I'm really struggling with this month's selection for my Thursday night book club. I have a week to go until the meeting, I have had the book for a month, but I'm unable to start it. Which is bad -- I tend to think that if you're going to belong to a book club, it's only fair to actually participate and read the books. Not just your own picks! I'm extra sensitive about this, because my ex-book club was dominated by a woman who was constantly pitching books for the club to read -- almost always new releases, in hardcover and thus, more expensive -- and yet she almost never bought and read these books herself. This drove me nuts, so a year ago, I found a new book club.
This month's choice looks pretty tough and even my friend Leslie, who pitched hits book, admitted that it's pretty bleak. "We Need to Talk About Kevin," by Lionel Shriver, won the the U.K's Orange Prize in 2005. It tells the story of a fictional school massacre, from the perspective of the killer's mother, Eva, and sets out how she tries to come to terms with her son Kevin and with what he has done. Ouch.
The mother's story is apparently told in a series of letters to her estranged husband. I'm sure it's an important book and I'm sure that once I'm finished, I'll be glad that I read it. But this isn't going to be easy.
I need to remember that I felt this way about The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold. I had heard so many good things about that book, yet delayed reading it for probably a year because the premise sounded so painful. (SPOILER ALERT!) The premise of the Lovely Bones is, of course, the tale of a young woman's abduction and murder as told by the teen from the afterlife, where she watches her family and her friends cope with her disappearance. Despite all of my concerns about how hard this would be to read, in the end it was a wonderful book.
It's difficult, though, to imagine coming out the end of reading We Need to Talk About Kevin, without feeling devastated. But here goes......