Bad Seeds

There are plenty of movies with evil children; The Children of the Damned, Rosemary’s Baby, the Omen, etc…, and many of them are based on books. I have always been interested in the psychology of why someone does something, for good or bad. Demonic possession just doesn’t cut it for me when it comes to human interactions. Maybe reading one of these books will give me some insight into this matter. After all, one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch, or so the saying goes. But these bad seeds could spoil your day, or worse, your life!
Bad Seeds KevinWe Need to Talk About Kevin (M)
by Lionel Shriver
This Orange Prize winning novel is the most recent book I have read presenting the nature vs nurture question of human behavior. Can a person actually be born evil? Or is the influence of a mother’s love, or lack of, the reason for a child’s behavior? Kevin seems to have been born a rebel without a cause. There was always something “off” about him. Why he commits a Columbine-style shooting is unclear. His mother, Eva wonders about her guilt in relation to this crime. Shriver has readers wondering the same thing about Kevin and perhaps their own children!
Bad Seeds Todd Bowden Apt Pupil: summer of corruption (M)
 byStephen King 
King has written a number of nasty characters and a few of them are children. Ace in The Bodycomes to mind (but he isn’t the main character of the novel so I won’t write about him here). In Apt Pupil Todd discovers that his elderly neighbour, Arthur Denker, is not who he claims to be. Denker is really the wanted Nazi war criminal, Kurt Dussander. But instead of claiming a reward for turning Dussander in, Todd wants something far more sinister. He demands to hear very detailed stories about Dussanders crimes. As result of these meetings both characters start committing their own murders. I guess “like attracts like”.
Bad Seeds Ben The Fifth Child (M)
by Doris Lessing
Ben was the result of an unplanned and difficult pregnancy. At birth he was covered in hair. He has murderous impulses to threaten and harm children and animals. His family finally institutionalizes him, for their own and the community’s safety. When he is finally released, he is unable to adapt to the outside world. The story is continued in Ben in the World.
Bad Seeds Nile and Holland Perry The Other (M
 by Thomas Tryon 
Set in the 1930’s, identical twin brother grow up on the family farm. They commit various acts of mischief until a fateful day when they are discovered. Niles shows he is capable of terrible acts of violence.
Bad Seeds Jack Merridew – Lord of the Flies (M
 by William Golding
This Nobel Prize-winning author’s debut novel was published in 1954. A group of school boys (all under the age of 13) are in a plane crash on a deserted island. As the only survivors, they take matters in their own hands. The results are disastrous. One of the boys, Jack, really goes bonkers, representing the worse side of human nature. In the beginning there are rules, but the organization soon breaks down. Glasses are stolen, a pig is slaughtered, children are tortured, and a murder is committed. Bullying rules the day when children are left alone and Jack leads the charge.
Bad Seeds RhodaThe Bad Seed (M)  
by William March
Nominated for the 1955 National Book Award and has been adapted into a movie and a Broadway Drama. March writes a disturbing novel about an eight year old budding serial killer. Rhoda has no remorse for her evil deeds. Like many sociopaths, she is charming on the surface level but she installs fear in children. It presents a debate about Nature vs. Nurture to the reader. Rhoda’s grandmother was a serial killer, but Rhoda grew up with everything that a child needs. So, is she just born that way?!
The Girl Next Door (M)
by Jack Ketchum
Bad Seeds I debated with myself in regards to adding The Girl Next Door to this post and I will tell you why. Ketchum based the novel on the true story of the murder of Sylvia Liken in 1965. David introduces the reader to his suburban neighbourhood and the people in it. Ruth is a single mother and an alcoholic, who allows the neighbourhood children to run a muck in her house, even sharing her drinks with them. Ruth has two nieces who come live with her and this seems to push her over the brink. She begins to verbally and physically abuse the two girls, while the neighbour children watch. Over time the children begin to abuse the girls as well. After all, how many of us have the courage to say no to a mob! So while the initial evil person was an adult, the fact that the children took over her crime is the reason I added this book to this post.
So be careful what seeds of thought you plant because you never know which way they will grow!


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