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Do with Me What You Will
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Do with Me What You Will

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  355 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
Hardcover, 579 pages
Published October 1st 1973 by Vanguard Press (first published 1973)
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Dec 27, 2010 Ryan rated it it was ok
The worst part of this messy and incohesive 562-page (in the hardcover edition!) book is that there is a pretty fantastic much shorter novel hiding in there somewhere. When your primary protagonist is so meek, colorless and mute that she literally speaks about 5 words in the whole book, you better have something else going on. There is some interesting stuff about American radicalism, and civil rights, and the clash of the classes, but it's obscured by so much pointless navelgazing that the ...more
Dec 12, 2008 Dinah rated it it was amazing
couldn't put this book down!

my first book by JCO.
will read more. I was enthralled by the main character and how she survived throughout all the drama in her life ..a bit stark.. but the author's details of the sorrounding people in Elena's life, made her whole.
Depressing, but true.
Mary Alice
Read this in my early twenties and it's stayed with me for over thirty years. Don't know if it's because it's a great book or whether the things I read back then helped form me. Probably a little of both.
Behnam Riahi
The following review has been copied from

Do With Me What You Will, written by Joyce Carol Oates and published by Fawcett, is third-person narrative told from the points-of-view of Elena, a former model and trophy wife, and Jack, the son of a murderer who became a lawyer as a result. These two souls are inextricably tied together by Marvin Howe, Elena's husband and the man who got Jack's father off the hook, but they came together of their own, sporadic ambitions and
Sherrie Miranda
Jan 21, 2016 Sherrie Miranda rated it liked it
3.0 stars A Lost Soul Drifting through Life, Being Whatever Her Controller Wanted Her To Be
By Sherrie Miranda
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This review is from: Do With Me What You Will (Hardcover)
Although JCO is one of my favorite authors, this book took me, literally, years to finish. As a couple reviewers said, it is the story of Elena Howe coming to an understanding of who she is. But Elena HOWE comes later in the novel. If my memory serves me correctly, Elena is kidnapped by her father and kept li
Pamela Scott
I enjoyed Do With Me What You Will but it could have been much better. JCO’s novel held my attention from the dramatic opening when Elena, only a toddler is kidnapped by her estranged father. The main issue with Do With Me What You Will was the character, Elena. I really didn’t like her at all. I found Elena very bland and insipid – she was very passive and this started to grate on me after a couple hundred pages. At times she seemed incapable of responding or reacting to anything and I wanted ...more
Aug 18, 2009 Ruby rated it liked it
At times I thought it would never end. It moved slowly and often seemed in danger of losing itself in the partially blocked drain of its characters' inward reflections. It was well crafted in that the pace and repetition were really part of the overall mood -- ennui. As I've read more Joyce Carol Oates I've noticed a trend: her short stories are brilliant, but her novels lack discipline. You have the same action with 100 times as many words. Yet in her defense, she does natter on beautifully.
Aug 06, 2007 Kerri rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Oates' readers.
Yea!!!! Finally finished this book. A really, really slow read for me and not one of my favorites of Oates but I did like it. Elena is an excellent character. It is an interesting concept to have the main character so silent and molded by other characters. If your on I'll be releasing this copy on the f train tomorrow LOL. I hope someone will find it.

"But she felt a feverish certainty: she did not need anyone, she did not love anyone, she was free."
Dana Nucera
Jan 05, 2012 Dana Nucera rated it it was ok
Sorry...I couldn't get thru this one. But I still think JCO is one of the best american authors of all time and I will continue to read her books. Some of them I loved, some I could not finish, but I still love her diversity in story telling and she is an amazing story teller. The great thing about her writing is that you have no idea what you are picking up in her next book. No two stories are ever the same...and you can't say that about too many authors.
Mar 15, 2012 Elizabeth rated it it was ok
I usually like JCO work, but I had to push myself to finish this. I was tired of the book long before it ended. Reflective of the mood she was trying to create I suppose. I understood some of it, but felt left hanging in a number of instances. I feel like she was just experimenting with a particular writing style and took us along for the unsatisfying ride. I’d have to say, this goes down to the bottom of my list of favorites by this author.
Oct 21, 2012 Karlin rated it did not like it
Normally I really like Joyce Carol Oates fiction but this book went nowhere. It as ponderous and boring. The only reason I finished it was that just as I was about to put it down something interesting would come up in the narrative and I thought it would pick up.

This could have been a great book about post traumatic stress disorder and bad parenting, instead it just floated along aimlessly much like it's main character.
Jan 12, 2013 Kate added it
I couldn't finish this one. It was a struggle to get halfway through and after setting it down for awhile I realized I didn't care at all about the characters. I had no desire to see what happened in the end and I was afraid I would still not care even if I did finish.
Jan 10, 2011 Anne rated it really liked it
This was the first JCO I ever read...mid-'70s. It haunted me, but until libraries started carrying her, I had to wait to read more of this author. Her short stories are superb, I have not tried her poems, yet.
Jun 01, 2010 Evilynn rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
This is a rather big book, and I have to say the middle part dragged something fierce. The protag is rather unlikeable until the last 20 pages or so, and the psychoanalysis feels rather outdated.
Sep 20, 2011 Bonnie rated it really liked it
It did move a little slowly through the middle--and it's quite the tome. But the characters are so well developed I forgive Joyce.
Oct 10, 2011 Janet added it
Don't really remember it but I know I've read this book. Probably should reread after I finish the Wonderland quartet.
Feb 19, 2008 Clare rated it it was ok
My least favorite Oates book. Even if you're not impressed by this, do read something else by Oates because she's amazing.
Maria Copeland
Jun 04, 2015 Maria Copeland rated it it was amazing
The character of Elena has haunted me for years. Wonderful exploration of PTSD and mental illness colliding with gradual self-awareness.
Nov 22, 2011 Sarah rated it did not like it
I love Joyce Carol Oates, but this book was so terrible I didn't even finish it. Life is too short.
Bjsteve rated it really liked it
Jun 20, 2009
Effie rated it it was amazing
Oct 10, 2010
Anna Screengazer
Anna Screengazer rated it it was amazing
May 16, 2013
Randy rated it it was amazing
May 28, 2011
Jennifer rated it liked it
Jun 25, 2008
Jane rated it liked it
Sep 11, 2013
Katie Feeney
Katie Feeney rated it it was amazing
Jan 03, 2014
Eleanor rated it it was amazing
Jun 18, 2007
Amanda Bidinger
Amanda Bidinger rated it really liked it
May 20, 2016
Kate rated it really liked it
Mar 11, 2009
Crystal rated it liked it
May 21, 2015
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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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