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Daddy Love

3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  1,084 ratings  ·  306 reviews
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
...more
Hardcover, 280 pages
Published January 8th 2013 by Mysterious Press (first published 2013)
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The Most Disturbing Book Ever Written
269th out of 1,556 books — 5,503 voters
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2013: What the Over 35s Have Read So Far
407th out of 2,660 books — 318 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,209)
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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
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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
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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
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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, or ...more
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
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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.
...more
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 ...more
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
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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
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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
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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 ...more
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 ...more
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.
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.
Lauren Hopkins
One of the most terrifying books I've ever read. Joyce Carol Oates paints a picture of one of the scariest monsters in contemporary fiction and he's not a vampire or zombie...he's a regular guy who just happens to also be pure evil. The plot sounds like crime fiction - a young boy is stolen from his mother at a shopping mall when he's five and is brought up by his kidnapper who abuses him physically and mentally for six years. It's Oates' brilliance with words and knowing the human psyche creepi ...more
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
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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
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Ellen Keim
It's not that I liked this book exactly--in the sense of enjoyed it. It's too disturbing for that. But I think it's an important book nonetheless because sometimes we have to look at the dark side to combat it.

Oates does the character development well considering that the book is so short. But this is more like a long short story than a novel, especially in the way it ended.

I didn't care for the way she started the book, essentially repeating the same thing for three (or was it four?) chapters
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Ann Sloan
Joyce Carol Oates, as prolific a writer as she is, has written many riveting, heart-rending, moving, significant, and relatable stories. Why, then, did she choose to write this stomach-turning novel about a sociopathic and sadistic pederast who abuses young children and animals? As talented and skillful writer Oates is, I would never have selected this book from Net Galley if I had had a clue as to the subject. I’m going to going on a James Thurber and Robert Benchley binge after this descent in ...more
Barbara Burd
Joyce Carol Oates is not afraid of dealing with difficult topics examining the psychological effects of trauma on our lives. Daddy Love is one of these difficult books. A lovely, precocious five-year old is abducted by a sociopathic, sexual predator. The boy's mother whose life revolves around her son is seriously injured and disfigured as she tries to keep her son from being abducted. Oates follows the life of the child, his abductor, and the parents over several years. Robbie's abductor seems ...more
Suspense Magazine
“Daddy Love” is a harrowing account of the abduction of a young boy. Snatched
from his mother’s hand in a busy shopping mall, the boy is taken to live with his new
Daddy, and his mother is left for dead under the wheels of the abductor’s van.

The story opens in a strange manner, and one which I found difficult to follow.
There is some repetition in the beginning chapters. However, once I got beyond the
first few chapters, the story picked up and I was glued to it, drawn in by the author’s
mesmeric wri
...more
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
...more
Eli
JCO never fails. I really liked reading the character Robbie/Gideon, the child who survives a horrible life for six years and tries to fight his way back to his mangled, disillusioned family. The last page is disturbing in a way I still haven't analyzed fully. You know things have still gone wrong and not everything he did to survive will stay in his kidnapped past.
It's got torture and an evil "pastor" and the patented Joyce Carol Oates skin-crawlies factor.
The one thing that bothered me was t
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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 ...more
Suzanne
I can't recommend Daddy Love. I am a great fan of Joyce Carol Oates, but this novel is too creepy. I don't see the point. I felt like a voyeur.
I feel kind of dirty having finished it. My sister in law had suggested that this wasn't a book for her. I disregarded her wise assessment.
Oates takes the reader into the coffin which is used to train Robbie,the five year old victim. She takes the reader into Daddy Love's bed as he violates young Robbie. She takes the reader into Robbie's shattered paren
...more
Marnie
What a heart retching book!! Just imagining what any kid is going through that has been abducted. And the parents. The only thing that made me downgrade the book a bit, is how it ended. Did the abductor escape, or did he get life? And how did the child and family do in the end. It did talk about all the adjusting, but kind of left it open. But, maybe that was left for our imagination to run wild with.
Jackie Lane
I think the beginning of this book managed to turn me off of it. I did not care for the first few chapters being told over and over. The subject matter of child predators is a difficult subject matter to begin with.

This is the story of Dinah, Whit and Robbie. Robbie is snatched from his mother's grip while looking for their car in the Mall parking lot. The abductor, Chester Cash is a part-time preacher and no one suspects that he is such an evil man with deep, dark secrets. The book at times ma
...more
Stacey
3.5 This is just so creepy. It's dark and so real that I cringed through most of it. JCO is a fantastic writer and I respect her for tackling this subject, but as a parent it's my worst nightmare and tough to read.

My biggest pet peeve about kids that are abducted is why does the media question why they stayed with the abductor?? "Why didn't you run away?" "Why didn't you scream for help?" Like it's their fault? oh that irritates me.
Heidi Garrett
I finished reading Daddy Love last night, and haven’t stopped thinking about it. It’s so disturbing. It seems to be about the fragility of family, identity, childhood, and parenting. Unfortunately, none of the characters triumph. Not Dinah who is psychologically spiritually and physically mauled by the sadistic mysogonistic Daddy Love, not Walt who’s had his masculinity breached, obviously not Daddy Love, and by the time Chester Cash is literally finished with Son/Gideon, he’s also altered for t ...more
Heather
I decided to read this book after it was suggested to brilliant Aussie author Honey Brown. The suggestion was because of the similarity in subject to Honey's latest work, Through the Cracks. From what I read I expected it to be too explicit, for me, in recording the abuse to which the abducted child was subjected. Honey's book handled this subject perfectly, I thought. She let us know how the child in her story had been treated, but in subtle ways that made it possible for any reader who has the ...more
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Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction. She is also the recipient of the 2005 Prix Femina for The Falls. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University, and she has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978. Pseudonyms ... Rosamond Smith and Laure ...more
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