Two years ago, Eva's son, Kevin, murdered seven of his fellow high-school students, a cafeteria worker, and a teacher. Because he was only 15 at the time, he received a lenient sentence and is now in a prison for young offenders in upstate New York. Telling the story of Kevin's upbringing, Eva addresses herself to her estranged husband through a series of letters. Fearing that her own shortcomings may have shaped what her son has become, she confesses to her ambivalence about both motherhood in general and Kevin in particular. Lionel Shriver tells a tragic, compelling and absorbing story where the larger tragedy is one of a country where everything works, nobody starves, and anything can be bought but a sense of purpose.