Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Review: We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

We need to talk about Kevin was another book club choice...not mine I hasten to add, but having heard recommendations from others, I was looking forward to reading it. Oh how my mind was soon changed. 

I have avoided reviewing this book for a while now, because I'm very conflicted about it. In some ways, it is an excellent book and I would urge others to read it, however it then comes to mind how I practically threw the book at the person who loaned it to me the very next day after I finished it, and shouted at them for making me read it. I soon calmed down.

Here's some arguements for and against We Need to talk about Kevin.

Lets start with for shall we?
Once you get past the very slow paced start of the book where Eva rambles on about her heritage,her courtship with her husband Franklin and her carefree existence travelling the world, it picks up pace hugely and is quite un-put-downable.It is completely a book which sucks you in, and despite the fact that I really didn't like it (see below), I couldn't stop reading it. 

Yeah that's pretty much it for the for arguement, lets move on to against.
The main reason I suppose I disliked this book is that the story is so shocking. Well it was to me anyway. Something I've discovered while discussing the book with others is that this is very much a matter of individual perception. For me, the thought of having a child is a little bit scary, and the book really played on this for me. Eva decides to have a baby because her husband Franklin wants one, and she thinks that she should, not because she particularly wants to. We find out early on that Kevin has participated in a school shooting, and the premise of the book is the debate on nature vs nurture I suppose you could call it. Has Kevin committed this atrocious act because Eva never really wanted him in the first place or are there arguments put forth in the book to show that Kevin is inherently "evil" and nothing she could have done would have prevented his crime?

The book chronicles Kevin's life, and as I mentioned, life before Kevin, in a series of letters from Eva to Franklin and in my opinion there is no doubt that there was something wrong with Kevin from early on in his life. Others however say that the stories Eva tells throughout the book are nothing but exaggerations of actual events and that she had decided that she didn't love him, when he was born and needed a good reason for this, (not accepting post-natal depression?). 

I was quite horrified throughout the novel with the different events and with Kevin's character, and this is mainly why I needed to get the book off my hands as soon as possible. It haunted me, Kevin haunted me, even little baby Kevin appeared in my dreams while reading this book. It is not something I would put myself through again....

However, at book club, we spoke about this book for no less than 4 hours, non-stop. 
That's the most we've ever talked about a book for. So is that a good sign? I would be disinclined to recommend this book to an individual, but for a book club, maybe. Everybody's opinion on this book is very different, and it stirs up great conversations. When I finished it, I needed to talk about it, perhaps because I was traumatised, or perhaps because it's just one of those books. 

So to conclude, I definitely didn't like it, in fact I hated it, but for it to stir up such a reaction as all of this, maybe it's worth a read.

 Score: 1/5

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

My Knitted Patchwork Style Throw

Up until now, I haven't really been talking much about my craft section, however I have secretly been working on a few projects which I will share with you.

The first one I want to show you is my Knitted Patchwork Style Throw.  I have been working on this on and off for years now, I would knit tirelessly for a couple of weeks then leave it to one side and not pick it up again for maybe months.  However about 6 months ago, I decided with only a few squares left to do on it that I was going to finish it once and for all, and it's something I'm actually really really proud of.

The pattern was taken from a knitting magazine which I started collecting.  Included in each issue was a pattern for each square and a ball of wool.   Given that there are 90 squares in total, you imagine this took a long time to collect.

But finally I did get them all and here is the finished product.  I would say that I started this originally at least 5 years ago, but each square probably took between 2 and 4 hours to knit depending on the difficulty level and also any extra embroidery or embellishment which had to be added.

The most daunting part of the task was actually putting all my squares together.  Remember I had 90 of them to sew and I'm not too confident with my sewing skills so this particular operation was put off for quite a while.  Once I had the squares sewn together, the next step was to add a crochet edging to it, you can't really see from the photos but there are 2 rows of edging, a bluey grey and then maroon on the very outside.

I'm not too sure what to do with this now that it's done,  it's actually very very heavy and even when I was working on the edging and had it spread over my lap, I was absolutely boiling underneath it!  For not it will probably stay on the bed in the spare room, where I can show off my handiwork. :)