I haven’t much fancied writing about books recently, although I’ve been reading a lot of them.
Then suddenly, last night, I was reading a Joyce Carol Oates book and becoming gradually more horrified. And all I could think about was how much I wanted to talk to someone about it. Writing structured reviews has been putting me off a bit; it had started to feel like a ‘job’ that I had to do after finishing a book. So I’m going to try something a little different. More like a journal of books; more fluid and open-ended than reviewing in the conventional sense.
So this what I wanted to say at nearly 2am this morning: “I really really wish I’d known that this book (Daddy Love for those of you who’ve been there and done that) was about an abducted child but I didn’t really get that from the blurb, which is superbly brief and ‘hooky’ without actually saying much of anything at all, but it turns out that it is and now it’s slowly getting darker and darker than anything else by Oates I’ve read recently, or perhaps ever, and there is no way on earth that I can possibly go to sleep and leave this child in this situation and these parents going through this unspeakable thing, so the only option left is to just keep reading until it’s done and hope with all my might that the ending is more bearable than what I’m reading right now.”
So I did. Until such time as I was guaranteed to be woolly-headed and unfocused today.
Then I lay there in the dark thinking that the ending was just about the meanest thing. I’m not sure what Oates intended to do with the ending, other than perhaps take the knife and give it a sharp twist to drive the blade in a little further.
Would I recommend the book?
To someone who isn’t a parent, perhaps, or to parents who are made of robuster stuff than me and didn’t cry every time the recent Pampers ad was shown. But if you want to be unsettled to typhoon level, then Oates doesn’t disappoint.