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Daddy Love by Joyce Carol Oates

Daddy Love (edition 2013)

by Joyce Carol Oates

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11415105,887 (3.59)4
Title:Daddy Love
Authors:Joyce Carol Oates
Info:Mysterious Press (2013), Hardcover, 240 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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Daddy Love by Joyce Carol Oates



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I read another book written by Joyce Carol Oates and I absolutely hated it. Despite that, I thought I would give this novel a try. As it turns out, this was way worse than the other book I read from Oates. I absolutely hated every aspect of this novel. For starters, the writing style was so irritating, I couldn’t handle it. Whether in Dinah’s perspective or Daddy Love’s perspective, the narration grated on me to the point where I couldn’t take reading it for another second or I would have to find the closest window to jump out of it. The characters were awful and one-dimensional. They did not resemble real people. Also, the novel, although short in word count, is long-winded. The narration goes on and on and nothing happens. It’s as if Oates is writing words for the sake of writing words. I only made it about a third of the way through this novel, and I almost always finish novels that I start, no matter how bad they are. This is one of the worst I’ve read.

Carl Alves – author of Blood Street ( )
  Carl_Alves | Dec 29, 2014 |
I have read many books on the subject of child abuse and pedophilia and many of them were quite good. This one is not. What do you do if you have one hundred and fifty pages of content and you want to write a book over two hundred fifty pages long. First, you refer to the characters by name over and over again. Daddy Love must be in the text a thousand times. I read Mommie, Robbie and Gabriel so many times that I wanted to scream. It wasn't just names that were constantly repeated - many other aspects of the book were also.After spending 2/3 of the book with Daddy Love Oates drops him like a hot potato and goes back to lives of the missing boys parents who have been absent for five years. This is the literary equivalent of listening to fingernails scratching a chalk board.. ( )
  muddyboy | Mar 13, 2014 |
Creepy, unsettling, and brilliant! Oates’ novel recounts the kidnapping of a very young boy named Robbie Whitcomb by a man who calls himself Daddy Love. Oates details the cycle of sexual and physical abuse and conditioning that bond the two as father and son in the eyes of their community for six years. Oates also shows the painful crumbling of the marriage of Robbie’s real parents and a reunion that is so sad it’s tragic. This disturbing book will appeal to fans of Emma Donoghue’s Room.
  vplprl | Nov 15, 2013 |
I almost abandoned this book about a little boy, Robbie, who is abducted and sexually tortured for six years. The early chapters were just too disturbing. Either I hardened my heart or I just got caught up in the suspense, but I’m glad I stuck it out. It’s a riveting portrayal of a despicable monster and it raises interesting questions about how trauma and abuse shapes a child.

Note: to this reader, the first few chapters were excruciating. Describing the abduction of the boy outside a shopping mall, Oates repeats the same facts over and over from slightly different perspectives, and I lost patience quickly. Then as the story changes over to Robbie’s life with the predator, Oates abandons the technique of repetition and the pace of the book speeds up considerably. ( )
  CasualFriday | Apr 27, 2013 |
Oates is obviously a very talented author, but just the couple of books I have listened to have not quite measured up for me. Although I can't say I loved this novel, I do have to admit that it did still captivate me in a way that had me eager to get back to my car and listen to it. I think Williams narration helped my appreciation of this book.

The beginning of this book was very confusing for me. It seemed to repeat the opening scene continuously, maybe giving a different perspective or giving just a little bit more information each time. I think almost the entire first disc was spent repeating that scene and I started to wonder if that was going to be the entire book. Luckily, it wasn't, and once it moved on my annoyance passed quickly.

When Robbie is kidnapped the book alternates perspectives between Robbie, Dinah, and even the kidnapper, Chester Cash. Sometimes I have problems keeping books like this straight, especially in the audio form, but that was not the case with this one. Williams did a great job of narrating the different parts and I was able to follow along easily.

I think Oates did a great job of depicting the situation as we followed the boy and his kidnapper for years afterward. We a get a glimpse into Robbie's head as he yearns for a normal life, wanting to have friends and participate in school activities, rather than being hidden away. And on the flip side of the coin we see what life is like for the parents that are left behind with a huge whole in their lives.

Although the book started out rocky for me, it did pick up allowing me to enjoy the story. Although the storyline is ripped from the headlines, Oates goes a bit further by relating the feelings of all involved. She really is a talented author and this makes me want to go get her latest novel. With themes of love, trust, and deceit, you may also enjoy this book. I do recommend this book for those that are interested in this type of storyline and also think it would make an interesting book club discussion. ( )
  jo-jo | Apr 19, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
The ever-prolific Joyce Carol Oates hits a nerve with Daddy Love (Mysterious Press, $24), a dark and gritty novel of survival, in some ways evocative of Emma Donoghue's Room.
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Take my hand, she said.
He did.  Lifted his small hand to Mommy's hand.  This was maybe five minutes before the abduction.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802120997, Hardcover)

Dinah Whitcomb seemingly has everything. A loving and successful husband, and a smart, precocious young son named Robbie. One day, their worlds are shattered when Dinah is attacked and Robbie is taken in a mall parking lot. Dinah, injured, attempts to follow, but is run over by the kidnapper's van, mangling her body nearly beyond repair.

The kidnapper, a part-time Preacher named Chester Cash, calls himself Daddy Love, as he has abducted, tortured, and raped several young boys into being his lover and as well as his 'son'. He confines Robbie in a device called an Wooden Maiden, in essence a small coffin, and renamed him 'Gideon'. Daddy Love slowly brainwashes 'Gideon' into believing that he is Daddy Love's real son, and any time the boy resists or rebels it is met with punishment beyond his wildest nightmares.

As Dinah recovers from her wounds, her world and her marriage struggle to exist every day. Though it seems hopeless, she keeps a flicker of hope alive that her son is still alive.

As Robbie grows older, he becomes more aware of just how monstrous Daddy Love truly is. Though as a small boy he as terrified of what might happen if he disobeyed Daddy Love, Robbie begins to realize that the longer he stays in the home of this demon, the greater chance he'll end up like Daddy Love's other 'sons' who were never heard from again. Somewhere within this tortured young boy lies a spark of rebellion...and soon he sees just what lengths he must go to in order to have any chance at survival.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:44 -0400)

Kidnapping a latest victim in a string of young boys he tortures and rapes, a self-styled preacher confines the child in a small box and gradually brainwashes him over subsequent years into believing that they are father and son; while the boy's mother, who was savagely injured during the abduction, clings to hope that her son is alive.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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