Tuesday, April 2, 2013

We Need To Talk About Kevin

I don't remember writing a book review before. Actually, let's put it this way- I don't remember being forced to write a book review before. Maybe I have at school, but there were loads of things we were forced to do anyways. However, I don't consider the words I'm typing now as compulsory, I am just listening to a reader's request. Now one of you might go "but you still haven't featured any of those bands I've shared with you!". 

Hold on, even if it's been a year or so since you submitted music to me, it still doesn't mean I won't write about it. Or perhaps it does. But here's my advice- keep throwing mud at the wallHere's another advice- there's too much music to listen to, so to actually ask me to do something different, now there's a winner. Thank you for that dear reader.

Last spring the film adaptation of Lionel Shriver's award-winning We Need To Talk About Kevin got its premiere here in Finland. Based on the trailers it was something dark and like my reader would say "it gave me goose bumps". I'm sure it did, and I was like so planning to go see it myself. But I'm glad I wasn't able to. Though, I still want to see it. Even more now. 

I want to see how all the gruesome things I read and all the emotions I felt were transmitted into audiovisual format. How my imagination meets the director's vision. Of course there's that very high risk of being disappointed, when the film is different from the book or misses parts you would have wanted to see. This is why for example Paulo Coelho doesn't allow his books to be adapted into films. 

Then there's those situations when you watch the movie without reading the book first. If you're lucky you'll enjoy the movie. If not then you'll be left with a lot of questions . Frankly, I'd rather be disappointed than not understand. 

Now to the actual review. We Need To Talk About Kevin is simply one of those books you need to read, especially if you plan on watching the film. It's also simply one of the best books I've ever read. But simply there's nothing simple about it.

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.

Through the main character Eva's extremely detailed correspondences with her husband, we get to penetrate her mind, which is seemingly dark. Her personal thoughts mainly about motherhood are something that hardly anyone dares to speak out in case of public disgust. In the society we live in, it's much easier to condemn someone for thinking different than to actually talk about the opinions opposed to your own in a civilized manner. Therefore, the main feelings I had while reading the book was anger and frustration. I continued to have these feeling until the very last pages of the book (540 with small font), until it provided me with the shocker it promised and some sort of an amazed heart-touching ending, which was even more shocking than the twist. Even if I got all the information I needed to be able to answer the question why, in the end I still could only guess.

See, this is why I've avoided reviewing books, movies and shows- I can't tell which parts shook me and why without spoiling the whole thing! And I hate spoilers. 

I think this review just makes me look like a person, who has suffered a traumatic experience without the ability to talk about it. So please do me a favor and read the book. Although, I was wondering whether mothers or pregnant women should read this, and I've come to the conclusion that yes they should. But even more by fathers.


  1. *WARNING* Spoilers ahead!

    I find it's impossible for me to write my opinions about a film without spoiling it. So please stop reading this if you want no spoilers! :)


    So, very much like what the book has delivered to you (anger and frustration, you said), my feelings while watching the film mainly are annoyance and fear.

    I think the director did a great job in bringing out what Eva feels inside and throwing those unpleasant feelings to us. From the very first scenes of the film, you see, you hear, you feel: people go crazy in a festival, rubbing against each other; noises of the crowd; the red hot color; the scene of crushed tomatoes; how she wakes up with a hangover; and so on. That is intense. It just keeps going on and on throughout the film with a lot of sudden or unpleasant sounds, hot color, the light (very great playing with the lighting in the film, IMO), intentionally displayed disordered-scenes, Eva's unstable state of mind, her unsteady moves, etc. All of that makes me feel like she is forever living in a dream. Nothing feels real.

    So, why fear? It's simply just the feeling when you know something bad, really bad is about to happen in the film, but you just keep wondering when it will happen and if it's gonna happen NOW. You picked a movie like this, of course you knew sooner or latter there would be somebody get killed in the movie. But, the fear I had while watching it is that if the killing was too severe for me to take (like, how painfully the victims had to die, or how many of them would be killed). Remember how you feel when Eve walked to the yard and you guess what she's about to see... I think that's pretty much the feeling.

    And yes, the ending is touching and surprising. Like, it could never be a more simple conversation than that; and Kevin gets understood (and accepted, I guess) for the first time, by his mother.

    Just one more thing I like is that this film "tastes" British. There's something different between British (or European films in general) and American films. I just feel the atmosphere in European films is "colder". They are more weird, rough and intense. Scenes are sharply cut. Ha, frankly speaking, that's just my personal feeling, which has nothing to do with criticizing. I don't even know how to explain it accurately. My apology for this.



    1. thank you elliz for this very insightful comment! it's hard for me to really reply properly as i haven't seen the movie, but what you have described i could imagine that the film is quite faithful to the book. and yes i think annoyance would have been a better word of what i felt, personally i thought franklin was really annoying and would never want to marry a person like that haha. but i will keep in touch when i see the movie and you too when you are able to read the book!

    2. and also when you talked about that it felt unreal for you, i was actually thinking that perhaps the shocker is that it was all a dream or imagination. but luckily it wasn't, i hate those type of endings!

  2. I hate those types of ending, too!
    Just like this says: http://media-cache-ec6.pinterest.com/192x/5d/45/a2/5d45a26c12307c847bfd6d200d8b022e.jpg

    Let's keep in touch! :)

    1. hahaha that was so good! and actually a pretty good ending :D yes keep in touch indeed!