We Need to Talk About Kevin is known as the book about the school massacre, but it’s really much more than that. It’s also about motherhood, and it talks having a child in a way that I’ve never heard before. It’s a brutally honest look at a mother who doesn’t want to have children but who does it anyway. Let’s just say it doesn’t turn out very well.
I’m at a time in my life when it seems as though everyone around me is having kids, talking about having kids, or asking me when I’m going to have kids. It’s pretty rare to hear someone say that they don’t want kids, let alone to read about it in a novel. In this interview, the book’s author, Lionel Shriver, gives a pretty honest answer to the question, “Do you think it’s selfish not to have children?”:
I believe that my decision not to have kids is entirely selfish. It’s out of protection of the kind of life that I now lead that I don’t want to give up. The kind of geographical independence I experience. Even what we just spoke of — not wanting to get pregnant. It’s a protection of a physique to which I’m very attached. I can’t think of a single reason that isn’t directed toward me.
The only selfless aspect of not having children is the degree to which I might be considering the welfare of a child born to me if I didn’t really want him.
The movie version will probably focus on the outrageous and over the top aspects of this book and on the school massacre itself, because that’s what movies do. But after watching the trailer, I definitely still want to see it. (I’ll be watching We Need to Talk About Kevin at TIFF this year.)
I highly recommend reading the book, but you should also check out the movie when it opens in theatres.