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Daddy Love Hardcover – January 8, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press; First Edition edition (January 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802120997
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802120991
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #525,267 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Oates’ daring journey through the labyrinths of criminal minds takes a fierce turn in this unflinching yet restrained tale of the sick symbiosis between an abducted child and his fiendish captor. Dinah, a white woman living in Michigan, defied her nasty mother to marry Whit, a black radio personality. They love and adore their son, Robbie, who is a smart if high-strung five-year-old when a stranger ambushes Dinah in a mall parking lot, grabs her son, and nearly kills her when she desperately runs after his van. Known as Chester Cash, a secretive itinerant preacher and craftsman, this monster calls himself Daddy Love as he conducts his gruesome regime of torture, rape, and reward, which we witness from both his and Robbie’s perspectives over the course of six grim years. For all the horror and sensationalism of her wrenching subject, Oates judiciously charts Robbie’s brutal metamorphosis and Dinah’s resilience in an urgently compelling and drastically revealing study of evil, habitual terror, and survival. HIGH-DEMAND BACK STORY: Expect heated interest from Oates devotees and all readers drawn to strongly wrought, psychologically incisive dark tales. --Donna Seaman

Review

“After all these years, Joyce Carol Oates can still give me the creeps. Oates is a mind-reader who writes psychological horror stories about seriously disturbed minds, and it’s hard to tear your eyes away from her grimly detailed portrait of Daddy Love. But her insights into nice, ordinary people—the kind of people Robbie’s parents used to be, before their son was stolen—are no less incisive. Oates has more knives to throw before bringing this harrowing tale to a close—but she saves the sharpest one for the very last page.”—Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

"Wrenching, tightly written and focused . . . a grim examination of how humans cope with unspeakable physical and psychological pain. She illuminates the darkest corners and shows us the startled, troubled creatures hiding there, nursing their wounds, staring back at us, their kin."—Cleveland Plain-Dealer

"I haven't met a Joyce Carol Oates story or novel that I didn't like and Daddy Love is no exception."—Huntington News

"Haunting, terrifying, disturbing.”—Atlantic Wire

“Joyce Carol Oates, author of dozens of grim novels, knows the dark side of life better than most and explores it here in a lean and disturbing tale that reverberates after its ending.”—Columbus Dispatch

“Oates makes us squirm as she forces us to see some of the action through Love’s twisted and warped perspective.”—Kirkus Reviews

“This unsettling tale showcases Oates’s masterful storytelling.”—Publishers Weekly

“An urgently compelling and drastically revealing study of evil, habitual terror, and survival.”—Booklist

"Daddy Love is a book not to be taken lightly . . . [it] pushes us to confront what lurks behind the front door."—New York Journal of Books

"Joyce Carol Oates’s latest book is a horror. As in horror story, frightening, alarmingly realistic. The monsters in Daddy Love are people, not fantastical creatures from the deep or outer space. They are human."—PopMatters

Customer Reviews

Most of all, the anguish of his parents.
Amelia Gremelspacher
I honestly tried to read this but even skipping page after page I could not get anywhere.
Ken Foster
Book ended too quickly, almost like she got tired doc the story.
george

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 100 REVIEWER on December 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Joyce Carol Oates writes about horrors that none of us want to imagine, and does it with such seductive prose we can't stop reading. Yet Oates' great talent is to find the horrific in both the commonplace and in the unthinkable. Daddy Love begins with a momentarily misplaced car that leads to a child's barely contained panic and a mother's sense of failure, a small horror that evolves into the larger horror of child abduction.

Part one takes place in 2007. Dinah Whitcomb has invested "all of her volcanic Mommy love" in her only child, Robbie. She strives to make every moment a learning experience for her five-year-old son. She faults herself when she feels tired, because a happy mother should always feel strong. Later she will blame herself for letting go of Robbie's hand when Robbie is snatched from her. Although she is faultless -- the abductor strikes her, first with a fist and then, when she runs after him, with a van -- Dinah feels "the defeat of her life as a mother."

The first four chapters tell the same brief story, each from a slightly different perspective, adding or subtracting facts, revealing more of Dinah's life, her sense of connection with her husband and son. In chapter five, time again begins to move forward. But can life really move forward for someone who has been as badly damaged, both physically and emotionally, as Dinah?

In the chapters that follow, Oates changes the perspective, allowing the reader to follow Robbie and his kidnapper. Oates reveals the demented mind of Daddy Love with the same skill that makes her portrayal of Dinah's tormented mind so convincing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Explorer on March 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Chet "Daddy Love" Cash lives in the hamlet of Kittatinny Falls, NJ. He presents himself to the locals as an artist, a bearded, youngish muscular mountain man who specializes in macramé. He travels around the country in the guise of an aging, vital preacher, gray bearded, in black with a distinctive crimson vest. He drives an old van that he repaints time and again. In the van, he carries a small box, fashioned by him in the shape of a coffin with a divided, hinged lid, like Dutch doors. In the box, when he needs a replacement, he stores a boy, snuggly fitted, gagged, a boy usually of six, a boy sealed in stark terror, though the real terror comes later under the stern training routine of his captor, Daddy Love.

Life and literature have given us some heinous criminals who make even the most avid anti-death penalty advocates reconsider their position. Many of them pale in the shadow of Oates's Daddy Love. I can say unreservedly that this novel will raise your blood pressure and keep you awake at night, especially if you are a parent or a grandparent. Child abduction and abuse arouse feelings of abhorrence and fear in us, without us actually feeling within ourselves what a wounded child feels. With her well known and respected, though not always liked, psychological legerdemain, Oates enables you to feel in the most visceral way the blinding terror that a stolen child feels, and the total desperation and self recrimination of suffering parents. Let that serve as both a recommendation and a warning.

For about the best true recounting of child abduction, you'll also want to read
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amelia Gremelspacher TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The sexual predator, stunningly obvious to Chester Cash, seem invisible to parents. In fact these men do roam looking for young children. The story of six year old Robbie stolen brazenly and kept captive for six years, is not so strange to our world. We all know the stories.

Oates is able to touch the pulse of each of her characters. Her portrait of the psychopathic Cash is spot on. While not all predators go to such extremes, his mind is the grandiose, delusional prototype of the sexual sadist. Robbie as evolved into Gideon is a window onto the psyche of the abused hostage, split into pieces by the lack of human emotions from Daddy Love. Most of all, the anguish of his parents. They have come to live in the hell of losing a child.

Kind of hate the stars right now, because I could hardly say that I loved the book. But I do respect the book and feel that the emotions portrayed here are real and valid. I personally found them very immediate, and all too accessible. This is a tough story, but one I believe has a place to be told.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen Valentine on July 23, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is a very, very, very disturbing book and not a particularly well-written one. I love Oates most of the time but in this story--which is all too believable--I felt she lingered a bit much on the brutality and the sordid details and then left us hanging at the end. In one sense, yes, we know that a child who went through what Robbie went through is not destined for a good outcome but I found the ending abrupt and a bit lacking. I am not sure I would recommend it to anyone without warning them to be prepared to be horrified and then disappointed.
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More About the Author

Joyce Carol Oates is the author of more than 70 books, including novels, short story collections, poetry volumes, plays, essays, and criticism, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys and Blonde. Among her many honors are the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction and the National Book Award. Oates is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University, and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.

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