itsnotmymind (itsnotmymind) wrote,

Talking About Kevin

The copy I read of Lionel Shriver's novel We Need to Talk About Kevin has a quote from the Boston Globe on the cover, praising the book. The reviewer is quoted as saying: “Who, in the end, needs to talk about Kevin? Maybe we all do.”

I find this amusing because the message I got from the book is that everyone spends too much time talking about Kevin – to the point where they don’t see who and what he is. There is no shortage of discussion of Kevin in the book: Kevin’s parents fight about him endlessly (“I am the context,” he says, in the scene that his mother is convinced is when he decided to commit murder). Their talks about Kevin do not help either of them understand him better, instead they become polarized in their opposing views of him.

On a less literal level, as the reviewer is seeing Kevin as a stand-in for all young school shooters – well, there’s no shortage of talk about those boys, either – not in the book, not in reality. And in fact, the way the media talks about shooters often encourages copycats. The problem is not that we don't talk enough about Kevin - it's that we talk too much, and in the wrong ways.
Tags: school shootings, we need to talk about kevin

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