Here's the thing. If I can't get past how a story is written, I am not going to enjoy it. At all. The way this book is set up just forced me to struggle through until the very end to get to the final pages of the book. With information parsed out to readers slowly, I think the author was hoping to build tension with the final reveal of what happened to the main character, her husband, and how their son Kevin came into play. I pretty much guessed at everything and had no sympathy for the main character or Kevin. I don't think as readers we were supposed to really. I just felt discouraged by the end of the book and really didn't get the ending with the main character resigning herself to just be there for her son.
The main character, Eva Khatchadourian begins the story by writing to her estranged and unseen husband Franklin about their marriage, their lives before they became parents, and their son Kevin who is imprisoned for doing something that remains unnamed for part of the book. Eva is not a sympathetic character at all. Maybe because the way we readers get to know her are only through her letters to her husband. And most of the letters are her writing back and forths to him with her saying things like well you said this and I said that and then you said this and then I felt that. I felt like I was reading someone's diary and I struggled to get through it.
When the book shows how ambivalent Eva was to become a mother, you start to have her question is that why her son turned out the way he did. With both of them hating each other at first sight pretty much. You can tell that part of her wants to be blamed/punished in some way though she also doesn't think she should be punished and blamed. Reading about her thoughts to her husband really didn't feel letter like at all. It just felt like a very long monologue with no end in sight.
I really couldn't get into the writing at all. I think the way the book sets it up in letter format to Franklin was why I could not engage. I felt like there was a wall up and even when we have Eva listing the truly awful things that took place I felt like I could be reading a medical journal for how little emotion I felt from her. And I am going to say this, I really didn't read horror at all in this book.
The flow doesn't work since in the letter format we have Eva reciting things that are happening to her right now and then her remembering things with Franklin and her constantly trying to explain herself to him.
When we almost get to the end we get the reveal of what Kevin has done with Eva herself trying to explain it not only to Franklin and to herself. I think I was supposed to be shocked, but I honestly wasn't. Instead I was more flummoxed at Eva even still visiting Kevin after what she writes and what readers find out. I felt at that point sorry for Eva. Especially since I think for her, she was blaming herself, but also blaming Kevin. I don't think the book really offered any answers for why Kevin was the way he was. I think Eva trying to see if it was her or something in Kevin and trying her best to argue that to Franklin really didn't work. In this day and age you have kids who are given every opportunity in life and they still go and do horrible things to others. I wish that the book had maybe shown more than just Eva since she really didn't stand out for me in any way while reading. She was a faceless person for the entire book and I never really got much of a sense of her at all when we got to the end.