Category: Diversathon 2021

#Diverseathon2021: March’s Prompt and Host!

It’s hard to believe that February is over and tomorrow is March 1st: Now it is time to talk about March’s prompt and host for #Diverseathon2021.

For March the prompt is: Books set in Ghana.

March’s host: Tyler Simone over at Reading in Black. She will be at YouTube and Instagram.

Here is her announcement post over on YouTube, and she is also hosting a GIVEAWAY!!!!  Be sure to click on that link for the giveaway information. She also shares about the book she is reading for this month. 

For full details on this year long readathon, please click here.
And don’t forget about the awesome GRAND PRIZE at the end of the year. Click the link here for that information.

So what am I reading for March for #Diverseathon2021? My choice for March is the audiobook version of:

Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi

Book Description:

Kweku Sai is dead. A renowned surgeon and failed husband, he succumbs suddenly at dawn outside his home in suburban Accra. The news of Kweku’s death sends a ripple around the world, bringing together the family he abandoned years before. Ghana Must Go is their story. Electric, exhilarating, beautifully crafted, Ghana Must Go is a testament to the transformative power of unconditional love, from a debut novelist of extraordinary talent.

Moving with great elegance through time and place, Ghana Must Go charts the Sais’ circuitous journey to one another. In the wake of Kweku’s death, his children gather in Ghana at their enigmatic mother’s new home. The eldest son and his wife; the mysterious, beautiful twins; the baby sister, now a young woman: each carries secrets of his own. What is revealed in their coming together is the story of how they came apart: the hearts broken, the lies told, the crimes committed in the name of love. Splintered, alone, each navigates his pain, believing that what has been lost can never be recovered—until, in Ghana, a new way forward, a new family, begins to emerge.

Ghana Must Go is at once a portrait of a modern family, and an exploration of the importance of where we come from to who we are. In a sweeping narrative that takes us from Accra to Lagos to London to New York, Ghana Must Go teaches that the truths we speak can heal the wounds we hide.

 

What are YOU reading for #Diverseathon2021 in March?

#Diverseathon2021: Book Review and Movie Comparision: We Need to Talk about Kevin

Today I am giving my review for the February prompt for #Diverseathon2021: A main character with a mental illness. The book I am reviewing is We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver and I am also giving a movie comparison.  This month the host is Lee over at DarkestwingsRead. She is at YouTube, Tumblr and Instagram.

Her announcement post over on YouTube, and she is also hosting a GIVEAWAY!!!!  Be sure to click on that link for the giveaway information.

For full details on this year long readathon, please click here.
And don’t forget about the awesome GRAND PRIZE at the end of the year. Click the link here for that information.

We Need to Talk About Kevin
Author:
Lionel Shriver

Narrator: Barbara Rosenblat
Published: April 14, 2003
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 28-February 19, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Eva never really wanted to be a mother. And certainly not the mother of a boy who murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and a much–adored teacher in a school shooting two days before his sixteenth birthday.

Neither nature nor nurture exclusively shapes a child’s character. But Eva was always uneasy with the sacrifices and social demotion of motherhood. Did her internalized dislike for her own son shape him into the killer he’s become? How much is her fault?

Now, two years later, it is time for her to come to terms with Kevin’s horrific rampage, all in a series of startlingly direct correspondences with her estranged husband, Franklin.

A piercing, unforgettable, and penetrating exploration of violence and responsibility, a book that the Boston Globe describes as “impossible to put down,” is a stunning examination of how tragedy affects a town, a marriage, and a family.

Jessica’s Review:

I had heard of We Need to Talk about Kevin years ago and its shocking ending.  I can say I finally read it as a part of #Diverseathon2021: February’s prompt was a character with a mental illness.   Well, I listened to the audiobook, and it was quite a challenge for several reasons.   It was 15 discs and the final disc was an author interview.  I have been listening to books through the Libby app on my phone, but this was only available as a cd, so I listened to it whenever I was in the car and it took a while to finish.

In addition to the length I had issues with the audiobook narrator’s voice. It was almost like nails on a chalk board for me. Also, Eva, our narrator and mother of Kevin is not likeable at all.  But I persevered and it ended up being worth it!

Eva speaks to the reader via letters to her husband Franklin.  Eva is very detailed, candid, graphic, and everything out there in her nearly daily letters written to Franklin.  Eva never wanted to be a mother, but Franklin longed to be a father, so Eva gave him the gift he wanted, and the result was Kevin.  Kevin was an issue with Eva from the second he was born. His birth was not an easy one and Eva felt nothing towards Kevin.  Some people should not become parents and Eva is one of them!  In some ways Eva is an unreliable narrator with her one-sidedness towards Kevin.

The novel is hard to digest and you can’t really read too much at one time, and it does tend to drag at least halfway through.  There are some shocking decisions that Eva makes that I could not believe as I read. And the Eva vs. Kevin relationship is just so messed up on so many levels. 

We Need to Talk About Kevin leaves you thinking about so many things long after you have read it.  Is it nature versus nurture?  Was Eva the cause of Kevin’s behavior with her lack of love for him?  Or was Kevin born to be a sadistic murderer?

We Need to Talk About Kevin is NOT for everyone.  It takes place just 12 days before Columbine, and the Columbine shooters and other school shooters are referenced  as well as the 2000 election.  Kevin is a very difficult read, but if you can persevere then the ending makes it worth it Kevin is a very difficult read, but if you can preserve then the ending makes it worth it.  And again, that ending I just did not see coming. Knowing the ending now, I should have seen the red herrings that were shown throughout!

I don’t think I will ever read this novel  again, given the extreme difficulty I had with it, but I am glad I accomplished it.  Many thanks to #Diverseathon2021 for ‘causing’ me to finally read this one.


Movie Comparison:Movie Trailer:

We Need to Talk about Kevin the film is very close to the novel.  It is not the format of letters, but the movie comes strictly from Eva’s perspective.  I did like how we got to see more of the aftermath of the shooting and how the town treated (or mistreated given your opinion) Eva. We get that more than we did in the novel. 

Eva does visit Kevin in prison more in the novel than the film, and there was one shocking part from the novel that did not make the film. I would have liked to have seen that particular scene. 

Eva is perfectly played by Tilda Swinton who matches the description of Eva to a ‘T’ for me: Tilda Swinton has those angular features which Eva has described in the novel.  Ezra Miller plays 15 year old Kevin and he does a fabulous job. Even ‘young Kevin’ who was played by Jasper Newell did a very good job portraying Kevin. 

This will most likely be a film I will never watch again, as it is a one time watch film due to the nature of the film. It is one that also leaves you thinking.

I would say read the book first, as you get more of Eva’s personality/ experiences in the novel and then of course that ending is so much more effective than the movie.  The movie handles it well, but again the book is much better.  It’s hard to say more about the book and film with out giving spoilers, but I would love to discuss this book and movie with someone who has read and seen both!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US

Novel
Film (It is FREE to stream if you are an Amazon Prime member)

Amazon UK
Novel
Film

[Top]

#Diverseathon2021: February Prompt and Host!

We are now in February and the second month of the #Diveseathon2021 Readathon!

This month the prompt is: A main character with a mental illness.

This month the host is: Lee over at DarkestwingsRead. She will be at YouTube, Tumblr and Instagram.

Here is her announcement post over on YouTube, and she is also hosting a GIVEAWAY!!!!  Be sure to click on that link for the giveaway information.

For full details on this year long readathon, please click here.
And don’t forget about the awesome GRAND PRIZE at the end of the year. Click the link here for that information.

So what am I reading this month for #Diverseathon2021?  It’s one I had heard about before and there is also a movie too (and if you are a prime member, you can watch it for free on Amazon)!  My choice for this month is:

We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

Book Description:

That neither nature nor nurture bears exclusive responsibility for a child’s character is self-evident. But generalizations about genes are likely to provide cold comfort if it’s your own child who just opened fire on his fellow algebra students and whose class photograph—with its unseemly grin—is shown on the evening news coast-to-coast.

If the question of who’s to blame for teenage atrocity intrigues news-watching voyeurs, it tortures our narrator, Eva Khatchadourian. Two years before the opening of the novel, her son, Kevin, murdered seven of his fellow high school students, a cafeteria worker, and the much-beloved teacher who had tried to befriend him. Because his sixteenth birthday arrived two days after the killings, he received a lenient sentence and is currently in a prison for young offenders in upstate New York.

In relating the story of Kevin’s upbringing, Eva addresses her estranged husband, Franklin, through a series of startingly direct letters. Fearing that her own shortcomings may have shaped what her son became, she confesses to a deep, long-standing ambivalence about both motherhood in general—and Kevin in particular. How much is her fault?

We Need To Talk About Kevin offers no explanations for why so many white, well-to-do adolescents—whether in Pearl, Paducah, Springfield, or Littleton—have gone nihilistically off the rails while growing up in the most prosperous country in history. Instead, Lionel Shriver tells a compelling, absorbing, and resonant story with an explosive, haunting ending. She considers motherhood, marriage, family, career—while framing these horrifying tableaus of teenage carnage as metaphors for the larger tragedy of a country where everything works, nobody starves, and anything can be bought but a sense of purpose.

[Top]