Monday, January 2, 2012

Line By Line: Lionel Shriver, We Need To Talk About Kevin

“...You can only subject people to anguish who have a conscience. You can only punish people who have hopes to frustrate or attachments to sever; who worry what you think of them. You can really only punish people who are already a little bit good.”

“Everything people do that doesn’t work has to be somebody else’s fault. Next time you know, geezers’ll be suing the government for getting old and kids’ll be taking their mommies to court because they came out ugly.”

“Not that happiness is dull. Only that it doesn't tell well. And of our consuming diversions as we age is to recite, not only to others but to ourselves, our own story.”

“Later you referenced that anecdote to illustrate that my expectations were always preposterously outsized; that my very ravenousness for the exotic was self-destructive, because as soon as I seized upon the otherworldly, it joined this world and didn't count.”

“In a country that doesn't discriminate between fame and infamy, the latter presents itself as plainly more achievable.”

1 comment:

  1. I just finished this book. Although the story was painful to read the writing was truly incredible. This has to be one of the most well written and stunning books I have ever read. The author is brilliant in her method of portraying a family torn apart by their teenage killer son. Although you knew the basic plot early on, the reminiscing by Eva in letters to her estranged husband made her story brutally honest and riveting. I never figured out the final chapter, so I was blown away.
    I believe Kevin's character was truly born a sociopath (nature vs. nurture). His focus in life was to manipulate, mock, hurt, and treat all people(including his own family)as enemies. The shocking story on potty training was only a sneak preview of what was to come. Only after 2 years in prison did Kevin finally begin to realize that his triumph was perhaps not really worth anything, and that the next 5 years in adult prison were probably the end of his fame, and maybe his life.