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Rape: A Love Story

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  4,616 ratings  ·  527 reviews
Teena Maguire should not have tried to shortcut her way home that Fourth of July. Not after midnight, not through Rocky Point Park. Not the way she was dressed in a tank top, denim cutoffs, and high-heeled sandals. Not with her twelve-year-old daughter Bethie. Not with packs of local guys running loose on hormones, rage, and alcohol. A victim of gang rape, left for dead in ...more
Paperback, 154 pages
Published December 21st 2004 by Carroll & Graf Publishers (first published 2003)
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Kathleen I thought the love story referred to the fact that love -- between Dromoor and Teena, Dromoor and Bethie, Teena and Bethie, Bethie and the grandmother…moreI thought the love story referred to the fact that love -- between Dromoor and Teena, Dromoor and Bethie, Teena and Bethie, Bethie and the grandmother, or Teena and her mother -- could face down the hatred of the crime and its aftermath.(less)

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Average rating 3.58  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,616 ratings  ·  527 reviews

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Sumit Singla
Nov 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is an ugly book, filled with nothing but filth and darkness. It takes your view of humanity, throws it to the ground and administers a few sound kicks to it, till it is bleeding and crying out.

Hate is a strong word, but I hated the story, the characters and practically the entire book. I hate the fact that I live in a world where this isn't fiction, but the true story of thousands of 'Teena's and 'Bethie's each day.

I hate the fact that people find it ok to label rape as 'unfortunate' or 'sa
Peek At My Book Review
Sep 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: before2011
4 ‘I say CASTRATE the Rapists’ Stars


This is the story of a mother and daughter who were in the wrong place at the wrong time and encounter the wrong/most vile persons. The story of what that woman becomes after being Raped, people just talk about her or recall her of think of her about ‘after the incident’, the before no longer exists.

“Suspects,” they were called. As if they hadn’t done what they’d done to you and your mother but were only “suspected” of doing it!

What was most disturbing w
Feb 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
It's shocking and almost unforgiving that I have been on this earth for 30 years and have never read Joyce Carol Oates. Reading her entire cannon will soon become my latest addiction in 2009. So how do I review this novel? (note : I am writing this review after already having read 'Zombie' a few days ago). First of all, Joyce C Oates, where have you been all my life? And to my literary friends : Why did nobody tell me about the lyricism, harshness, brilliant POV changes, and upsetting yet beauti ...more
This book deals with a horrible situation (if you hadn't already guessed from the title) in the most beautiful way.
Weird to say considering the harsh content, but no less true.
She writes all the POV's from a 3rd party narrative which allowed me to distance myself from the subject matter while still staying connected to the characters.
I loved it and will definitely be seeking out more Joyce Carol Oates!
Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone.
Am I allowed to say I love this while I honestly hate it?

I hate everything it shows. I hate more or less every single event in it. I hate how degenerated some characters become. I hate how much this book is needed.

I absolutely hate that this behavior is found in our reality.

Something else?

I love this book.

Most of all, I like the humanizing of the events. Oates pulls the story of a gang-rape and its aftermath off, however this is possible when this is such an unspeakable crime. For over a day I'
Sep 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
I have a love/hate relationship with JCO. She is a brilliant writer and I admire her. Sometimes I am blown away by the intensity and chilling insight of her books and sometimes I find them unnecessarily cruel, mean and overly dramatic.

Now, don't get me wrong, she can write in any genre with skill. It's amazing. As a matter of fact, in one short story collection she wrote a brilliant and complete short story in one page. She is an eccentric individual and her choices reflect that.

The title of th
Jun 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Joyce Carol Oates seems to channel all of the things I was ever scared of between the ages of 12-14, humanize them, and make them strangely pitiful and believable and still terrible. The fact that this book is set in a very nostalgic landscape for me makes this book all the more terrifying and poignant, even if it is a kind of mundane and melodramatic kind of terror.

I often feel that JCO writes for a very narrow and specific demographic that I'm part of, but don't know the perimeters of?

She ex
Aug 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Joyce Carol Oates seems to have a phobia about the Fourth of July. I just finished reading Black Water, another Independence Day disaster novella, only to be confronted with Rape - a love story, that covers a gang rape in Niagara Falls, NY to round off the fireworks and alcohol consumption on the special day that celebrates American independence.

Unlike Black Water, I didn’t skip pages here, for Rape - a love story, is a tight thriller, not only focussed on the victim’s plight but also on the out
Oct 05, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminism
I didnt expect to read this story. I had never heard of it or the author. I was having a long, sweaty day and popped into the library to kill some time before catching the bus home. In fact, I almost walked right past it. But a word jumped out at me from a black and white cover:rape. My feminist bells are ringing. Is that a cover of black and white hearts? Is that a story titled Rape:a love story? So it only takes me a second to double take and backtrack. I pick up this small bo
Dec 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
A chilling, haunting reminder of the evil that humans are capable of, the author describes the brutality of the rape and terror beyond what we are capable of imagining on our own. The second attack from the community slandering the victims is almost more disgusting, being from a small town full of small minds I could visualize it full-force. “She asked for it” I understand that no rape story has a “happy ending” but Joyce Carol Oates delivers us the best possible conclusion.

Earlier this year i r
Jan 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who are unclear on how bad rape is
Shelves: 2017
Joyce Carol Oates is not in the habit of pulling her punches. She might be the only writer in the history of the world both willing and able to name a book "Rape." She's a powerful author, and I'm a big fan.

This wasn't my favorite of her books. What's it all about? Fury, right? I mean, and rape. It's definitely about rape. Nothing else happens. It's short. The personalities and histories of the people in it are briefly sketched out. Mostly, there's a rape and then there's the aftermath of the ra
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
It is a very hard topic that the writer is talking about in this book.
There are no hard scenes. It is the daughter's view that we read in this book
Jul 11, 2008 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Roman Clodia
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Not just those animals but you people at the courthouse have destroyed her"

First published in 2003, this is a book that feels like it was written in an ice-cold rage. JCO's control never slips in her version of what has become a desperately familiar story: the brutalised woman who finds herself on trial for 'asking for' her rape.

But, then, this is Joyce Carol Oates and so the story doesn't stop there, and instead takes a controversial direction (view spoiler) th
Oct 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
What first drew me to this book was of course, the title. And it wasn't until the end of the story that I realized what the 'love story' in the title was referring to. But the story was so completely harrowing right from the first sentence that I didn't really have time to wonder about the title while reading it. The novel is an all too real depiction of a brutal gang rape and its aftermath. Reading it was tough; Oates' sparse prose really wrenches your heart at times, making you cringe and cry ...more
Aug 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
One of the most emotionally shocking books I have read recently. Not a fan of the longer Joyce Carol Oates books because of the excessive description. This book was one of the best I have read recently and shows what can be accomplished when all of the excessive bs is removed. Oates portrays what is really meant by "rape". It is an ugly brutal crime that often victimizes the victim further by forcing them to prove their case. If anyone ever doubted the brutality of a gang rape they should read t ...more
Peycho Kanev
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
At the falls she leaned over the railing. The wind blew cold spray into her face, clothes. Within seconds her clothes were soaked and clung to her thin body. Tourists perceived her as a drunk or drugged or deranged woman and kept their distance from her. On her head she wore a silk scarf that loosened in the wind, slipped from her head, and was blown out above the thunderous water; without the scarf, her hair was revealed as sparse, tufted, without color. Now she was perceived as possibly a sick ...more
Jinx:The:Poet {the Literary Masochist, Ink Ninja & Word Roamer}
Rape: A Love Story by Joyce Carol Oates, was one very hard novel to read. Not of its length or anything based on the manner of its prose, no, that was not the issue here. It was a fairly short book, my copy was only 154 pages long, and wow, was the prose beautiful and striking. The thing about this book, was its harsh, punch-in-the-gut subject matter. I mean, as a reader you know going in, based on the title of the book if not the description itself, that it will probably be an upsetting and dif ...more
May 30, 2009 rated it it was ok
This was difficult to rate.

First, I don't think the book ever justified its intentionally controversial title. Second, although parts felt very genuine and terribly realistic, other parts felt like trite stereotypes. Third, inevitably, a novella does not have the space to fully develop each character, but I was still disappointed by the surface treatment of the characters I really wanted to learn more about: the mother, daughter, and grandmother. Fourth, I was really disappointed in the choice
Ben Boulden
Feb 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A vengeance tale worthy of Joyce Carol Oates' reputation, and its serious subject matter. When a single mother is raped in front of her young daughter, left for dead, and the judicial system falters--smearing the victim's character and making it seem the rapists are the victims--an uninterested party takes an interest to ensure a kind of justice is done. Told from the young girl's perspective, it concentrates less on the physical aspects of revenge and more on the psychological. The fear, hate, ...more
Jun 13, 2007 rated it liked it
Good story overall, but I wish the characters had been fleshed out more. (No pun intended -- seriously.)
Jul 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 21st-century
A book with a provocative title and a disturbing subject. The book cares. The book pulls triggers. The book resembles, on a superficial level, some aspect of our real world. The book confronts the monstrous reality of human cruelty, callousness, and especially the perversity of our social reaction to an atrocious crime. It, unfortunately, doesn't succeed very well.

By some ironic twist, In Cold Blood is a better novel than this, even though In Cold Blood is not a novel, and this is.

This book take
Bo Abeille
May 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2010, 2010-novels
What a difficult yet ultimately rewarding read. The story took turns I never expected & executed plot points that usually end up delivered in such a silly fashion in a poignant & heart-aching way. This is a hard book to get through simply because of the horrifying details of the assault the young girl & her mother suffer, but it is somehow worth it in the end. You realize that sometimes love is born out of knowing a person who understands life's injustices & finding comfort in the fact that thei ...more
Everett Darling
Jan 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2008
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008-reads
Heart breaking. There's no dawdling in this novel, it's very straight forward and to the point - and what a terribly saddening point it is. It is an excellent and thought provoking read, a little hard to push through at times because you're just so disgusted, but will hold your attention completely until the final page is turned.
Oct 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: library-read
I was at the library, borrowing novels which I didn't need (I have so many unread at home), and I kinda just "grabbed" this novel without really knowing anything about it.

Here I am, kinda in love with it. I love that it was so short. I love the way Oates writes (at least in this one). I love that I hate it and love it at the same time. I love how awful it is, and how raw it is. I just love it.
yasmine skalli
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
ive only heard good thing about joyce carol oates and this exceeded my expectations. beautiful and heartbreaking.
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brutality and cowardice it is.
Sep 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: to-buy, realism
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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The artistry with which Oates made such a dismal topic so satisfying 2 6 Aug 22, 2015 05:59AM  

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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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