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I'll Take You There

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  1,646 Ratings  ·  145 Reviews
"Anellia" is a young student who, though gifted with a penetrating intelligence, is drastically inclined to obsession. Funny, mordant, and compulsive, she falls passionately in love with a brilliant yet elusive black philosophy student. But she is tested most severely by a figure out of her past she'd long believed dead.

Astonishingly intimate and unsparing, and pitiless in
ebook, 304 pages
Published October 15th 2002 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 2002)
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Dec 22, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
Wow. I really did not like this book. I was about 1/3 of the way through by the time I decided I really didn't care for it, though, and I didn't have anything else to read at lunch, so I decided just to stick with it.

I recently read an interview with Joyce Carol Oates where she said this was the most autobiographical of all her books. If that's the case, apparently I violently dislike Joyce Carol Oates, or at least I would have when she was in college. The unnamed (or multi-named) protagonist le
Jim Leckband
Apr 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oates tackles some philosophy in this one. She references ontology, existentialism (she explicitly names a philosophy grad student "Matheius" which is similar to the protagonist "Mathieu" of Sartre's "The Age of Reason"), Spinoza, Nietzche, Plato, idealism, Wittgenstein's language theory etc. and that is just what I remember - I'm sure I'm missing some of them.

But what is the point of this and does it make an interesting novel? I think it does. Who else but Oates would foist all this philosophic
Nov 01, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read most of this book on a plane — not the best choice if you're looking for a calm, light-hearted read. This was my first Joyce Carol Oates novel and it certainly won't be my last. It seems like a lot of people found the narrator ("Anellia" though her real name is a matter of dispute) too self-obsessive and not likable. I had the opposite reaction - surrounded by a society and people she can no longer relate to (the Kappas), Anellia emerges as a fiercly independent and self-expressive woman. ...more
Oct 17, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like a Greek tragedy this book is made up of three acts in which the main character falls apart and picks herself up again.
I must say the parts were a little too clean cut to me. It really felt like three novellas rather than one novel. It was my first Joyce Carol Oates' book and I can already tell I will be a fan even if this one was just a 3 star effort really. I threw one more star in because girl bullying and interracial relationships are one of my favourite literary subjects. All in all it
Mary Rose
Oh, JCO. What are we going to do with you? As usual, Oates' writing is impeccable, her voice distinct and descriptions lovely, but I could not have picked a more boring subject matter if I had posed the challenge to a doornail. A sorority girl losing her sanity and health, periodically going on long winded tangents about how very, very, VERY British (ahem, English, ahem) her sorority's house mother is. This entire section of the book is filled with her making bad decision after bad decision and ...more
Beth Anne
i found that this book said so little, but said so much. what i mean is that there was no point to telling the story, except to tell the story. am i being too cryptic?

let me try again.

the novel tell the first person account of the 4 college years in the life of a nameless woman in the early 60's. in between her stories of joining a sorority, falling in love with a black man, and meeting her thought to be dead father, we find a complex woman....obsessive, neurotic, super intelligent and completel
May 28, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never dislike Joyce Carol Oates, but sometimes I have a shoulder shrug reaction to her work. This was one of those books. It was beautifully written, and definitely took me back to college days. Primarily because it is about the slow and painful emergence of a person, through insecurity, the freshness of first love, the hardening that comes from suffering through shattering loss. So I'm calling it a good book, but something about it didn't quite hold together and I didn't love it like I tend t ...more
Lauren Hartney
good one. vintage oates. 1960's bi-racial relationship--stark, simple, compelling.
Anna Brown
Dec 09, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joyce Carol Oates has a magnificent way of explaining emotions in a way I've never read before. Written from a naive girl's point of view. Glad I was recommended this book!
H. P. Reed
The last two Joyce Carol Oates books I read were distasteful to me. But this book reminded me of her excellence and why she is never to be dismissed. Here, her vast understanding of the human psyche, her ability to write the perfect inner dialogue while breaking writing rules such as "Complete sentences only" and "No run-on sentences" and her magical touch with characterization inform every page. Her Anellia, whose real name we never learn, is so real and so raw much of the story that her breath ...more
Sarah B.
Oct 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book, about an immature college student, was one of the most nuanced, complicated, adult books I have ever read. While reading it, I was unsure if I had picked up a novel or a memoir. As it turns out, it is a bit of each.

Knowing that Oates is writing about herself makes the reader's relationship to the novel more complex. Oates does not seem to like her protagonist much, and we are not invited to like or admire her, either. She drags the protagonist kicking and screaming out of her own head
I have tended in the past to like Joyce Carol Oates' short stories best of all her works. I've used a couple of them in the classroom. "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" is the most popular with students, a personal favorite, and probably the most widely anthologized of her stories. I've never really been into her novels, but the last one I read, Black Girl, White Girl, was really good. I've noticed similarities among many of her female protagonists--meek, sensitive, nervous, lacking se ...more
I have always been an Oates fan, but I could not get interested in this story or the characters. Life is too short to read uninteresting books.
Danielle Bessette
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've fallen in love with the writing of Joyce Carol Oates. Normally I'm prone to skimming parts of even the best books - but this book had me relishing in every sprawling sentence, each piece of imagery, every metaphor, the philosophy... I took this in like the sustenance of an IV drip, directly to my veins. I will caution this is not everyone's cup of tea; rife with semi-colons (which is not everyone's favorite punctuation but clearly one of mine), the narrator's thoughts are constantly tumblin ...more
Feb 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oates again does a great job of writing obsessive anxiety, neurosis and self loathing. Her unnamed protagonist (I think a nameless protagonist is an annoying affectation) is a mix of precocious scholarly intellect and boundless social awkwardness. She has a desperate need for approval and affection, having been starved of love her entire life, yet self sabotages any attempt to achieve that which she most desperately wants. A product of an austere German farming family, with a long dead mother, a ...more
Bob Walenski
Jul 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel was a bit of a 'sleeper'. I found it at a library sale and had it on the shelf for a long time, more than a year. It starts with a young woman at Syracuse university joining a sorority, to which she is ill suited. Set in the early 1960's, she falls for a black fellow student....a relationship that back then was considered sketchy at best, and certainly rebellious. By the novel's end she has been reunited with her dying father and begins to find some sense of wholeness in herself.
Sep 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books, fiction
(2,5 estrelas)
Acabei nesse minuto de ler esse livro e sim, pode ser que ele me desperte algum afeto posterior, mas duvido. Essa leitura foi meio que uma decepção.
A base do enredo é boa, e chama a atenção. Uma personagem em vias de um abalo emocional, universitária, saída de uma cidade pequena, fugindo de uma família disfuncional. Mas a escrita está longe de ser meu aspecto preferido desse livro!
Existe tal coisa como "poética demais"? Se existe, esse é o problema. As descrições, as atitudes, os d
Jul 13, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Apparently my reading brain has turned to mush-I mostly want to be entertained by books these days as an escape from the rest of my life, which right now requires lots of thinking and planning.

Not a beach read. After reading some of the other reviews, I decided this discontent may just be a result of wrong book at the wrong time.
Mar 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
this is the first book I ever read by JCO. I am very impressed by her prose, her honesty, and her depth of thought. relevance to situation on college campuses today was fascinating. I will read more JCO.
Sheryl Guise
There is something inately frustrating about reading a novel in which you never learn the name of the principal character. Turns out it is not the only frustrating aspect of the novel. I've read a number of books by Joyce Carol Oates, and had reasonably high expectations. I found myself not exactly enjoying it though. And then I stopped in here and discovered there was a contingent whose reviews said they had not even got past page 50.

Of course that meant I really *had* to keep reading! I'd alre
Feb 23, 2017 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Started in 2016, this was a hard back book picked up in the local library (Leiden, NL) in their sale. Put it down unfinished. It is intriguing in a wy, but hard going. Not sure if I will finish it, though it is still sitting on the table. Since I read mostly on my ereader, it is difficult to fit it into rotation.
Apr 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read Joyce Carol Oates before, and I don't remember being blown away. But I keep on trying. And sometimes you have to keep on trying, because you'll end up stumbling on something you really enjoy.

Anellia, or whatever her name is (we never do learn her real name), is going out into the world outside her small farm town in upstate New York—to college, where she expects to have grand adventures and grand loves and to be completely changed.

I loved the first part of the novel, which is Anellia's
I'll Take You There tells the story of a young woman growing up in America during the 60s: going to university, falling in love, coming to terms with her relationship to her parents. At university she joins a sorority; in the sorority house the girls are busy becoming women together, discovering themselves and other people, becoming "sisters". The narrator does not join in the fun. She becomes confirmed in her self-opinion as an irredeemable outsider, appalled by the predatory "heifer-sized" m ...more
Aug 18, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: meh, modern-lit
I previously read a short story by Oates called Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?. I think she does better in the short story format where, y'know, she's not allowed so many WORDS.(view spoiler) ...more
Laura Zurowski
JCO's I'll Take You There is set in the early 1960's at a private college in Upstate New York, but it could be set anywhere, at any time in the contemporary era. Like so many of her other books, this is a story with rich character development focusing on people who are broken, struggling with their place in the world, their "otherness", and their inability to conform to socially expected norms.

"Anellia", as she calls herself, is a fish out of water. She's left a working class family embroiled in
Σπύρος Γλύκας
‘Η παρείσακτη’ της Τζόις Κάρολ Όουτς είναι ένα μυθιστόρημα που χωρίζεται σε τρία μέρη. Στο πρώτο παρακολουθούμε την ένταξη της πρωταγωνίστριας σε μια από τις αδελφότητες ενός αμερικάνικου Πανεπιστημίου, στο δεύτερο τον πρώτο της έρωτα και στο τρίτο την απώλεια ενός πολύ κοντινού συγγενικού της προσώπου.
Η Ανέλια είναι το τέταρτο παιδί μιας αγροτικής οικογένειας, το οποίο κατηγορούν για το θάνατο της μητέρας του που πέθανε 18 μήνες μετά την γέννηση της. Με τον πατέρα της να είναι ουσιατικά απών απ
Jul 14, 2015 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition

I'll Take You There is told by a woman looking back on her first years of college, at Syracuse in the 1970s. Her story, softened by the gauze of memory and the relief of having survived, nonetheless captures a harrowing ordeal of alienation and despair, heightened by a wrenching interracial love affair and her father's death.

Cursed by insatiable yearning and constant dissatisfaction, "Anellia" has always been haunted by her mother. With her father and brothers making her feel responsible for he

Oct 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I only picked this up, I think, because I had only recently finished listening to Oates' "The Sacrifice" and enjoying that. I came available for listening just after I finished Anne Enright's "The Green Road" - which I did not enjoy much. "I'll Take You There" was quite the contrast; and for me, far more enjoyable. Oates grabbed my attention from the start and held it throughout the sorority days, the affair days, and the dying father days. Clearly a girl/woman's coming-of-age (and beyond) story ...more
Eve Kay
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What starts out as something promising turns into something mediocre turns into boring ends up yawn.
The book is in three parts and the first part was very good. It sets the scene where the protagonist starts college and is very much an outcast. In every possible way. I thought it was brilliantly written and it really pulled me in. I also felt empathy for the protagonist. Poor girl.
The second part wasn't brilliantly written. It was alot of flow-state writing where the protagonist meets a man and
David Haws
Feb 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oates’ protagonist describes Vernor Matheius as “technically young,” and I fear that Oates is imagining “nineteen” as someone approaching seventy. Thirty-something is ancient for a nineteen-year-old college sophomore (if she is odd enough—as the protagonist clearly is—she may desire ancient, but she’s unlikely to be internally confused).

I first read Oates as a young undergraduate at Berkeley (late 60s/early 70s) where she (a 30-something) was presented as at the cutting edge of “young fiction.”
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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
More about Joyce Carol Oates...
“I was nineteen years five months old when I fell in love for the first time. This seemed to me a profound, advanced age; never can we anticipate being older than we are, or wiser; if we're exhausted, it's impossible to anticipate being strong; as, in the grip of a dream, we rarely understand that we're dreaming, and will escape by the simplest of methods, opening our eyes.” 7 likes
“I had been reading Wittgenstein. There are no philosophical problems, only linguistic misunderstandings. Was this so? If so, why write at such length about it? I could understand [his] attraction to such a philosophy. Spartan, rigorous. Surpassingly skeptical. Well, good: philosophers should be skeptical. (No one else is: the mass of mankind is credulous as a gigantic infant, willing to suck any teat.)” 3 likes
More quotes…