Sunny Shore's Reviews > A Fair Maiden

A Fair Maiden by Joyce Carol Oates
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Nov 14, 2011

it was ok
Read from November 06 to 14, 2011

I usually love everything Joyce Carol Oates writes, but this was one of her lesser efforts. She is such a prolific writer....she pretty much lands on the bullseye with most books....but with such a large body of work, she's bound to miss once in awhile. I listened to the 5 CDs of this sad tale of a Jersey teen who gets in over her head with an old rich man, while being a nanny for a family at the Jersey shore. It's all been done before and we hear every thought in Katia's pretty little mind, whether they are good or evil. It is typical JCO in that she always brings us to the edge of situations where we will definitely...squirm. I like that part, but this is just a rerun of the same old stuff we've seen over and over many times before: poor girl, bad home life, nobody cares, vulnerable for trouble.....
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Reading Progress

11/06/2011 "I'm listening to this in the car - disc 1"
11/09/2011
40.0% "Disc 2"
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Nelly I agree. I've read all of Oates's novels and sometimes she does miss. This one held my interest--I was engaged until the very end--but it's not one of her masterworks. It's also not one of her worst!


Sunny Shore Nelly wrote: "I agree. I've read all of Oates's novels and sometimes she does miss. This one held my interest--I was engaged until the very end--but it's not one of her masterworks. It's also not one of her worst!"

I read Missing Mom and couldn't finish it and for some reason altho it got great reviews didn't like Foxfire...but loved The Falls, Gravedigger's Daughter, her old trilogy from the 60's - Wonderland, etc., Rape (?), Tattooed girl, Black Water and many others. It wasn't her worst, but thought it had all been done before.


Nelly Missing Mom was a bit out of character for her--it was more about ordinary people than her usual deviants and other obsessive characters but I loved it because it spoke to me on a personal level. I also know that Oates lost her mom around the time she wrote the book so it seemed poignant because of that. The Falls is one of my favorites as is Wonderland which I read a hundred years ago and Blonde. There have only been two books by Oates that I have not been able to finish--Son of the Morning and SisterSister. I just couldn't get into them.


Sunny Shore I haven't tackled everything...I do love her deviants, as you say. It is definitely true that when something speaks to you in a story, you respond to it. I haven't read Blonde, because I had read two bios of Marilyn Monroe at the time it came out and I was "marilyned out!" haha I would like to read it now and tried to download on my kindle, but don't think its available. I want to read Expensive People. I've read a lot of her short story collections. I loved The Falls - absolutely adored that book.


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