Thursday, August 17, 2006

Just read: We need to talk about Kevin

I've discovered a dangerously good op shop within walking distance of work, with a book collection that would rival many mainstream bookstores. Clearly they have one or more regular donors who buys the latest releases from Dymocks or Angus & Robertson, reads the books and instead of stockpiling them (as I do), donates them to charity a year or so down the track.

For a readaholic like me, it is heaven. A lot of the books I have noticed but was either too cheap to buy or couldn't afford to buy a year ago eventually turn up in this store, for less than a quarter of the original price. I don't care if the book is a little dog-eared; the words and story and meaning aren't lost just because someone has cast their eye over them before.

One such book was We need to talk about Kevin. The novel deals with the unthinkable: A mother who takes a more or less instant dislike to her child from the moment he is born, and the child grows up to become a mass murderer, killing seven students and a teacher at his school 3 days before his 16th birthday. The whole way through there is this underlying question of whether Kevin was born evil and his mother instinctively recognised this or if he turned out the way he did, because his mother hated him. The mother in her own words is not a very attractive character but the novel, written in the form of letters to her former husband and Kevin's father, is utterly compelling.

I finished the book in less than 2 days.

The other book I bought was Purple America which I suspect I am going to end up donating back unread. The first chapter is one sentence. A long one, going over several pages. Not quite my thing.

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