice Munro's exceptional ability to write the concentrated essence of human nature is made obvious in the depth of her characters and their relationships to each other, an attribute not always easily accomplished in the abbreviated genre of the short story.
Evoking immediate and intense responses in the reader, each story, just like the kiss shared between Jinny and Ricky in "Floating Bridge," exists as "an event in itself. The whole story all by itself. A tender prologue, an efficient pressure, a wholehearted probing and receiving, a lingering thanks, and a drawing away satisfied."