Number 27 in my 1001 books and authors to read before you die list is We Need To Talk About Kevin; a thrilling fictional account of one mother's attempts to come to terms with the fact that her son was solely responsible for a High School shoot-out along similar lines to the Columbine massacre. In between visiting her son in prison, Eva writes letters to her ex-husband in a desperate effort to work out where they both went wrong and how she might have done things differently.
What I like best about this book is the way it addresses the whole Nature vs Nurture debate and, with plenty of twists and turns, ends up being compulsive reading for anybody who either is a parent or thinking about becoming one! I also love the way that, in the final chapters of the book, we begin to realise that all is not necessarily as it appears and that Eva is much less a reliable narrator than we might have first have thought! This throws everything into a new perspective and gives the novel a touch of realism because, as everyone knows, our memories are often unintentionally unreliable and, very often, people remember the same event in many different ways! Though the early chapters are a little long-winded, once this novel really gets going it is very hard to put down!
Number 28 on my list is The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak; one of the few novels to ever make me cry! Liesel is very young when Death first crosses her path; she is being shipped by train to live with a Foster family in Berlin in the early days just before The Second World War when her younger brother dies from malnutrition and starvation.
Over the course of the next few years, Death crosses her path three more times and, during the course of this journey, develops an obsession with the girl he comes to know as The Book Thief. In a series of anecdotes, Death tells us her remarkable story and brings us firmly into the life of this young girl forced to grow up long before her time. To say any more would give too much away but rest assured, by the end of this tragic tale you will be needing a tissue! It is a beautiful tale told from a very different perspective to that we normally see in books about The War and is one of the greatest stories I have ever ever read in all my life!!