Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Daddy Love by Joyce Carol Oates

Genre: General Fiction
Publication Date: 8th January 2013
Pages: 240
Book Source: Mysterious Press & NetGalley

Synopsis: Dinah Whitcomb has everything: a loving husband and a smart young son named Robbie. Then one day their world is shattered when Robbie is abducted from a parking lot and Dinah is run over by the kidnapper’s van, mangling her body nearly beyond repair. The kidnapper, a reverend named Chester Cash, aka Daddy Love, has for years abducted, tortured, and raped young boys. Daddy Love renames Robbie as ‘Gideon,’ brainwashing him into believing that he is Daddy Love’s real son, and any time the boy resists or rebels he is met with punishment beyond his wildest nightmares. 

As Robbie grows older he becomes more aware of just how monstrous Daddy Love truly is. Once terrified of what would happen if he disobeyed Daddy Love, he begins to realize that the longer he is locked in the shackles 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 boy lies a spark of rebellion . . . and soon he will see just what lengths he must go to in order to have any chance at survival. 


My Thoughts: 
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 and 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.  





16 comments:

  1. Oh no, I do not want a shitty ending!

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    1. yeah I'd have passed if I had of known :(

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  2. wait - what do you mean, he left the office alone? left the office and the family? walked home? ???? I don't get it, but I would think that a boy who had been abducted wouldn't be left to walk anywhere alone.

    Joyce Carol Oates does ten to write depressing books, they are usually pretty bleak. Any book I've read by her has left me feeling empty and bleak. I don't read her anymore.

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    1. he left the office complex, somehow? his psychologist must be an idiot? he somehow avoided his waiting parents? and was eating at a restaurant close by but you'd have to read it in context to know exactly how shitty it was. Unless another JCO book came highly recommended I don't think I'd bother either Mardel

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  3. Wow ... sorry to hear this one was so horrible :(

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    1. yeah bummer ending with it being such a traumatic read

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  4. I wanted to try this one but a shite ending, no, not with such an emotional read. And sometimes you just have to say shit hon, totally get it :-)

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    1. Thanks Marce, yeah I wouldn't have invested emotionally in this one if I'd have been warned about the ending but then maybe I'm just picky?

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  5. Think I will pass. I was moved by Living Dead Girl too.

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  6. I read Living Dead Girl too ad that book totally got under my skin. I almost requested this one but for some reason I held off. Now you must tell me about this shite ending and why the boy would leave alone......the rest of the book disturbs the hell out of me!

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    1. this is no Living Dead Girl Staci!! Will fill you in on the rest via email ;)

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  7. Hmm , I am not looking forward to this one so much now

    Shelleyrae @ Book'd Out

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    1. sorry Shelleyrae, will be interested to see what you think

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  8. I read a few of this author's books back in the early '80s. I remember her as being a dark writer and somewhat difficult to connect with. It sounds like this is no exception. And the ending would kill it for me too.

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    1. I don't mind dark but I wasn't too keen on the writing style. Not sure I'd pick up another one by this author, I'll wait til I get over the trauma of this one lol

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