Study Guide

We Need to Talk About Kevin Marriage

By Lionel Shriver

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Michael Chabon must be quite the catch. In 2005, Ayelet Waldman, wife of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, wrote that she loved her husband more than she loved her kids. Moms across the world were furious, as if Ms. Waldman said she hated her own kids, their kids, everyone's kids. We Need to Talk About Kevin, written before Ms. Waldman's inflammatory essay, explores this issue. Franklin thinks Eva doesn't love him with his entire heart, so when Kevin comes along, Franklin loves Kevin with 99.9% of his, leaving only that .1% for Eva. Eva finds out that she loved Franklin more than she showed, and she definitely loves her husband more than she loves her own son. This imbalance tears their marriage apart.

Questions About Marriage

  1. How would you describe Eva and Franklin's marriage before Kevin? Are they happy? How does having a baby change their marriage?
  2. Does Eva think that having another child will save her marriage, or does she have Celia for a different reason? Does Celia help or harm the marriage?
  3. Do you think Kevin is surprised when Franklin asks Eva for a divorce? Was that Kevin's plan, or did he not think about the consequences of his actions?
  4. If Franklin had not died, would he and Eva still be married?

Chew on This

Eva and Franklin had one fundamental flaw in their marriage: they loved each other differently. Kevin only helped them realize the difference.

At the end of the book, Eva finds herself "married" to Kevin in a way, which is appropriate because they love each other the same way: begrudgingly, and not very much.

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