web site hit counter Rape: A Love Story - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

Rape: A Love Story

Availability: Ready to download

Teena Maguire should not have tried to shortcut her way home that Fourth of July. Not after midnight, not through Rocky Point Park. Not the way she was dressed in a tank top, denim cutoffs, and high-heeled sandals. Not with her twelve-year-old daughter Bethie. Not with packs of local guys running loose on hormones, rage, and alcohol. A victim of gang rape, left for dead in Teena Maguire should not have tried to shortcut her way home that Fourth of July. Not after midnight, not through Rocky Point Park. Not the way she was dressed in a tank top, denim cutoffs, and high-heeled sandals. Not with her twelve-year-old daughter Bethie. Not with packs of local guys running loose on hormones, rage, and alcohol. A victim of gang rape, left for dead in the park boathouse, the once vivacious Teena can now only regret that she has survived. At a relentlessly compelling pace punctuated by lonely cries in the night and the whisper of terror in the afternoon, Joyce Carol Oates unfolds the story of Teena and Bethie, their assailants, and their unexpected, silent champion, a man who knows the meaning of justice. And love.


Compare

Teena Maguire should not have tried to shortcut her way home that Fourth of July. Not after midnight, not through Rocky Point Park. Not the way she was dressed in a tank top, denim cutoffs, and high-heeled sandals. Not with her twelve-year-old daughter Bethie. Not with packs of local guys running loose on hormones, rage, and alcohol. A victim of gang rape, left for dead in Teena Maguire should not have tried to shortcut her way home that Fourth of July. Not after midnight, not through Rocky Point Park. Not the way she was dressed in a tank top, denim cutoffs, and high-heeled sandals. Not with her twelve-year-old daughter Bethie. Not with packs of local guys running loose on hormones, rage, and alcohol. A victim of gang rape, left for dead in the park boathouse, the once vivacious Teena can now only regret that she has survived. At a relentlessly compelling pace punctuated by lonely cries in the night and the whisper of terror in the afternoon, Joyce Carol Oates unfolds the story of Teena and Bethie, their assailants, and their unexpected, silent champion, a man who knows the meaning of justice. And love.

30 review for Rape: A Love Story

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sumit Singla

    This is an ugly book, filled with nothing but filth and darkness. It takes your view of humanity, throws it to the ground and administers a few sound kicks to it, till it is bleeding and crying out. Hate is a strong word, but I hated the story, the characters and practically the entire book. I hate the fact that I live in a world where this isn't fiction, but the true story of thousands of 'Teena's and 'Bethie's each day. I hate the fact that people find it ok to label rape as 'unfortunate' or 'sa This is an ugly book, filled with nothing but filth and darkness. It takes your view of humanity, throws it to the ground and administers a few sound kicks to it, till it is bleeding and crying out. Hate is a strong word, but I hated the story, the characters and practically the entire book. I hate the fact that I live in a world where this isn't fiction, but the true story of thousands of 'Teena's and 'Bethie's each day. I hate the fact that people find it ok to label rape as 'unfortunate' or 'sad'. A slip on a staircase and breaking your fucking neck is unfortunate or sad. Rape is nothing but a depraved act of abject cowardice. Joyce Carol Oates tells a deeply disturbing story that disgusts you but fascinates you nevertheless with its sheer brutality. There is no redemption, no magic wand that gets waved to 'put it past you and move on'. She narrates a story of despair, loss, and trauma. There is no escape. The title is somewhat misleading and it would be a major spoiler to discuss why. Brilliant book, by the way. Sounds contradictory, but loathsome story, brilliant book. This is a story that leaves a terrible taste in the mouth, and makes you wonder how some so-called humans can be so dehumanized. It makes you question the humanity of all those who ask questions like, "But what was she wearing?" or "Why was she out so late?" It is brutal, horrifying and extremely well-written. Read it, but no guaranteeing if you'll be able to sleep well after that. Or keep your meal down. So, can't say I 'really liked it' but it definitely led to some strong emotions.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Peek At My Book Review

    4 ‘I say CASTRATE the Rapists’ Stars This is the story of a mother and daughter who were in the wrong place at the wrong time and encounter the wrong/most vile persons. The story of what that woman becomes after being Raped, people just talk about her or recall her of think of her about ‘after the incident’, the before no longer exists. “Suspects,” they were called. As if they hadn’t done what they’d done to you and your mother but were only “suspected” of doing it! What was most disturbing w 4 ‘I say CASTRATE the Rapists’ Stars This is the story of a mother and daughter who were in the wrong place at the wrong time and encounter the wrong/most vile persons. The story of what that woman becomes after being Raped, people just talk about her or recall her of think of her about ‘after the incident’, the before no longer exists. “Suspects,” they were called. As if they hadn’t done what they’d done to you and your mother but were only “suspected” of doing it! What was most disturbing was the daughter’s part was narrated in second person. Imagine you are a young daughter and you witness the rape of your mother. The frustration, the stare of people, the nagging of friends, the dirty notes stuck on the door… And what about the townspeople, whose side do they take? Why do people always side with the wrong party, just because they are men? Yes she might’ve smiled at them, and so she was asking for it And what about the lawyer. Is it only about money, a woman’s body/dignity/sanity/her tattered soul? What? Their dad was the one taking this hardest. He was sure looking sorry. Their mom was an excitable loyal mom who refused to believe any of this could be serious, that felony crap the prosecutors were threatening. Her word against theirs their mom said. And that woman a drunk and a whore. (Rapists family reaction)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    It's shocking and almost unforgiving that I have been on this earth for 30 years and have never read Joyce Carol Oates. Reading her entire cannon will soon become my latest addiction in 2009. So how do I review this novel? (note : I am writing this review after already having read 'Zombie' a few days ago). First of all, Joyce C Oates, where have you been all my life? And to my literary friends : Why did nobody tell me about the lyricism, harshness, brilliant POV changes, and upsetting yet beauti It's shocking and almost unforgiving that I have been on this earth for 30 years and have never read Joyce Carol Oates. Reading her entire cannon will soon become my latest addiction in 2009. So how do I review this novel? (note : I am writing this review after already having read 'Zombie' a few days ago). First of all, Joyce C Oates, where have you been all my life? And to my literary friends : Why did nobody tell me about the lyricism, harshness, brilliant POV changes, and upsetting yet beautiful prose? How dare you make me wait so long to discover this author!!! It seems almost uncouth that I am saying these things while reviewing a novel titled 'Rape : A Love Story'. But that is exactly what it is. A brutal, disgusting, nauseating, angering crime, followed by a non existent trial (as Oates makes clear -- why bother). But yet -- in a disturbing but also innocent way (only could this have worked from Oates' second person POV of the young Bethie) -- it's a love story. Maybe a love story that should send second person narrative Bethie to therapy for the rest of her life. But the way Oates has concisely and sharply pointed her narrative like a sharp dagger (or worse) and then mixed the story with illegal justice and innocent motives, makes this novel disturbing, stunning and bitter sweet.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Am I allowed to say I love this while I honestly hate it? I hate everything it shows. I hate more or less every single event in it. I hate how degenerated some characters become. I hate how much this book is needed. I absolutely hate that this behavior is found in our reality. Something else? I love this book. Most of all, I like the humanizing of the events. Oates pulls the story of a gang-rape and its aftermath off, however this is possible when this is such an unspeakable crime. For over a day I' Am I allowed to say I love this while I honestly hate it? I hate everything it shows. I hate more or less every single event in it. I hate how degenerated some characters become. I hate how much this book is needed. I absolutely hate that this behavior is found in our reality. Something else? I love this book. Most of all, I like the humanizing of the events. Oates pulls the story of a gang-rape and its aftermath off, however this is possible when this is such an unspeakable crime. For over a day I've been trying to understand why I can even remotely like this book when I was disgusted while reading it. And now I understand. Because I will hate every event if I re-read this, but I will simultaneously feel the honesty in every word. Feel this brutal truth seep through the pages of a mother who's free will is taken away, and the story of a daughter who lives in the aftermath of the abuse done to her mother. I do not love this book because it's a sweet story, or has a happy ending, or anything like this. I love it because it's the truth. No sugarcoating. No glitter at the edges. No soothing words. It's the truth. It's reality. It's what people must understand is happening to victims of rape in any form. I love it because of this brutal honesty that few authors can pull off. I love it because some authors are ready to show this crime. I love it because it says what needs to be said. Just as the reasons for my adoration for the author writing this story, I hate that it needs to be written. The title Rape: A Love Story is both accurate and not. This is not a book for those looking for romance for none of this exists within these pages. The love is between child and mother. Of struggling through the world when it turns against you with your family standing next to you. It's about doing what you have to do to survive, make it through. Despite the title, I love this. As I said, I love how the author puts an honest, brutal, humanized presentation on the subject. But I will hate the story all the same. I love the book, not the story.

  5. 4 out of 5

    MissBecka Gee

    Wow! This book deals with a horrible situation (if you hadn't already guessed from the title) in the most beautiful way. Weird to say considering the harsh content, but no less true. She writes all the POV's from a 3rd party narrative which allowed me to distance myself from the subject matter while still staying connected to the characters. I loved it and will definitely be seeking out more Joyce Carol Oates! Wow! This book deals with a horrible situation (if you hadn't already guessed from the title) in the most beautiful way. Weird to say considering the harsh content, but no less true. She writes all the POV's from a 3rd party narrative which allowed me to distance myself from the subject matter while still staying connected to the characters. I loved it and will definitely be seeking out more Joyce Carol Oates!

  6. 4 out of 5

    cameron

    I have a love/hate relationship with JCO. She is a brilliant writer and I admire her. Sometimes I am blown away by the intensity and chilling insight of her books and sometimes I find them unnecessarily cruel, mean and overly dramatic. Now, don't get me wrong, she can write in any genre with skill. It's amazing. As a matter of fact, in one short story collection she wrote a brilliant and complete short story in one page. She is an eccentric individual and her choices reflect that. The title of th I have a love/hate relationship with JCO. She is a brilliant writer and I admire her. Sometimes I am blown away by the intensity and chilling insight of her books and sometimes I find them unnecessarily cruel, mean and overly dramatic. Now, don't get me wrong, she can write in any genre with skill. It's amazing. As a matter of fact, in one short story collection she wrote a brilliant and complete short story in one page. She is an eccentric individual and her choices reflect that. The title of this book grabbed me, of course, Putting the words rape and love story in the same title seems impossible to me. However, this very short book is packed with terror and panic and surprises and heartache and a demolishing critique of the "justice" system. Strangely enough, it is also about love in a most surprising way. Well worth the read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    Joyce Carol Oates seems to channel all of the things I was ever scared of between the ages of 12-14, humanize them, and make them strangely pitiful and believable and still terrible. The fact that this book is set in a very nostalgic landscape for me makes this book all the more terrifying and poignant, even if it is a kind of mundane and melodramatic kind of terror. I often feel that JCO writes for a very narrow and specific demographic that I'm part of, but don't know the perimeters of? She ex Joyce Carol Oates seems to channel all of the things I was ever scared of between the ages of 12-14, humanize them, and make them strangely pitiful and believable and still terrible. The fact that this book is set in a very nostalgic landscape for me makes this book all the more terrifying and poignant, even if it is a kind of mundane and melodramatic kind of terror. I often feel that JCO writes for a very narrow and specific demographic that I'm part of, but don't know the perimeters of? She excels, I think, at creating a believable, if wholly fictional, internal narrative of a villian, without detracting from the evilness of his actions.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Shane

    Joyce Carol Oates seems to have a phobia about the Fourth of July. I just finished reading Black Water, another Independence Day disaster novella, only to be confronted with Rape - a love story, that covers a gang rape in Niagara Falls, NY to round off the fireworks and alcohol consumption on the special day that celebrates American independence. Unlike Black Water, I didn’t skip pages here, for Rape - a love story, is a tight thriller, not only focussed on the victim’s plight but also on the out Joyce Carol Oates seems to have a phobia about the Fourth of July. I just finished reading Black Water, another Independence Day disaster novella, only to be confronted with Rape - a love story, that covers a gang rape in Niagara Falls, NY to round off the fireworks and alcohol consumption on the special day that celebrates American independence. Unlike Black Water, I didn’t skip pages here, for Rape - a love story, is a tight thriller, not only focussed on the victim’s plight but also on the outcome for her attackers when vigilante justice surfaces, a form of justice that seems more effective than the traditional courts, for offences such as rape are hard to prove without damaging the victims all over again. Teena Maguire, a 35-year old single mother and her 12-year old daughter, Berthie, are taking a short cut home after a Fourth of July party, when they are accosted by a local gang of no-gooders high on crack. Teena is dragged away to a neighboring boathouse, gang-raped, and left for dead, while her daughter hides in the vicinity. The damage to Teena is horrible—physical, mental and societal. She struggles to emerge from life support, is left with permanently damaged vision and other private body parts, breaks up with her boyfriend as she can’t stand being touched anymore, and self-medicates with alcohol, dreading having to appear as a witness at the upcoming court trial. The subsequent rape trial turns out to be a fiasco, where the defence attorney is able to wield the full force of American Justice and turn the tables around with a countercharge that Teena solicited the no-gooders for sex in exchange for money and then went crazy on them, leading to the violence by the men in self-defence. Public opinion sways from support for the attacked to the attackers. Berthie is ostracized at school as “the daughter of that tramp.” We are also introduced to Dromoor, an ex-soldier turned cop on the Niagara Falls Police Department, a family man with two small daughters, who is attracted to Teena, but knows he can never go beyond sharing a drink with her. Dromoor served in the Gulf-War where he killed many enemy fighters, before becoming a cop; he also killed a bad guy while he was a rookie on the NFPD, saving the life of a colleague—he is no stranger to death, and to killing. When he answers the rape call at the boathouse, he finds the damaged woman and her daughter, and decides he has to protect them. And so, one by one, the rapists start dying or disappearing. Oates skillfully delivers the narration in third and second person and simulates the voices of the many characters—victims and perpetrators alike—according to their educational and social levels. She focuses on the ugliness of rumour, the vindictiveness and meanness of small town society, and the perversions of justice that a democratic society provides for. She also takes the long view, by transporting us many years into the future to show us how the lives of the affected are transformed by this seminal incident, for the effects of rape are indeed life-long. The subject of rape is a difficult one to handle, and having it as the book’s title, and then subtitling it “a love story” leaves many questions in the reader’s mind. Is this irony, a joke, or deathly intentional? What I took from the novella was that while rape is not an expression of love in its act, it does bring out the expression of love from others, love that the victim never knew existed. A gripping read indeed!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Rochelle

    *TRIGGER WARNING* I didnt expect to read this story. I had never heard of it or the author. I was having a long, sweaty day and popped into the library to kill some time before catching the bus home. In fact, I almost walked right past it. But a word jumped out at me from a black and white cover:rape. My feminist bells are ringing. Is that a cover of black and white hearts? Is that a story titled Rape:a love story? So it only takes me a second to double take and backtrack. I pick up this small bo *TRIGGER WARNING* I didnt expect to read this story. I had never heard of it or the author. I was having a long, sweaty day and popped into the library to kill some time before catching the bus home. In fact, I almost walked right past it. But a word jumped out at me from a black and white cover:rape. My feminist bells are ringing. Is that a cover of black and white hearts? Is that a story titled Rape:a love story? So it only takes me a second to double take and backtrack. I pick up this small book with rape on the cover and begin to read. And I'm hooked. I miss 2 more buses just to sit there and finish this story. It's brutal and I tear up. As a feminist ive read hundreds of articles on rape culture, on survivors being arrested and forced to testify, of teenage girls being accused of being too mature and seductive. Ive read the articles about the failures of universities in addressing rape on campus, of the statistics of sexual assault in the military, of women being gang raped and end up comatose in hospital, eventually slipping away. Ive seen the pie - charts, the lines of statistics. 1 in 5 women. I know about the injustice of the courts. Despite all this, this small, obscure story hits right fucking home. The brutality. The inhumanity. The injustice. The alienation. I am right there with Teena and Beth as Teena is brutalized and left to die.I can see the 12 year old in my mind with a dislocated arm and hearing the screams of her mother. They talk about how she deserved it. They talk about her clothes. How she was asking for it. Shes in court and her attackers are right there, while there is only one other woman in this court. And they accuse her of being a hooker, of the rape being consensual. They attempt to sully her name, her sexual history. The injustice and horror of it is like a bitter taste in my mouth, and a sickening in my stomach. Teena is shattered and betrayed by a system designed to protect her and bring her justice, and she is re traumatized. The girl watches on as her mother falls apart. The final justices that the rapists meet is like sick wish fulfillment for the reader; revenge, vigilante justice. The ending shows that these women are not victims, but survivors. They dont forget, but they can live happy fulfilling lives away from an event they felt defined them. Rape:a love story is a social commentary. It is a critique of rape culture, of the way we treat women, of the way we fail survivors, of the way they are humiliated, traumatized and beaten down. What the fuck is wrong with us? * as a note, I think it would be legitimate criticism to say that this book doesn't address the fact that most rapes are committed by people the survivors know and even trust, as well as the fact that many rapes are not this clearly violent and brutal

  10. 5 out of 5

    E

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Reading this book was a bizarre experience for me, affected primarily by the summary on the dustjacket that offered its own, rather narrow interpretation of a story that should be left open to broad speculation. Oates's writing is fluid and her selection of details is as mundane and powerful as a Cézanne platter of fruit. Her decision to describe different scenes from different characters' perspectives also contributed well to the story. The rape scene and the ensuing trial are deftly portrayed Reading this book was a bizarre experience for me, affected primarily by the summary on the dustjacket that offered its own, rather narrow interpretation of a story that should be left open to broad speculation. Oates's writing is fluid and her selection of details is as mundane and powerful as a Cézanne platter of fruit. Her decision to describe different scenes from different characters' perspectives also contributed well to the story. The rape scene and the ensuing trial are deftly portrayed as horrific, harrowing events no person deserves to endure. I felt my hands tense with rage as the perpetrators were protected by the inane bureaucracy of the law and the victim's reputation was publicly attacked almost as brutally as her own body. As I turned the pages, I needed to put that rage somewhere. However, the stealthy, vigilante approach to justice acted out by the newcomer cop was not the outlet I had been craving. His execution of each of the young men, one by one, escalating from unpremeditated murder to a brutal slaughter was almost as harrowing as the rape scene. The dustjacket declared him the victims' "champion - a man who understands justice. And love." That left me with an utterly sickly feeling and I can't help but hope that was not Oates's intended interpretation, though the fact that the victim can move on to a happy, well-deserved ending once the last murder has taken place is disturbingly supportive of the idea. The rape victim may have taken off on a romantic road trip with her newfound love, but I'm still stuck in the desert where justice is nowhere to be found.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michele

    A chilling, haunting reminder of the evil that humans are capable of, the author describes the brutality of the rape and terror beyond what we are capable of imagining on our own. The second attack from the community slandering the victims is almost more disgusting, being from a small town full of small minds I could visualize it full-force. “She asked for it” I understand that no rape story has a “happy ending” but Joyce Carol Oates delivers us the best possible conclusion. Earlier this year i r A chilling, haunting reminder of the evil that humans are capable of, the author describes the brutality of the rape and terror beyond what we are capable of imagining on our own. The second attack from the community slandering the victims is almost more disgusting, being from a small town full of small minds I could visualize it full-force. “She asked for it” I understand that no rape story has a “happy ending” but Joyce Carol Oates delivers us the best possible conclusion. Earlier this year i read, on recomendation of a friend, a book about rape and revenge by Fern Michaels. The whole time I reading it, I didn’t feel that the author had any REAL concept of rape or revenge. It was almost a humorous story, I felt offended by it’s light treatment and lack of depth. In contrast, Oates’ “Rape: a Love Story” is disturbing, sickening, and vivid, it provokes feelings that one SHOULD have when this subject is approached. Also notable is the writing style Oates has used in this novella, putting you in the character’s shoes. She addresses you as the 12 year old daughter who was present at her mother’s assault, she forces you to feel from every perspective. This is a short novella, easily readable in one sitting, a story you will never ever forget.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Joyce Carol Oates is not in the habit of pulling her punches. She might be the only writer in the history of the world both willing and able to name a book "Rape." She's a powerful author, and I'm a big fan. This wasn't my favorite of her books. What's it all about? Fury, right? I mean, and rape. It's definitely about rape. Nothing else happens. It's short. The personalities and histories of the people in it are briefly sketched out. Mostly, there's a rape and then there's the aftermath of the ra Joyce Carol Oates is not in the habit of pulling her punches. She might be the only writer in the history of the world both willing and able to name a book "Rape." She's a powerful author, and I'm a big fan. This wasn't my favorite of her books. What's it all about? Fury, right? I mean, and rape. It's definitely about rape. Nothing else happens. It's short. The personalities and histories of the people in it are briefly sketched out. Mostly, there's a rape and then there's the aftermath of the rape and then it's over. The rape is unambiguous. It's about as awful as it can be. The plot is similar to the Jodi Foster movie The Accused. That movie was made in 1988, and this book was published in 2003, and it feels a little dated. Aren't we past victim blaming? Surely no one in this day and age would...oh. Never mind. Oates has picked a weird avatar for justice. (view spoiler)[This is John Dromoor, a sociopathic veteran. Oates carefully introduces him as a dangerous man. You might assume at first that he's a bad guy. He is a bad guy, as in a not good person. But after the courts fail Teena Maguire, he takes justice into his own hands, carefully murdering four of the men who raped her. You might sortof expect justice to be female, right? (hide spoiler)] I'm not sure what Oates is trying to tell us here. I don't have a problem with it - it's interesting - just don't know what to make of it. There's a subtitle here, "A Love Story," and I have no idea what to make of that either. It's not a love story. There is love, I guess - (view spoiler)[Teena's 12-year-old daughter Beth has some sort of puppy love crush on Dromoor, which again fills you with dread but nothing comes of it, thank god because you've just about taken all the bad news you can get from this book (hide spoiler)] - but no story about it. It's a rape story. It's upsetting.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Vaso

    It is a very hard topic that the writer is talking about in this book. There are no hard scenes. It is the daughter's view that we read in this book It is a very hard topic that the writer is talking about in this book. There are no hard scenes. It is the daughter's view that we read in this book

  14. 5 out of 5

    John

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Powerful story told in something of a rush. Joyce Carol Oates shares John Updike's tendency to churn out books at a prolific pace (at least one novel a year, typically, plus a barrage of cultural criticism), often at the expense of the book itself. Provocative title, no? This is a love story, though -- the love between a mother and a daughter, both of whom suffer a vicious attack from a dog-like pack of 4th of July revelers; vicious young men methed-out, drunk, and on the prowl. Also the love of Powerful story told in something of a rush. Joyce Carol Oates shares John Updike's tendency to churn out books at a prolific pace (at least one novel a year, typically, plus a barrage of cultural criticism), often at the expense of the book itself. Provocative title, no? This is a love story, though -- the love between a mother and a daughter, both of whom suffer a vicious attack from a dog-like pack of 4th of July revelers; vicious young men methed-out, drunk, and on the prowl. Also the love of a man, a cop, for the two women; a (stereotypically) strong, silent type who exacts his own brand of justice -- the Dirty Harry kind -- on the rapists. What Oates does extremely well is show the sociological ramifications of the rape -- a community in denial and a sham trial where a sleazy defense lawyer turns the tables on the victim and distorts facts to the point that she appears the instigator, not the sufferer, of her own attack. Oates describes the trial as almost another form of rape. Oates stumbles at the level of character and psychology. This is where more time and more space might have helped. Though the book is a quick read (at 150 pages one could finish it in an afternoon), what it gains in intensity it loses in depth. Motivations are obscure, as well as certain plot twists (the voice on the other end a phone call late in the book could use some explaining). Though a quick, interesting read, both the author and its subject are worthier of more carefully considered attention.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Roman Clodia

    "Not just those animals but you people at the courthouse have destroyed her" First published in 2003, this is a book that feels like it was written in an ice-cold rage. JCO's control never slips in her version of what has become a desperately familiar story: the brutalised woman who finds herself on trial for 'asking for' her rape. But, then, this is Joyce Carol Oates and so the story doesn't stop there, and instead takes a controversial direction (view spoiler)[ of vigilantism (hide spoiler)] th "Not just those animals but you people at the courthouse have destroyed her" First published in 2003, this is a book that feels like it was written in an ice-cold rage. JCO's control never slips in her version of what has become a desperately familiar story: the brutalised woman who finds herself on trial for 'asking for' her rape. But, then, this is Joyce Carol Oates and so the story doesn't stop there, and instead takes a controversial direction (view spoiler)[ of vigilantism (hide spoiler)] that left me both disturbed and profoundly questioning my own moral and ethical response to characters and events. Is Dromoor the hero that we all want on our side - or is he something more terrifying?(view spoiler)[ Once the killing line is crossed, can we be sure that his judgments will remain aligned to our own? Is the final killing justified or an escalation of what might be seen as a form of sociopathic revenge? (hide spoiler)] This is only a short book, easily read in a couple of hours, but its intensity belies the number of pages here. The shifting narrative that skips between characters bypasses the mundane and goes straight for the heart of what's at stake. There have been a number of recent novels which have explored issues of rape, non-consent, violence against women, the legal treatment of sexual crimes and while I applaud the fact that this topic is getting the public exposure it deserves the books haven't been controversial in themselves. What JCO does here is illuminated with her usual bold, courageous and yes, disturbing intelligence: a short novel that makes us both feel and think.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lulu

    What first drew me to this book was of course, the title. And it wasn't until the end of the story that I realized what the 'love story' in the title was referring to. But the story was so completely harrowing right from the first sentence that I didn't really have time to wonder about the title while reading it. The novel is an all too real depiction of a brutal gang rape and its aftermath. Reading it was tough; Oates' sparse prose really wrenches your heart at times, making you cringe and cry What first drew me to this book was of course, the title. And it wasn't until the end of the story that I realized what the 'love story' in the title was referring to. But the story was so completely harrowing right from the first sentence that I didn't really have time to wonder about the title while reading it. The novel is an all too real depiction of a brutal gang rape and its aftermath. Reading it was tough; Oates' sparse prose really wrenches your heart at times, making you cringe and cry at times. I could actually smell and feel the fear felt by Teena Maguire, the victim, when the rape was about to take place, and I couldn't help but be moved by Bethie, her daughter's gently desperate, unspoken plea for help to Dromoor, the detective assigned to the case and the only person in the town they live who seems to be on their side, the person Bethie instinctively reaches out to while caring for increasingly withdrawn mother. The revenge exacted on the rapists is truly satisfying - I'm not sure how appropriate it is to say that a story of rape has a 'happy' ending, but that's what it felt like, at least. A terrific read - a tough one, but one of those rare books whose words stay with you for a long, long time.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Aurali

    One of the most emotionally shocking books I have read recently. Not a fan of the longer Joyce Carol Oates books because of the excessive description. This book was one of the best I have read recently and shows what can be accomplished when all of the excessive bs is removed. Oates portrays what is really meant by "rape". It is an ugly brutal crime that often victimizes the victim further by forcing them to prove their case. If anyone ever doubted the brutality of a gang rape they should read t One of the most emotionally shocking books I have read recently. Not a fan of the longer Joyce Carol Oates books because of the excessive description. This book was one of the best I have read recently and shows what can be accomplished when all of the excessive bs is removed. Oates portrays what is really meant by "rape". It is an ugly brutal crime that often victimizes the victim further by forcing them to prove their case. If anyone ever doubted the brutality of a gang rape they should read this novella. I really loved the justice portrayed in this book. Have to say the description of Niagara Falls is a little scary given that I am visiting there in a couple of weeks.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Peycho Kanev

    At the falls she leaned over the railing. The wind blew cold spray into her face, clothes. Within seconds her clothes were soaked and clung to her thin body. Tourists perceived her as a drunk or drugged or deranged woman and kept their distance from her. On her head she wore a silk scarf that loosened in the wind, slipped from her head, and was blown out above the thunderous water; without the scarf, her hair was revealed as sparse, tufted, without color. Now she was perceived as possibly a sick At the falls she leaned over the railing. The wind blew cold spray into her face, clothes. Within seconds her clothes were soaked and clung to her thin body. Tourists perceived her as a drunk or drugged or deranged woman and kept their distance from her. On her head she wore a silk scarf that loosened in the wind, slipped from her head, and was blown out above the thunderous water; without the scarf, her hair was revealed as sparse, tufted, without color. Now she was perceived as possibly a sick woman, one who has lost her hair to chemotherapy. Her face was a chalky-white face that looked as if, mask-like, it might be torn from her too, to be blown away into the frothy water.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jinx:The:Poet {the Literary Masochist, Ink Ninja & Word Roamer}

    Rape: A Love Story by Joyce Carol Oates, was one very hard novel to read. Not of its length or anything based on the manner of its prose, no, that was not the issue here. It was a fairly short book, my copy was only 154 pages long, and wow, was the prose beautiful and striking. The thing about this book, was its harsh, punch-in-the-gut subject matter. I mean, as a reader you know going in, based on the title of the book if not the description itself, that it will probably be an upsetting and dif Rape: A Love Story by Joyce Carol Oates, was one very hard novel to read. Not of its length or anything based on the manner of its prose, no, that was not the issue here. It was a fairly short book, my copy was only 154 pages long, and wow, was the prose beautiful and striking. The thing about this book, was its harsh, punch-in-the-gut subject matter. I mean, as a reader you know going in, based on the title of the book if not the description itself, that it will probably be an upsetting and difficult book to read, but it was much more than I had initially anticipated. It was severely tragic. It portrayed an event, an evil, terrible, gut-wrenchingly disgusting "event", and if that weren’t hard enough to read then the following pages leave you with the excruciating heart-wrenching fallout, the aftermath of the event. "Teena Maguire should not have tried to shortcut her way home that Fourth of July. Not after midnight, not through Rocky Point Park. Not the way she was dressed in a tank top, denim cutoffs, and high-heeled sandals. Not with her twelve-year-old daughter Bethie. Not with packs of local guys running loose on hormones, rage, and alcohol. A victim of gang rape, left for dead in the park boathouse, the once vivacious Teena can now only regret that she has survived. At a relentlessly compelling pace punctuated by lonely cries in the night and the whisper of terror in the afternoon, Joyce Carol Oates unfolds the story of Teena and Bethie, their assailants, and their unexpected, silent champion, a man who knows the meaning of justice. And love." -Book Blurb I really think this book should be applauded for portraying the crime very realistically rather than shying away from the details and sugar coating any of the facts, as difficult as it was to read it. I also think it truly deserves strong recognition for showing how victims are too easily and too often blamed and shamed for the horrific crime committed against them. It’s sickening. This book does nothing to lighten or brighten what is and undoubtedly will always be a very tragic, and depraved crime against this fictional woman and her pre-teen young daughter and especially for every non-fictional person, both past and living, that has gone through such things, to varying degrees. The characters are all very realistic and the prose is incredible. My only valid complaint was the need to make it a "love story" towards the end. What? That was weird and thankfully nothing came of it... It really just portrays the facts of the crime, no sugar coating or shying away from the unspeakable details here. And although that made it that much harder to read, it also made it brilliant. This was a very disturbing glimpse into such a catastrophic event that many people have suffered and are suffering through all over the world and even in our own towns and neighborhoods. If only to have your eyes opened to how brutal and devastating such an act really is, then I recommend reading this book. Although it is a short read, it truly packs a punch. However, I would not recommend this for those who are squeamish, or triggered by the topic of brutal rape, and certainly not for underage readers. Very graphic. [CONTENT & TRIGGER WARNING BELOW...] [OFFICIAL RATING: 4 STARS] [CONTENT NOTE / TRIGGER WARNING: Violent, graphic sexual scene (a brutal gang raping) as well some very dark imagery. Rape is the main focus of this book and a part from the event itself, the rest of the book recollects, rehashes, and deals with the aftermath of the rape and beating of a mother and daughter. Aside from themes of rape and assault, the book deals with physical and mental psychological state afterwards, along with the details of a criminal trial. There are also deaths/murders described, strong language, and alcohol/smoking. Not recommended for minors to read, or for those who have triggers with any of these issues or for the faint of heart.]

  20. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    This was difficult to rate. First, I don't think the book ever justified its intentionally controversial title. Second, although parts felt very genuine and terribly realistic, other parts felt like trite stereotypes. Third, inevitably, a novella does not have the space to fully develop each character, but I was still disappointed by the surface treatment of the characters I really wanted to learn more about: the mother, daughter, and grandmother. Fourth, I was really disappointed in the choice This was difficult to rate. First, I don't think the book ever justified its intentionally controversial title. Second, although parts felt very genuine and terribly realistic, other parts felt like trite stereotypes. Third, inevitably, a novella does not have the space to fully develop each character, but I was still disappointed by the surface treatment of the characters I really wanted to learn more about: the mother, daughter, and grandmother. Fourth, I was really disappointed in the choice of character for the female prosecutor, and I didn't like the way the book set up one man as a rescuer and left all the women broken or inept or disconnected from each other. At the same time, it was certainly a gripping read. (Spoiler alert here, but I tried to keep it vague) I did find the choice of morally-questionable-yet-satisfyingly-retributive resolution interesting and I liked the fairy-tale aspect to it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ben Boulden

    A vengeance tale worthy of Joyce Carol Oates' reputation, and its serious subject matter. When a single mother is raped in front of her young daughter, left for dead, and the judicial system falters--smearing the victim's character and making it seem the rapists are the victims--an uninterested party takes an interest to ensure a kind of justice is done. Told from the young girl's perspective, it concentrates less on the physical aspects of revenge and more on the psychological. The fear, hate, A vengeance tale worthy of Joyce Carol Oates' reputation, and its serious subject matter. When a single mother is raped in front of her young daughter, left for dead, and the judicial system falters--smearing the victim's character and making it seem the rapists are the victims--an uninterested party takes an interest to ensure a kind of justice is done. Told from the young girl's perspective, it concentrates less on the physical aspects of revenge and more on the psychological. The fear, hate, and finally a compromised recovery. A serious and dark story about a serious and dark subject.

  22. 5 out of 5

    yasmine skalli

    2018: ive only heard good thing about joyce carol oates and this exceeded my expectations. beautiful and heartbreaking. 2020: reread this book today and it hit the same way it did over two years ago. sickening but beautiful. Joyce carol Oates remains one of my favorite authors of all time.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Charity

    Good story overall, but I wish the characters had been fleshed out more. (No pun intended -- seriously.)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Zadignose

    A book with a provocative title and a disturbing subject. The book cares. The book pulls triggers. The book resembles, on a superficial level, some aspect of our real world. The book confronts the monstrous reality of human cruelty, callousness, and especially the perversity of our social reaction to an atrocious crime. It, unfortunately, doesn't succeed very well. By some ironic twist, In Cold Blood is a better novel than this, even though In Cold Blood is not a novel, and this is. This book take A book with a provocative title and a disturbing subject. The book cares. The book pulls triggers. The book resembles, on a superficial level, some aspect of our real world. The book confronts the monstrous reality of human cruelty, callousness, and especially the perversity of our social reaction to an atrocious crime. It, unfortunately, doesn't succeed very well. By some ironic twist, In Cold Blood is a better novel than this, even though In Cold Blood is not a novel, and this is. This book takes the kind of sensational story that might appear in our news reports, and presents it in a way that is not any more human or personal than a news report. Except that some more details are supplied, perhaps, except that there's a point of view, perhaps, except that there are a few more literary flourishes... perhaps. While reading the book I felt, and after reading the book I feel, that I know the characters just about as well as I know Tawana Brawley and the men accused of raping her. Which is to say, I don't know them at all, I just know a few things that the news said, and things that people who had no business forming an opinion had to say. Except this book also has a Charles-Bronson-style movie plot woven into its background as well. With a protagonist of sorts who is also not a character, but perhaps an archetype. The last page was good. I mean the very last page. Pretty good. Or okay. It still is, somehow, effective in its way. It's compelling. And it's rage provoking, because of course it is terribly upsetting, and one cannot doubt that the skeletal form of this book's story really does reflect some of what really goes on in our horrible horrible world. But that just comes down to choice of subject. Anyone who chooses the subject of injustice in a rape case is bound to provoke strong reactions. When a book resorts to such trite passages as this: ...The last he'd seen of Teena Maguire she'd been another woman. Leaning to kiss his cheek saying Love ya, Casey! Call me in the morning.    There had been no next morning. For Casey and Teena there would never be another next morning. ...well, you're tugging at my heartstrings. But please stop. Ultimately it was an obvious book, a conventional book with mainstream-literary leanings, a book not afraid to look into darkness and confront trauma, but one that is populated more by phantoms from newspaper clippings than by human beings. Am I too harsh? Maybe a little. Because the one part that was just a little bit more intriguing was the second-person "You" observer, because of the barely touched on fantasy element that develops in her mind--the "Love Story" aspect. Without that hinted-at spark, perhaps the book would have truly been dreadful.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Bo Abeille

    What a difficult yet ultimately rewarding read. The story took turns I never expected & executed plot points that usually end up delivered in such a silly fashion in a poignant & heart-aching way. This is a hard book to get through simply because of the horrifying details of the assault the young girl & her mother suffer, but it is somehow worth it in the end. You realize that sometimes love is born out of knowing a person who understands life's injustices & finding comfort in the fact that thei What a difficult yet ultimately rewarding read. The story took turns I never expected & executed plot points that usually end up delivered in such a silly fashion in a poignant & heart-aching way. This is a hard book to get through simply because of the horrifying details of the assault the young girl & her mother suffer, but it is somehow worth it in the end. You realize that sometimes love is born out of knowing a person who understands life's injustices & finding comfort in the fact that their heart is breaking for you. And knowing that sometimes, in strange & dark ways, wrongs can be righted.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Everett Darling

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A bullet of a book, that does not stray from it's powerful and pointed path. Rape is a barbaric, destructive crime and it's victims are not protected by a derogatory, victim-culpable judicial system. You might be inclined to hurl something, maybe the book, across the room, in sheer frustration. This book will infuriate even the least irascible. A bullet of a book, that does not stray from it's powerful and pointed path. Rape is a barbaric, destructive crime and it's victims are not protected by a derogatory, victim-culpable judicial system. You might be inclined to hurl something, maybe the book, across the room, in sheer frustration. This book will infuriate even the least irascible.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Christina

    Heart breaking. There's no dawdling in this novel, it's very straight forward and to the point - and what a terribly saddening point it is. It is an excellent and thought provoking read, a little hard to push through at times because you're just so disgusted, but will hold your attention completely until the final page is turned. Heart breaking. There's no dawdling in this novel, it's very straight forward and to the point - and what a terribly saddening point it is. It is an excellent and thought provoking read, a little hard to push through at times because you're just so disgusted, but will hold your attention completely until the final page is turned.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Clara

    I was at the library, borrowing novels which I didn't need (I have so many unread at home), and I kinda just "grabbed" this novel without really knowing anything about it. Here I am, kinda in love with it. I love that it was so short. I love the way Oates writes (at least in this one). I love that I hate it and love it at the same time. I love how awful it is, and how raw it is. I just love it. I was at the library, borrowing novels which I didn't need (I have so many unread at home), and I kinda just "grabbed" this novel without really knowing anything about it. Here I am, kinda in love with it. I love that it was so short. I love the way Oates writes (at least in this one). I love that I hate it and love it at the same time. I love how awful it is, and how raw it is. I just love it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Henrik

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I really liked this novella (in spite of the ugly event around which everything revolves: A gang rape). But I cannot give it more than 3 stars, for a few reasons: There are times when the narration sounds off to me--and here I am primarily talking about when we are "inside" the 12-13 year old daughter of the rape victim. Like when she accidentally look into the eye of one of the rapists. That she see hate is believable enough, but that she (apparently) also get the picture of what kind of words I really liked this novella (in spite of the ugly event around which everything revolves: A gang rape). But I cannot give it more than 3 stars, for a few reasons: There are times when the narration sounds off to me--and here I am primarily talking about when we are "inside" the 12-13 year old daughter of the rape victim. Like when she accidentally look into the eye of one of the rapists. That she see hate is believable enough, but that she (apparently) also get the picture of what kind of words he would use, if we were inside his mind, (e.g. "Oh Christ, wishing he'd killed you! Slammed your head against the boathouse floor when he'd had his fucking chance. Broken you with his fists, his stumping feet. [Line break:] And fucked you too. When he'd had his chance," p. 135) is stretching credibility. I suppose that some will find this blurring of narrative lines interesting and be thrilled, saying it's some kind of intellectual experiment. I found it annoying and totally unnecessary in this context. At times the brief, sketchy chapters & scenes are too sketchy. Like a picture withdrawn from your eyes in less than a second, or like a tiny scene in a film that is so short you hardly see it at all. Generally I appreciated the effect of this, and I did like the overall expressionistic feel of the narrative, but at times it's annoying--as if Oates didn't really care to complete a scene. Both elements create a distance to the story that I wish wasn't there. That is, I partly wish wasn't there, because, after all, it would have been painful in the extreme if Oates kept everything up-close and attached. That said, it was an interesting read, and Oates delivers, just not without failing here and there. It is shocking to follow the gang rape, how it is experienced by the various "participants", and how the following trial is ugly as well. Oh--and I do like the whole revenge element and how we are never really told who does it (although we know it's done by a cop on the case. I like him!). This is one of those rare times where you'd wish the author had expanded everything, perhaps even to novel size, to create a fuller, well-rounded, if still immensely bitter, tale. Still recommended, though.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sheri

    This is a very short novella that I picked up for my husband who has been trying to write sex scenes and is not sure how graphic things can be. I had not read this (when I picked it up for him), but the title was provocative and I figured it would have some graphic yet literary sex (if anyone has any suggestions, I'm trying to find something more literary than 50 shades of garbage, but less violent than American Psycho). I have read other Oates work (and liked it) and in fact, am reading Mudwoma This is a very short novella that I picked up for my husband who has been trying to write sex scenes and is not sure how graphic things can be. I had not read this (when I picked it up for him), but the title was provocative and I figured it would have some graphic yet literary sex (if anyone has any suggestions, I'm trying to find something more literary than 50 shades of garbage, but less violent than American Psycho). I have read other Oates work (and liked it) and in fact, am reading Mudwoman next myself so at the very least I figured it would be a good, if quick, read. Anyway, it turns out there really isn't much sex in this book. Obviously it opens with the rape, which is violent and slightly graphic, but the story is mostly a vigilante one about the aftermath. I found the book to be very compelling; this book was about societal pressures, fear and recovering, and the flaws in our legal/justice system. Yes it is short, but I think the fast paced nature of the story is a good reflection on the way that people remember events. And this is told in hindsight; Bethel is telling it to herself (for the most part) when she catches a glimpse of someone in NYC who reminds her of Dromoor. That said, there were a few time issues that bothered me. First, Teena and Dromoor first meet in September 1994 and he is expecting a baby in about 20 days (so baby born Oct 1994). Then, on July 4, 1996 he is described as having an 18 month old, but the baby would actually be 20 months. I also thought that the timing of the hearing (Sept 1996) was way to quick for a crime that occurred 7/4/96. Finally, I didn't like that Teena was off and writing postcards in 1997. She seems to have healed and moved on very quickly. Certainly Dromoor's deliverance of justice would remove her from some of her fear and enable her to start to move on, but to be off of vacation writing flippant postcards just 12 months later seemed too quick. It would have been a five star if it felt a bit more realistic.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.