A mother whose son is responsible for a high school massacre tries to figure out where she went wrong in raising him. Eva lives as a pariah in the small town where her son, the now infamous Kevin Khatchadourian, killed his classmates in a high school massacre. Eva moves from her beautiful mansion-like house to a small run down home near the prison where Kevin is held and attempts to restart her life. She is tormented by her neighbors who give her strange looks as she passes on the street and who vandalize her house with red paint. She takes the only job she can get, working at a travel agency where she is ridiculed and demoralized.
Eva is consumed with guilt by Kevin's actions and as his mother she tries to figure out where she went wrong. In flashback she reflects on key moments in Kevin's upbringing. She recalls meeting her loving husband, Franklin and reminisces about the night they conceived Kevin. Eva is reluctant to have a child and give up her jet-setting life. From birth Kevin is a problematic child and his constant screaming and crying literally makes Eva sick. Kevin is no better as he grows older—he is withdrawn and refuses to speak though doctors can find nothing wrong with him.
Eva becomes so frustrated with Kevin's coldness and his reluctance to be potty trained that in a rage she throws him against a wall. Eva rushes him to a hospital where the doctors put Kevin's broken arm in a cast. Eva is terrified that she will be charged with child abuse but to her surprise Kevin lies to both the doctors and his father, protecting Eva.
Eva tries to convince Franklin that their son has a problem but Kevin is always sweet when his father is around and Franklin insists that Kevin is a normal boy and that it's all in Eva's head. Kevin and Eva share one close moment when Kevin comes down with a childhood fever. He becomes transfixed by the book Robin Hood that Eva reads him while he is sick. Once he is better however he is crueler than ever. Inspired by Robin Hood, he begins to focus all his attention on archery.
Eva and Franklin have a second child, Celia who is the opposite of Kevin and everything Eva wanted in a daughter. While Kevin is babysitting her, Celia is the victim of an supposed accident that leaves her blind in one eye. Eva blames Kevin and for Franklin this is the last straw. Eva and Franklin plan their divorce unaware that Kevin is eavesdropping.
Eva relives the memory of the day of Kevin's school massacre. After hearing that there's been an attack at the high school Eva rushes over only to find that her son has been arrested for locking several students in the school's gym and killing them with a crossbow.
Shell-shocked, Eva returns home hoping to find comfort with Franklin. Instead she finds that her husband and daughter have been killed, their bodies filled with arrows. Eva spends the rest of her days preparing for when Kevin will turn eighteen and will be freed from prison.
Best part of story, including ending:
This story explores the idea of nurture versus nature and questions how responsible a parent is for the person their child becomes.
Best scene in story:
Eva asks her imprisoned son why he committed his crimes. She finds that he has no real answer.
Opinion about the main character:
Eva is intentionally written to be pompous and self-absorbed but she becomes humbled by her son's crimes.