Monday, March 12, 2012


Our March 10th book club meeting has just ended and I am riding on the train home, from Rahway.  The book we chose to read was long (over 400 pages) and very difficult to read, due to the large amounts of difficult words.  Only the host completed the book.

Anywho, while some people could not complete the book due to its ridiculous vocabulary, those that came close were absolutely obsessed with it.

Me....I found it absolutely intriguing.  Actually, although I didn't want to admit it, I actually loved it and as disturbing as this might sound, I could relate to it.....alot.

Book: We Need To Talk About Kevin
Author: Lionel Shriver
Synopsis: In this gripping novel of motherhood gone awry, Lionel Shriver approaches the tragedy of a high-school massacre from the point of view of the killer's mother.In letters written to the boy's father, mother Eva probes the upbringing of this more-than-difficult child and reveals herself to have been the reluctant mother of an unsavory son. As the schisms in her family unfold, we draw closer to an unexpected climax that holds breathtaking surprises and its own hard-won redemption.

I am still in the process of reading the book, but this is one concept that really stood out to me.....and intrigued me.  I found myself go back to it 3 times and pondering over it in my head.

Example #1: Underfear
Underfear is the fear that you won't actually fear something fearful or something tragic or anything that would cause any human being to have a highly emotive reaction.  It's the fear lying under your fear that someone close to you will die tragically.
It is the fear that undermines your fear that you will be hurt beyond compare and unable to handle the amount of grief and despair or emotions a certain circumstance will bring.  It is the fear that there will be no grief and no despair.  No emotion at all....just indifference.  It is the underfear.

Book excerpt:
Up until April 11, 1983, I had flattered myself that I was an exceptional person.  but since Kevin's birth I have come to suppose that we are all profoundly normative.  (For that matter, thinking of one's self as exceptional is probably more the rule than not.)  We have explicit expectations of ourselves in specific situations---beyond expectations; they are requirements. 
Some of these are small: If we are given a surprise party, we will be delighted.
Others are sizable: If a parent dies, we will be grief-stricken.  But perhaps in tandem with these expectations is the private fear that we will fail convention in the crunch.  That we will receive the fateful phone call and our mother is dead and we feel nothing. 
I wonder if this quiet, unutterable little fear is even keener than the fear of the bad news itself: that we will discover ourselves to be monstrous. 
If it does not seem to shocking, for the duration of our marriage I lived with one terror: that if something happened to you it would break me.  But there was always an odd shadow, an underfear, if you will, that it would not---that I would swing off blithely that afternoon to play squash.


  1. Wow!!! I must not have gotten to that part yet in the book. To me the book was intriguing as well. I considered it a great feat to read something different. I like seeing it from the mother's point of view of childrearing and how she see's her own child. And how she deals with the fact that her child, emotionless kills his peers, father and sister. Underfear is a great vocabulary word. I sometimes in the deep depths of my soul wonder this about certain things, that may seem to break me but i walk away unaffected as other's or myself even would seemingly think I should be broken.

  2. Underfear is a great vocabulary word....only it isn't a real word. I looked it up and it doesn't exist in the dictionary, so I guess the author made it up for the purpose of the book. Either way, the concept intrigued me.

    I have on more than one occassion been called cold-hearted. The accuser is always joking or says they know that I act coldhearted, but am soft as cotton inside. But really, am I? Could I be covering up my coldheartedness with softness, but my coldheartedness keeps showing through and confuses people?
    I love children and really have a soft spot in my heart for my siblings and nieces/nephews and know that I would absolutely adore my own children. However, there are other aspects of my life where I am not so sure. Am I monstrous? This part of the book made me wonder. :-/

  3. Underfear?? do you feel as though you have this issue?

    1. Yes, I really do! I was thinking in terms of spirituality, but also some people feel I have a lack of feelings in regard to other things, as well.