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A novella by the endlessly prolific Joyce Carol Oates, "First Love" is at once an exploration of the darkness that sometimes suffices for family life (familiar Oates territory) and a Christian allegory for the modern age of incest, child abuse, and bondage and discipline. The heroine is a not-quite adolescent girl named Josie who suffers physical and sexual abuse at the hands of her demonic cousin, a divinity student named Jared, and psychological abuse at the hands of her neglectful mother. Jared's work includes binding, gagging and other unsavory acts in which blood plays an important role. The mother works her damage through means that are less spectacular but somehow manage to be far more sinister. The big question--is Jared snake or savior?
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ISBN-10:  0880014571
ISBN-13:  978-0880014571
Author:  Joyce Carol Oates
Publisher:  Ecco
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review by . May 12, 2013
First Love is a searing book that brings abuse to light.
In this novella, JCO, has added yet another masterpiece to her already voluminous collection. In a blue/middle collar environment, innocence is lost by a man who, in the future, would become a man of the cloth. It is a story that mirrors so much of what is visible in the news today of people who think that they are above the law. JCO shows the irony of the molester who is studying to be holy and virtuous in the eyes of God, but acts and committs in the name of unthinkable, selfish evil, which seems …
review by . June 04, 1998
In this novella, JCO, has added yet another masterpiece to her already voluminous collection. In a blue/middle collar environment, innocence is lost by a man who, in the future, would become a man of the cloth. It is a story that mirrors so much of what is visible in the news today of people who think that they are above the law. JCO shows the irony of the molester who is studying to be holy and virtuous in the eyes of God, but acts and committs in the name of unthinkable, selfish evil, which seems …
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