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Daddy Love PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: Daddy Love
Author: Joyce Carol Oates
Publisher: Published January 8th 2013 by Mysterious Press (first published 2013)
ISBN: 9780802120991
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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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 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. He confines Robbie in a device called the Wooden Maiden, in essence a small coffin, and renames 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 was 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.

30 review for Daddy Love

  1. 4 out of 5

    Fabian

    Like "Zombie," this one is pretty horrific--about an abduction & a sick individual (o so very Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer) named Daddy Love. (No, this was not as I had previously thought, a hardcore gay porn novel, alas.) The prose always borders on sublime... with the atrocious goings-on constantly spattering mud all over the place. It becomes clear how to love J.C.O. is to appreciate all modern American Literature.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lori Anaple

    And the plot sickens. JCO is the master of taking a loathsome topic and eviscerating it. You know when you pick up one of her books that it is going to rock you to your core. But this one, I don't know how to rate it. On the one hand, it's a creepy subject, child abduction. She drives her theme home; explores how it is that children get conditioned and how families fall apart. She gets into the mind of the pedophile and shows that it is an ugly place to be. She kind of gets into the head of the ab And the plot sickens. JCO is the master of taking a loathsome topic and eviscerating it. You know when you pick up one of her books that it is going to rock you to your core. But this one, I don't know how to rate it. On the one hand, it's a creepy subject, child abduction. She drives her theme home; explores how it is that children get conditioned and how families fall apart. She gets into the mind of the pedophile and shows that it is an ugly place to be. She kind of gets into the head of the abducted child, but not really and that, I think, is my biggest complaint. I get how Gideon/Robbie doesn't remember his early life with his real parents. I get how the "love" and "punishment" of Cash controlled him. I get how this started manifesting with Gideon/Robbie starting fires. What I don't get is the inner workings of Robbie turning into and accepting being Gideon. That would have been more compelling for me. Also, the repetition in beginning of the book irritated me. All I really got from it was the Dinah's self loathing (which I understand. If I were to have my child abducted, I would self loathe too). But I don't understand the purpose. With Whit and Dinah we have parents who we never really get to know, and I wanted to know them. I wanted to know more about everyone except for the person we do get to know, which is Cash/Daddy Love. And even then, we don't get to see him develop, we just have to take him as he is. And that is fine, I understand that. We don't always have to see how evil develops to know that it exists. JCO usually doesn't disappoint me, but I feel ripped off here. She could have done better. Deep End of the Ocean and The Kid did this topic more justice (with the exception of the ending of The Kid...that just blew). Speaking of endings, this ending left much to be desired. Are we being set up for Robbie to be abducted AGAIN? Of course the boy is going to be altered. The circumstances that he lived through would have to alter someone, especially a young child. I guess I wanted and expected more. And JCO is certainly capable of delivery it.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Guidarini

    I thought sleeping on it, holding off writing my thoughts would help them gel and, to some extent, it did. It was too stunning reading the last page to plunge immediately into my impressions, too soon to digest what had just happened. I knew, from reading other novels in Oates's oeuvre she'd leave me reeling but still she managed to catch me by surprise, ending on the most harsh note, showing no mercy. True criticism of a book involves discussing both the positives and negatives, rating a book n I thought sleeping on it, holding off writing my thoughts would help them gel and, to some extent, it did. It was too stunning reading the last page to plunge immediately into my impressions, too soon to digest what had just happened. I knew, from reading other novels in Oates's oeuvre she'd leave me reeling but still she managed to catch me by surprise, ending on the most harsh note, showing no mercy. True criticism of a book involves discussing both the positives and negatives, rating a book not on how much it upset you but, rather, how the author succeeded or didn't in writing the book she set out to write. It's not based in how much the book upset you. Did JC Oates provoke emotion, stay true to her theme? The answer's yes, indisputably. She is a master, a modern genius. Not one word in this book is wasted. Not once does her prose slip from her purpose of maintaining the voice of an objective narrator, no matter what the scene, where the plot took the reader. Is the subject matter distressing? It's unnerving, horrifying and uncomfortable. Daddy Love the character provokes disgust and outrage, as he should. Robbie/Gideon's experiences punch us in the stomach. Oates is relentless, as always. Does our disgust lower our estimation? It should do the reverse: impress with its mastery. The events in the book are perverse and the plot sickening. Oates takes an innocent child, puts this innocent into the hands of a pervert. What happens is what has transpired all too many times in real life stories of kidnapping and abuse. And back home his parents's suffering, their differing reactions to the grief, feel genuine. The book is - with only very minor flaws I may decide weren't so, in a re-read - classic Oates and as near perfection as it's possible to be. The book should not be judged on its harshness, to repeat how criticism works. Rather, the question is, what was her intention and did she achieve it. The answer is a resounding yes. She did. My pulse pounded, my stomach constricted in disgust, my heart broke. For all this, five well-earned stars.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    This story has all the trademarks of the great writing that Joyce Carol Oates has been known for, first person narrative with uncomplicated sentences that put you in the shoes of characters in a visceral fashion. The characters she has chosen for this story is a boy whose is abducted over a six year period and his family that have to live with his missing and a man who refers to himself as Daddy Love who is a sadistic child abductor/sex offender. This story when told through the eyes of the crimin This story has all the trademarks of the great writing that Joyce Carol Oates has been known for, first person narrative with uncomplicated sentences that put you in the shoes of characters in a visceral fashion. The characters she has chosen for this story is a boy whose is abducted over a six year period and his family that have to live with his missing and a man who refers to himself as Daddy Love who is a sadistic child abductor/sex offender. This story when told through the eyes of the criminal can possibly make the reader uncomfortable due to the intentions and his actions but she successfully immerses you in the web of an evil crime that is headline news everyday around the world. The author is no stranger to writing about dark and stark realities as she regularly writes about crimes that you would like to think do not exist but are sadly occurring increasingly She incorporates this darkness successfully in her works, where other authors are afraid to tread or fail to and as a female writer she holds plenty of voice, punch and hook. Joyce Carol Oates is quite similar to the author Flannery O'Connor in many ways in her writing. http://more2read.com/review/daddy-love-by-joyce-carol-oates/

  5. 4 out of 5

    Snotchocheez

    Even if I didn't have a four year-old daughter whose actions (twice!) prompted Amber-Alert-esque "Code Adam" lockdowns at Walmart, and didn't live in the same state where, very recently, a freak decided to kill a bus driver, abduct a child from that bus and steal him away to an underground tornado shelter/bunker, Joyce Carol Oates' pedophilia yarn Daddy Love  would probably offend me, simply because of the casual,  off-handed way of introducing the pedophile in question, his actions portrayed, o Even if I didn't have a four year-old daughter whose actions (twice!) prompted Amber-Alert-esque "Code Adam" lockdowns at Walmart, and didn't live in the same state where, very recently, a freak decided to kill a bus driver, abduct a child from that bus and steal him away to an underground tornado shelter/bunker, Joyce Carol Oates' pedophilia yarn Daddy Love  would probably offend me, simply because of the casual,  off-handed way of introducing the pedophile in question, his actions portrayed, or the explaining away the actions of the titular pedophile as a product of societal failings.  I thought maybe I'd might, at first give JCO the benefit of the doubt, thinking she might be exorcising a demon or two, but as the (rather lean, by her standards) 240 pages progressed, I soon came to the conclusion she  had no real point to make, that this was hastily tossed off, and foisted upon her fans (some of whom, including a niwit at the NY Times, seem to believe this is just an example of JCO taking a sensitive topic and eviscerating it). Um, no. This is an unapologetic, sorry piece of crap from someone who really should know better. In comparison, this made me deem similarly themed works by Jodi Picoult as high art. Simply gawdawful.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bark

    I picked this audiobook up blind at a local library sale because I recognized the author name and, well, I’m not one to leave a cheap audio sitting on the sale table. Maybe this experience will teach me because right about now I’m feeling like I’ve been punched in the heart. For those who remain unaware, as I was, and would like to remain that way, you may not want to read any further (though I don’t at all recommend this unless you want to send yourself into a debilitating state of depression). I picked this audiobook up blind at a local library sale because I recognized the author name and, well, I’m not one to leave a cheap audio sitting on the sale table. Maybe this experience will teach me because right about now I’m feeling like I’ve been punched in the heart. For those who remain unaware, as I was, and would like to remain that way, you may not want to read any further (though I don’t at all recommend this unless you want to send yourself into a debilitating state of depression). I thought I was tough enough to handle anything. Turns out I was not. This book is about child abduction and does not flinch away from the pain, brainwashing, torture and tragedy inflicted on an innocent five year old for six years by a man who is a monster posing as a preacher. It’s also about the fallout that emotionally ruins the boys’ parents, who at the beginning of the story are deeply in love and very happy, but slowly begin to drift apart from the despair. If you are feeling just a wee bit too happy with your life and want to tone it down, oh about a zillion notches, this story will do the trick. It is awful. Not the writing but the subject matter. I can almost guarantee that when you finish, you’ll feel worse than this: I think I am traumatized. I honestly do not know how to rate this story. Devastating things happen in it that will haunt me forever but the writing and the emotions it evokes force me to give it a four and ½ but I can’t really recommend it. If you have children, dogs or a heart you may want to steer clear of it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    DADDY LOVE. (2013). Joyce Carol Oates. ****. This is a disturbing book. Oates has managed to tell the story of a pedophile and the young boy he abducted in a cold, journalistic way. The story focuses on Chester Cash, a roving criminal who serially works his way through a number of young boys who he uses both sexually and as slaves until he tires of them. The story starts out when Cash steals five-year-old Robbie from his mother while the two of them are looking for her car in the parking lot of DADDY LOVE. (2013). Joyce Carol Oates. ****. This is a disturbing book. Oates has managed to tell the story of a pedophile and the young boy he abducted in a cold, journalistic way. The story focuses on Chester Cash, a roving criminal who serially works his way through a number of young boys who he uses both sexually and as slaves until he tires of them. The story starts out when Cash steals five-year-old Robbie from his mother while the two of them are looking for her car in the parking lot of a shopping center. Cash throws Robbie into his van and then runs over Robbie’s mother as she is trying to catch them. Robbie’s mother, Dinah, is dragged under the van for over fifty feet before she is finally rolled free. Robbie is gone. Cash stores his new treasure in a box like a coffin until he can deliver him to his shack in Kittatinny Falls, NJ. It’s an isolated area, where he has no near neighbors. Cash trains Robbie, using both punishment and rewards, until Robbie is totally brainwashed and believes that he is now Cash’s son. Soon afterwards, Cash shows off Robbie to people in town and claims he’s his son. We are led through Robbie’s existence over the next seven years, and it is one of the saddest lives you would ever want to know. We also keep tabs on Robbie’s true parents, and the effects that this kidnapping has on their lives. They were devastated. Oates manages to keep her readers interested through the use of a style of writing similar to newspaper reportage. She also helps us get into the minds of both Cash and Robbie, and introduces us to that twisted world. The subject of this recent book is horrifying, but you are compelled to read it. There are people like Cash out there – unfortunately. Recommended.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Carl Alves

    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 fin 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

  9. 5 out of 5

    Douglas Wickard

    Whatever Joyce Carole Oates writes - I read. I'm an author. I write about disturbing human behavior, so when I saw JCO's new fiction DADDY LOVE, I couldn't wait to download it onto my Kindle, not knowing, exactly, what the subject matter was about. Nor, did I care. I recently finished BLONDE, her triumphant fictionalized version of our failed female icon Marilyn Monroe. Psychic damage erupts like wildfire in our culture, in our homes, in our communities in a multitude of forms. Victimization occ Whatever Joyce Carole Oates writes - I read. I'm an author. I write about disturbing human behavior, so when I saw JCO's new fiction DADDY LOVE, I couldn't wait to download it onto my Kindle, not knowing, exactly, what the subject matter was about. Nor, did I care. I recently finished BLONDE, her triumphant fictionalized version of our failed female icon Marilyn Monroe. Psychic damage erupts like wildfire in our culture, in our homes, in our communities in a multitude of forms. Victimization occurs and emotional scars are pervasive, the memory posts of this trauma erected, like tombstones. We drive by, daily, slowly, take in the damage, turn our heads at the abuse, the horror, the mistakes. We refuse observation, to witness that it's there, it's happening, ongoing and, in our own back yards. DADDY LOVE delivers! It rivets us, the reader, to get in touch with the arterial pulse of our cultural damage. Disturbing? Yes! Well written? Of course. The nuanced voice of Chester Cash is so horrific in nature it's almost legerdemain, as if JCO was channeling his arrogance, his Godly grandiosity, his ability to break down `green' boys and make them his. I hated him for who he was, what he did, what he wanted, but I could also understand the pathological depravity that bonds the boys to him emotionally. Robbie, i.e., Gideon, psychologically splits, destroying the old self, that young boy that suffered and cried and received punishment, and creates a new self, a vessel, a hollow shell that performs, on demand, good boy behavior and receives praise. Also, it is not by chance, I'm sure, with Oates's writing, that the mother comes out of the abduction scene disfiguered, a 'jack-o-lantern', deformed and ghoulish. Subtext abounds. We don't need a Chester Cash to show us what's happening in closeted, unlocked bedrooms across our country, although it's much easier creating a monster like Cash, particularly a Godly man, one we hate and despise and get sickened by, actually repulsed physically with his actions. I believe JCO exhibits freely the innocuous, innocent man/woman as always there, always waiting, always ready to scoop up our innocent, take procession of that bristly clean untapped target and make it an analogy for our destructive need to blemish. Destroy. Pollute. The brilliance of Oates shines through.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Shonna Froebel

    Dinah and her husband Whit have an exuberant 5-year-old son, Robbie. One day, as Dinah and Robbie are leaving a mall, Dinah is attacked and Robbie is taken from her. She struggles to follow, but is run over by the kidnapper's van, and left for dead. Dinah survives, but is left with debilitating injuries, and the police fail to find Robbie. The novel has sections from both Dinah and Whit's points of view, but also tells us the continuing tale of Robbie and his abductor, from their points of view. Dinah and her husband Whit have an exuberant 5-year-old son, Robbie. One day, as Dinah and Robbie are leaving a mall, Dinah is attacked and Robbie is taken from her. She struggles to follow, but is run over by the kidnapper's van, and left for dead. Dinah survives, but is left with debilitating injuries, and the police fail to find Robbie. The novel has sections from both Dinah and Whit's points of view, but also tells us the continuing tale of Robbie and his abductor, from their points of view. Using threats, punishment and reward, Daddy Love aka Preacher aka Chester Cash gains control over Robbie, passing him off as his own son. Oates shows us just how he manages this on the impressionable, intelligent, young boy. The reader sees the process and understands it, even as they are screaming 'no' inside, rooting for Robbie to make his escape. Two things stood out for me. One was the first few chapters, which repeated the kidnapping scene, each with different details and focus. This really struck me, as I could see how Diana would be going over and over it in her head, examining it for clues, holding onto memories. The second was the ending, showing the irreversible damage done to Robbie. This book really shows what an amazing writer Oates is. A disturbing, enlightening, and highly original novel

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

    As I finished the last page of this book, it hit me that JCO has become a zen mistress of storytelling and of the dark side of humanity. It hit me that she presents us with the outward manifestations of our darker impulses, maybe even with the top layer of introspection that accompanies them, but, not unlike Jim Thompson, she avoids trying to give a provenance and lineage to those impulses. It hit me that the ZOMBIE of her novel by that name was not the mindless sex slave the killer hoped to cre As I finished the last page of this book, it hit me that JCO has become a zen mistress of storytelling and of the dark side of humanity. It hit me that she presents us with the outward manifestations of our darker impulses, maybe even with the top layer of introspection that accompanies them, but, not unlike Jim Thompson, she avoids trying to give a provenance and lineage to those impulses. It hit me that the ZOMBIE of her novel by that name was not the mindless sex slave the killer hoped to create but the killer himself. And the last page of this book, which will leave most of you suspended in mid-step, confused and unsatisfied, is her way of telling us that the darkness does not go away, and that no matter what you live through you can never yet claim to have survived.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    A child's worst nightmare! A parent's worst nightmare! Dinah Whitcomb has the perfect life. A loving and successful husband (Whit) and a smart, wonderful young son named Robbie. One day their world is destroyed when Dinah is attacked and Robbie is taken in a mall parking lot. Dinah, critically injured, slowly recovers as her world and marriage struggle to exist every day. Seemingly hopeless, she keeps a flicker of hope that her son will be found alive. "Daddy Love" the kidnapper, a part-time preac A child's worst nightmare! A parent's worst nightmare! Dinah Whitcomb has the perfect life. A loving and successful husband (Whit) and a smart, wonderful young son named Robbie. One day their world is destroyed when Dinah is attacked and Robbie is taken in a mall parking lot. Dinah, critically injured, slowly recovers as her world and marriage struggle to exist every day. Seemingly hopeless, she keeps a flicker of hope that her son will be found alive. "Daddy Love" the kidnapper, a part-time preacher named Chester Cash has kidnapped, tortured, raped and murdered young boys for years. He has to be one of the most horrific villains I have ever witnessed between the pages and he now has Robbie. I could feel the anguish of Dinah, Whit and Robbie as Joyce Carol Oates did a superb job of writing about such a difficult topic.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Etienne

    4,5/5. Je m'attendais a un roman plus dure, plus profond. Le sujet est difficile, l'enlèvement et la captivité d'un enfant, et certains passages sont dures, mais on n'en ressort pas traumatisé comme certaines critiques semblaient le laisser sous-entendre. J'ai trouvé très bien dosé le rapport entre scène difficile et le «gore» ou la violence gratuite. Par exemple, la présence de viol est claire, sans qu'on ait à décrire en détails une série de scène où cela se produit. Le ton est très très juste 4,5/5. Je m'attendais a un roman plus dure, plus profond. Le sujet est difficile, l'enlèvement et la captivité d'un enfant, et certains passages sont dures, mais on n'en ressort pas traumatisé comme certaines critiques semblaient le laisser sous-entendre. J'ai trouvé très bien dosé le rapport entre scène difficile et le «gore» ou la violence gratuite. Par exemple, la présence de viol est claire, sans qu'on ait à décrire en détails une série de scène où cela se produit. Le ton est très très juste et le tout est très bien écrit. Par contre, l'histoire est assez classique et n'offre pas de grande surprise, on y explore cependant avec brio le côté de l'enfant, de la mère et du père, autant dans le avant, le pendant et le après avec les défis de chacun. Un auteur que je découvre avec ce roman et que je relirai sans le moindre doute, car au final, il s'agit d'un très bon roman!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alisa

    I'm not at all sure how to rate this book, so I'm going straight down the middle with three stars. However, if you're the kind of reader who's easily disturbed by violence, particularly psychological violence, Daddy Love is NOT for you. Daddy Love, by Joyce Carol Oates, is a novel of identity and how it is formed or reformed in crisis. Robbie, Dinah, and Whit Whitcomb have a nice life. Sure, they have some issues (Dinah's mom is a big one), but all-in-all, the Whitcombs are a happy family. Dinah I'm not at all sure how to rate this book, so I'm going straight down the middle with three stars. However, if you're the kind of reader who's easily disturbed by violence, particularly psychological violence, Daddy Love is NOT for you. Daddy Love, by Joyce Carol Oates, is a novel of identity and how it is formed or reformed in crisis. Robbie, Dinah, and Whit Whitcomb have a nice life. Sure, they have some issues (Dinah's mom is a big one), but all-in-all, the Whitcombs are a happy family. Dinah and her son five-year-old son Robbie are enjoying a day at the mall, but as they're searching for their car in the parking lot, a man crashes a hammer into Dinah's skull and wrenches Robbie away from her. Dinah, staggering from a severe head injury, tries to stop the van, but the driver simply runs over her, dragging her 50 feet. Here commences a parent's worst nightmare--a child kidnapped, a parent helpless. Dinah has years of difficult physical recovery ahead of her, and she persists only because she believes her son is still alive. Yes, Robbie is alive, but he's in the clutches of Daddy Love, an itinerant preacher who likes little boys. Little boys, not even pre-pubescent boys--those he finds disgusting. Robbie, at five, is his youngest victim, and Daddy Love is looking forward to years of enjoyment. The greatest trial of Robbie's life begins--can he survive? Can he adapt to the vacillating moods of Daddy Love? Can his body grow and stay healthy on a diet of fast food? Can his brain learn and think? Can he develop an independent identity? As both Dinah and Robbie struggle to survive in the most obvious ways, Whit, too, is struggling. His ordeal is not physical, but emotional. He has lost his son, he has nearly lost his wife (and he's certainly lost the woman Dinah once was), and he is seeking to form a new identity that includes all this loss. These characters are broken. The most broken character, however, is Daddy Love, aka Chester Cash. Chester has a long record of past violence, beginning as a child. He spent many years in a juvenile facility for murder. It's not clear whether he is a product of nature or nurture or a combination of the two, but he's definitely a product of evil. Daddy Love reminds me of Emma Donoghue's The Room--only creepier, more disgusting, and more ambiguous. Both Oates and Donoghue explore the theme of identity, especially identity forged under horrific circumstances. Both authors examine the role mothers play in protecting their children. But where there's hope in The Room, Daddy Love leaves the reader not just unsure of future, but terrified for it. It's hard to "like" a book that's as out-and-out creepy as Joyce Carol Oates' Daddy Love. You'd have to be some kind of sociopath to enjoy the violence and terror that enter the lives of Robbie, Dinah, and Whit. However, if you like to feel utter revulsion toward a character, Oates certainly provokes it with Daddy Love. This is why it's difficult to rate the book. If you like realistic horror (kind of hard to name what genre Daddy Love fits), Oates does it well. If you're easily disturbed, you won't want to read this. Reader, beware--this is not for everyone.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie Brody

    Daddy Love is the worst book I’ve ever read by Joyce Carol Oates. It is about a young boy, around 5 years old, who is abducted for 6 years. His abductor is a serial sexual predator who has multiple personalities. He presents himself as an artist, a minister, an advocate for causes, etc. His name is Chuck Cash but he has the boy, Robbie Whitcomb, call him Daddy Love. Robbie is called ‘Son’ by the man. There have been a slew of other boys brought to Daddy Love’s home and then murdered after they ha Daddy Love is the worst book I’ve ever read by Joyce Carol Oates. It is about a young boy, around 5 years old, who is abducted for 6 years. His abductor is a serial sexual predator who has multiple personalities. He presents himself as an artist, a minister, an advocate for causes, etc. His name is Chuck Cash but he has the boy, Robbie Whitcomb, call him Daddy Love. Robbie is called ‘Son’ by the man. There have been a slew of other boys brought to Daddy Love’s home and then murdered after they have gotten too old for his liking. He is a monster in every way. The main problems with the book are that it reads unevenly, the story line is not clear, the story jumps from place to place and the characters are not constant. I could follow the book. That is easy because it is so repetitive. However, it is repetitive in a fallow and shallow way. When Robbie is abducted, his mother is badly harmed as Daddy Love tries to kill her with his van. She is left for dead and her face and body are a wreck. Ms. Oates’ focuses on this repeatedly along with the story line not acknowledging any attempts by Robbie to try and escape. Despite horrific torture and heinous abuse, Robbie does not try to leave his abuser. He is a ‘good boy’ and remains at his abuser’s beck and call. One might say this is due to Stockholm syndrome but I just don’t buy it. It just doesn’t read like that. Joyce Carol Oates is a writer’s writer and she fails badly here, leaving her ‘stuff’ behind her and writing as an amateur. It is a shame because this story has a lot to work with and Ms. Oates just doesn’t know what to do with the whole story.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Abigail Padgett

    A chronology of Oates' titles will provide future sociologists with a blueprint for the years in which they were written, as defined in various literary genres. Daddy Love reflects the contemporary awareness of, and fascination with, child sexual abuse. The book may be described as The Last Word on the topic, so graphic and detailed is its presentation of an extreme case. ("Extreme" because the perpetrator is a clever psychopath of grossly pathological habits, where much child sexual abuse is pe A chronology of Oates' titles will provide future sociologists with a blueprint for the years in which they were written, as defined in various literary genres. Daddy Love reflects the contemporary awareness of, and fascination with, child sexual abuse. The book may be described as The Last Word on the topic, so graphic and detailed is its presentation of an extreme case. ("Extreme" because the perpetrator is a clever psychopath of grossly pathological habits, where much child sexual abuse is performed by otherwise ordinary men. The result is, however, the same. Robbie [the abused boy in Daddy Love]is damaged beyond repair, and every child victim of sexual predation will to greater or lesser extents share aspects of that damage.) The mother's body, smashed and broken by the perp during the kidnapping, may reflect the psychological state of all mothers whose children have been violated, or may symbolize a deeper assault on motherhood/women as a concept, that assault embodied in the annhiliation-of-self herein described. Whatever its symbolism, Oates here hands over to posterity a most graphic and gruesome look at a particular facet of our time. Sadistic sexual abuse of women, children and animals is nothing new, but large-scale public awareness of child sexual abuse IS new. Oates documents this social fact to its absolute limit in Daddy Love, obviating the need for any further fictional treatment of the subject.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Roman Clodia

    Dinah is out with her five-year old son Robbie when he is snatched: the rest of the book follows the life of Robbie with `Daddy Love' focusing on him as first a five year old child and then as an eleven year old. This is a book which should definitely come with a warning, especially for parents of young children - it's dark and nasty and brutal, and is often a difficult (as it should be) book to read. Oates is a highly-intelligent writer and she doesn't pull any punches here, but the unredeeming Dinah is out with her five-year old son Robbie when he is snatched: the rest of the book follows the life of Robbie with `Daddy Love' focusing on him as first a five year old child and then as an eleven year old. This is a book which should definitely come with a warning, especially for parents of young children - it's dark and nasty and brutal, and is often a difficult (as it should be) book to read. Oates is a highly-intelligent writer and she doesn't pull any punches here, but the unredeeming cruelty of the story, in both physical and psychological terms, does make this a hard read. So definitely not a book to while away your lighter moments - this is unflinching, unapologetic in that it doesn't strive to make excuses or `understand' what makes a paedophile and rapist the sadist that he is. This is, mercifully, a fairly short book and one which is difficult to put down in a twisted kind of way. And we're left haunted by the worry of what will become of Robbie after his early life... So this is hard-hitting and intelligent fiction, but a book which should be approached with caution by sensitive readers.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ray

    Do you remember that old song, Runaway Train? When I was a child, I was listening to this song, shocked by its video: There are over one million youth lost on the streets of America. Even now, I do not know exactly what I felt … pity, angriness, sorrow, for all the lives that were/are destroyed by some of us. Literature has always been a mirror of reality, and in its history we discover themes like love, war, family relationships, friendships, religion and many others. Why wouldn’t abduction be Do you remember that old song, Runaway Train? When I was a child, I was listening to this song, shocked by its video: There are over one million youth lost on the streets of America. Even now, I do not know exactly what I felt … pity, angriness, sorrow, for all the lives that were/are destroyed by some of us. Literature has always been a mirror of reality, and in its history we discover themes like love, war, family relationships, friendships, religion and many others. Why wouldn’t abduction be one of its themes? A theme which is molded from our own dark reality of the 21st century, which we hear on the news or in some crime films or TV series. But is Literature – with capital L, the one that is worth reading – entitled to depict such a theme? Why should a writer write about this, when there are so many other things to be talked about? http://raysithaca.blog.com/2012/12/28...

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mysterious Bookshop

    A deeply disturbing novel not for the sensitive, Oates' new novel is about child abduction. A horror story set firmly in the real world, the text opens with mother Dinah Whitcomb being savagely attacked by a stranger who, after taking her son from her, runs her over with his car. Disfigured, pained, and filled with grief, Dinah and her husband try to keep their relationship alive while their young son is isolated and tortured by a monster who is somehow simultaneously inconceivably evil and all A deeply disturbing novel not for the sensitive, Oates' new novel is about child abduction. A horror story set firmly in the real world, the text opens with mother Dinah Whitcomb being savagely attacked by a stranger who, after taking her son from her, runs her over with his car. Disfigured, pained, and filled with grief, Dinah and her husband try to keep their relationship alive while their young son is isolated and tortured by a monster who is somehow simultaneously inconceivably evil and all too human. Dark, yes, but what drives Daddy Love (and provides its most disturbing passages) is Oates' capacity to render human reactions and responses so realistically that the reader empathizes immediately, pushed forward by the emotional narrative as well as the events of the text. A fine work from one of America's great living authors. --Alex

  20. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    All I can say about this book is once you get reading it is hard to put down. I deals with a child abductor, who is a Preacher/Artist. It is not that disturbing or graphic, but there are mention of sexual abuse. I have a few other books by Joyce Carol Oates, I hope they are as good as this one.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    This novel disturbed me. I read it in two days, but DADDY LOVE will haunt me a long time. I cannot recommend it because of its subject matter, though I think it's a very well-written story.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Heta

    Joyce Carol Oates' Daddy Love is a gutwrenching, disturbing story about an abducted boy, a disturbed pedophile and grieving parents. Weaving these points of view together, Oates creates a sickening, chilling story that will stick with you for ages. Five-year-old Robbie Whitcomb is abducted into a van in April 2006. His mother is ran over by the madman, Chester Cash, who, for six years, continues to abuse, groom and rape Robbie. This book digs into the psyche of a highly troubled, disgusting man s Joyce Carol Oates' Daddy Love is a gutwrenching, disturbing story about an abducted boy, a disturbed pedophile and grieving parents. Weaving these points of view together, Oates creates a sickening, chilling story that will stick with you for ages. Five-year-old Robbie Whitcomb is abducted into a van in April 2006. His mother is ran over by the madman, Chester Cash, who, for six years, continues to abuse, groom and rape Robbie. This book digs into the psyche of a highly troubled, disgusting man such as Chester with such punch that I was gasping for air at times. Reading from Chester's perspective is so harrowing because he is so realistic. His character is not gratuitous or overly written, no, men like him have always existed and will always exist. The realism of it all made it hard to stomach. The same goes for how the other points of view were handled. Robbie's transformation to Son, an obedient little boy, and then to Gideon, a boy desperate to escape, was realistic and showed Oates' capability to understand the human mind. The plot progresses well and I found this book very hard to put down. I was so invested in Robbie and hoping for his freedom all the way through. There certainly was hope and there were moments of possibility of healing for him. The ending left me scratching my head, but I like that. It means this book will keep me thinking about the characters and their fate in the future, and it is always important for me to take something away from a book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bert Zee

    Well, that was a little bit disturbing, and very very sad. The final page is like getting punched in the gut. Joyce Carol Oates, a little old white lady pushing 80 has one of the most warped minds ever. Her novel ‘Zombie’ is like going to hell and back, and this is just as horrifying, if not more. The writing is really direct and straightforward, Oates has the ability to write beautifully without it seeming forced or overdone, she’s such a pro. A great storyteller and a great writer. The story goes Well, that was a little bit disturbing, and very very sad. The final page is like getting punched in the gut. Joyce Carol Oates, a little old white lady pushing 80 has one of the most warped minds ever. Her novel ‘Zombie’ is like going to hell and back, and this is just as horrifying, if not more. The writing is really direct and straightforward, Oates has the ability to write beautifully without it seeming forced or overdone, she’s such a pro. A great storyteller and a great writer. The story goes to some really dark and disturbing places, it’s not easy reading by any means, I’d recommend reading it when you’re in the right frame of mind because if you aren’t it could be quite upsetting. The final 20 pages just broke my heart. It actually made me feel a little bit sad, I’m gonna have to watch Tangled or Moana or something now to make me happy again. 4.5 stars.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I am attempting to untangle my very conflicted feelings about Joyce Carol Oates. I feel, very much, as though I should like her fiction – she is a female author who, despite controversy and accusations of sensationalism, has insisted upon writing a plethora of narratives which deal explicitly with sexual and interpersonal violence. She incorporates elements of the gothic, as well as of classical mythology, into her texts. These are all things I generally love! Yet, what in, say, Angela Carter, I I am attempting to untangle my very conflicted feelings about Joyce Carol Oates. I feel, very much, as though I should like her fiction – she is a female author who, despite controversy and accusations of sensationalism, has insisted upon writing a plethora of narratives which deal explicitly with sexual and interpersonal violence. She incorporates elements of the gothic, as well as of classical mythology, into her texts. These are all things I generally love! Yet, what in, say, Angela Carter, I find liberating and meaningful, in Oates seems to me to be grating and somewhat offensive. I keep coming back to her books (according to this website, I have at this date read three of her novels and four of her collections of short stories), and, though I am unsure what I expect to find, each time I end up frustrated anew. After probably the most recent short story collection, I was able to tenuously identify it: while Oates repeatedly represents sexual and interpersonal violence in her work, she almost always qualifies these representations with the suggestion that the violence might be in some way fantasized, desired, and/or deserved on the part of the victim, locating the source of these violence ultimately in the psyches of victimized women for whom it has become central to their sense of self. Her frequent toying with the possibility that a victim might bring violence upon herself, or create it altogether out of her imagination, shifts the focus of her work from the fact that such violence does exist pervasively in the world to the fact that women often do think about it, whether with fear or desire or both. She is very cruel to her white, middle or upper class female protagonists, as though, belonging to the same demographic category as they, she has a unique license to pillory their neuroses and privileges (so many stories about white women imagining/expecting/trying not to expect violence from lower class men or men of color! and I don’t know why that is a trope she needs to be perpetuating in any form!). Carter is similarly hard on all her protagonists for their (however conditional privileges) – think of Melanie in The Magic Toyshop or Marianne in Heroes and Villains – but her novels treat the violence visited on them as real and serious, and tend to show them growing and changing, developing resilience under adversity and surviving their experiences. Oates rarely does. With all this in mind, I recently decided to read Daddy Love, which is about abduction and child sexual abuse. As if she’s read some of the same trauma memoirs I have, along with a generous helping of ‘true crime’ nonfiction, Oates dutifully lays out, one after another, many of the elements that have come to be generic to abduction narratives: the slick, obsessive serial perpetrator, who carefully constructs public and private personas; the calculated modus operandi of the abduction itself; the grotesque paraphernalia with which the abducted child is imprisoned and ‘disciplined'; even the loss of self and traumatic bonding which often result from such protracted captivity and dependence on a perpetrator. The violence in this novel wasn’t suggested to be a fantasy or paranoid delusion; it was real, and it had all the trappings of reality. But yet I still finished the book intensely frustrated. For some reason that I can’t understand (I suspect it might have to do with wanting to subvert or complicated dominant narratives of violence, except that emotionally nuanced representations of any kind of captivity are rare enough that this seemed unnecessary) Oates decided to turn the grotesquerie of the violence in the novel back onto its victim, and spend the last quarter or so of the book, which takes place after his escape, showing from his mother’s perspective how bizarre and incomprehensible her son has become to her, how almost physically uncomfortable it is for her to interact with him. The novel takes us inside the victim’s head only very briefly, as he is struggling to live with his captor and slowly coming to realize that he too will likely be murdered when that captor tires of him, but then we are sharply shut off from his perspective, and his attempted reintegration into society is represented from outside as fundamentally impossible, as though he has been irrevocably tainted by the violence he experienced. By omitting the moment of the victim’s escape or anything he might think about his rediscovered therapist, his family, or the world he has been returned to, the novel obscures the victim’s agency, or his identity as anything but a receptacle for the perpetrator’s desires (I realize that representing victims’ agency has become a point I rather harp on in these posts; I think that unlikely to change). The novel ends with an ominous image of him interacting with an older, potentially predatory man, as though he is doomed forever to reenact his victimization as his alienated mother watches. The victim himself seems transformed, in this ending, into something barely human. I keep wanting very, very much to like Oates' work, but I cannot, and I am honestly rather perplexed as to her intended audience is with novels like these – clearly it doesn’t seem to be survivors of violence anything like that she represents, because I cannot imagine how the novel could in that case be anything other than alienating in its dehumanization of the victim? People who like to read true crime novels without thinking about them too deeply, and whose perspectives she wants to shake up? Anyone who wouldn’t be embarrassed taking a book with a title like Daddy Love out in public?

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Quotable: Tired was what she’d never admit to her husband, let alone her son. Tired was her secret shame, alarm, disappointment in herself for she believed that tired was just ordinary weakness. If you are happy in your life and living a good life you are not ever tired but suffused with the strength of happiness.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Audrey Giroux

    Un roman très sombre et dérangeant, mais tellement fascinant que je ne pouvais pas le poser.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Phil

    It's hard to believe I've been exploring JCO's bibliography for over a year now and have barely scratched the surface. This one is pretty brutal all the way up to the last page. Not for the weak of heart.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Sam Sattler

    Joyce Carol Oates has an astounding way of getting inside the heads of sexual predators and their victims. Hers is such a talent, in fact, that her darkest novels (and, with Oates, dark is a relative term because almost all of her novels can be called dark) are a challenge to a reader’s emotional sensitivities. And, the author’s latest, Daddy Love, in which a five-year-old is violently snatched from his mother in a shopping center parking lot, is even more disturbing than most. As Diane and Robbi Joyce Carol Oates has an astounding way of getting inside the heads of sexual predators and their victims. Hers is such a talent, in fact, that her darkest novels (and, with Oates, dark is a relative term because almost all of her novels can be called dark) are a challenge to a reader’s emotional sensitivities. And, the author’s latest, Daddy Love, in which a five-year-old is violently snatched from his mother in a shopping center parking lot, is even more disturbing than most. As Diane and Robbie walk through the mall parking lot, they play a game designed to teach the little boy to pay attention to his surroundings. His mother is subtly guiding Robbie back to their car while asking him to help by telling her which way to turn and whether they are going in the right direction. But the truth is that Diane is finding it difficult to remember exactly where she parked and, because she is so distracted by her own confusion, she never notices the man preparing to knock her down and steal away with her son. Later, despite having been severely injured during her stunned efforts to save her son, Diane finds that she will second-guess herself for the rest of her life. Their marriage will be so severely stressed by the loss of their only child that Diane and Whit Whitcomb will barely manage to stay together. Through it all, Diane, even though battling physical and emotional trauma that will scar her forever, refuses to believe that Robbie will not one day come home. Years later, she is still waiting for the magical phone call announcing that her son has been recovered from his abductor. Robbie’s kidnapper is Chester Cash, a serial child-abductor who insists that his victims call him Daddy Love. Cash, a part-time preacher and full-time ladies man, is brilliantly evil. He disguises his contempt for women so well that he easily manipulates a string of lonely and insecure ones to do his dirty work – from cleaning his pig sty of a house, to doing his laundry, to giving him their money – all the while, playing mind-games with his young victims that turn them into willing victims for years at a time. Cash’s usual routine of rape and torture, followed by rewards for pleasing him, works until Robbie begins to comprehend why Daddy Love’s earlier victims have all disappeared. He figures out that around age twelve, which Robbie is fast approaching, Cash will no longer find him sexually appealing. If he is going to survive, Robbie has to make his escape soon because he is running out of time. The most horrifying aspect of Daddy Love is the novel’s portrayal of the effectiveness of brainwashing suffered by young victims at the hands of sexual perverts. Robbie, because he becomes so dependent on Daddy Love for his physical and emotional wellbeing, never makes a break for freedom or cries for help despite having ample opportunity to do so. He simply cannot imagine a life without Daddy Love. Oates, by telling Daddy Love’s story from both his and Robbie’s viewpoints, shows how a child’s innocence is so easily and completely overwhelmed by an adult evil enough to want to do so. Not easy to read, and even harder to forget, Daddy Love is a reminder of the shadow world that threatens our children…a world parents cannot afford to ignore.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Dianne

    In my opinion books needs to do at least one thing – entertain you, make you think, make you laugh, teach you something, take you out of your life for a few hours – in the end it should give you a feeling of satisfaction. This book just made me feel like I needed a shower - from the inside out. Robbie has been taken from a parking lot by a very, very bad man. You will soon find out in no uncertain terms just EXACTLY how bad this man is. Many years are going to pass in which this bad man has our In my opinion books needs to do at least one thing – entertain you, make you think, make you laugh, teach you something, take you out of your life for a few hours – in the end it should give you a feeling of satisfaction. This book just made me feel like I needed a shower - from the inside out. Robbie has been taken from a parking lot by a very, very bad man. You will soon find out in no uncertain terms just EXACTLY how bad this man is. Many years are going to pass in which this bad man has our Robbie/Gideon, brainwashed Robbie/Gideon, and abused Robbie/Gideon. Meanwhile Mom’s life is falling apart, yet we never really get the story from her. We just get bits and pieces of what it must be like in her shoes. Child abduction/sexual abuse is an important subject matter, don’t get me wrong – but the way Ms Oates handled it left me quite uncomfortable. Perhaps that is the good thing about this novel. Perhaps one shouldn’t be able to read about a subject like this without some trauma to the reader. You view the meat of this book mostly from Daddy Love’s perspective and it is a ‘dirty’ view, so be prepared. When you hear from the mother – especially the first section of the book –you may just get annoyed at the repetition of it all. You KNOW that everything is important to the reader but do you really need things repeated 3 or 4 times on a page or two? This is thankfully a very fast read coming in at about 250 pages or so – but while reading it, you might feel, as I did, that you have been reading for eons. I have ever read anything by this author before, but I have always heard what a wonderful writer Ms Oates is. An after reading this book, I must agree. Ms Oates has a way with words. Unfortunately, for me this may not have been the best book for me with which to start reading this author. This is one of the most uncomfortable subjects I have ever read about, but since it is an important one, I felt like I could trust Ms Oates to get me through it with my sanity intact. Ms Oates writing style with this book manages to drag you into the story kicking and screaming. You just know you have to finish the book, if only to see just how everything resolves.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sheree

    I requested this book, knowing from the detailed synopsis what the content was about ... I read horror, I read true crime, so I'm not pleading ignorance or wailing "it wasn't what I expected." After being profoundly moved by Elizabeth Scott's Living Dead Girl, a story I will never forget, I thought Daddy Love would evoke similar feelings. The story is a parent's worst nightmare, it's heart breaking and horrifying reading of little Robbie's abduction, the unspeakable torture and abuse he was subje I requested this book, knowing from the detailed synopsis what the content was about ... I read horror, I read true crime, so I'm not pleading ignorance or wailing "it wasn't what I expected." After being profoundly moved by Elizabeth Scott's Living Dead Girl, a story I will never forget, I thought Daddy Love would evoke similar feelings. The story is a parent's worst nightmare, it's heart breaking and horrifying reading of little Robbie's abduction, the unspeakable torture and abuse he was subjected to. It was heartbreaking to read of Dinah's (Robbie's mother) horrific injuries but more significantly the unfathomable emotional torment Dinah and her husband suffered. Chester Cash (Daddy Love) is not a morally reprehensible character, that would be too kind! He is pure evil. My skin crawled, I was utterly repulsed by his deceptive and manipulative skills, I wanted to vomit, I feel sick to my stomach just typing 'Daddy Love'. It's a disturbing and sad fact that sociopathic sexual predators exist in our society, the horrors they perpetrate are very real, making reads like this all the more distressing and terrifying. So all that trauma and I'm left speechless by the ending ... actually I wasn't speechless, I was what the?? The ending was ... SHITE. I was trying to think of a more civil way to word it, but I can't and now I don't want to. I was so shocked by the ending or rather non-ending, I flicked back and forth thinking I must have missed something, I read it again and again, I downloaded the book again believing the download was faulty. Nope that was it ... when I think about it I actually find it rather insulting that as a reader I'm expected to believe that an 11 year old boy who's experienced a 6 year descent into hell can leave a psychologist's office alone?? I appear to be in the minority with my thoughts on this one.

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