Sunday, November 11, 2012

2011 Top 10: We Need to Talk About Kevin

Final in a series of reviews of my 10 favorite books read in 2011 -- and the sole novel in the group.

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver, ©2003

The fictional biography of a family whose teen son carries out a school shooting, written as a series of letters from his mother to the husband from whom she’s now separated.

It’s a perfect storm of nature (a boy who’s a seeming sociopath from birth) and nurture (an incongruent mother; a permissive father in denial) combining to create a nightmare. Fascinating, disturbing, outstanding.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

2011 Top 10: Unbroken

[Resuming here as if ten months hasn’t passed…]

Ninth in a series of my 10 favorite books read in 2011, presented in alphabetical order.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, ©2010

The biography of Louis Zamperini -- juvenile near-delinquent, Olympic runner, WWII prisoner of war ... inspiring human. A painful and wonderful observation of the truth of post-traumatic stress: that “trauma” refers as much (or more) to our disabling responses when we’re finally safe, as it does to our survival in the moment of danger. I listened on audio, read reassuringly by the fabulous Edward Herrmann. This was recommended to me as “uplifting” by numerous friends, and it is, absolutely.