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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing
I'd never read an Oates book before and came across this one by chance. Glad I did. I was intrigued by the title. How could rape be also a love story? Well, now I know!

It's also a story of what ifs, if onlys. If only the single yourng mother had allowed her daughter, Bethel, to sleep-over at friends, if only...well, there are quite a few more which serves no...
Published on 10 Dec. 2008 by Michael Watson

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars Extra medium
Personally, I despise Oates' style of writing. It's almost fraudulent and as though she's trying too hard to get across a pretty mundane and already-overly-elaborated point, making it difficult to read. Really enjoyed the third person/internal monologue narrative, and the substance is less grotesque than it's made out to be. Not sure whether that's a good thing or not!
Published 1 month ago by Alastair Greyson


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishing, 10 Dec. 2008
By 
Michael Watson "skirrow22" (Halifax, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rape: A Love Story (Paperback)
I'd never read an Oates book before and came across this one by chance. Glad I did. I was intrigued by the title. How could rape be also a love story? Well, now I know!

It's also a story of what ifs, if onlys. If only the single yourng mother had allowed her daughter, Bethel, to sleep-over at friends, if only...well, there are quite a few more which serves no purpose since the mother, Teena, finished up fighting for her life after a brutal and horrifying gang-rape.

The story is mainly told through the eyes of Bethie who was also badly beaten and traumatised at the same time. The style of writing is quick, forceful and yet filled with just the right words to convey their meaning.

Sparse it may be, but the reader is left in no doubt how it happened, why it happened and who were the main low-lifes who committed the act. That subsequent court hearings cast doubt on the events only causes a certain NYPD officer to carefully deal with the problem. Despite the awful act, there is love abounding in the book. The daughter who loves her devastated mother, the officer who, as in one of those inexplicable events in life when you meet someone casually and they remain in your mind forever watches over Teena, the grandmother who does her best for daughter and granddaughter; even the parents of the yobs who just cannot believe their offspring could do such a thing. Love is all around and thank goodness it is. You finish this novella quickly because it moves quickly. But you are left in no doubt that, despite horrific events, there is hope and you should cling to it no matter the odds. All-in-all, I'm more than glad I read this book; I'm sure you will be, too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love? But not as we know it., 29 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Rape: A Love Story (Paperback)
In one of the USA's most famous honeymoon hotspots, Niagara Falls, a group of friends are having a party to celebrate July 4th. Thirty-one year old widow Teena Maguire and her 12 year old daughter Bethel are at Teena's boyfriend's house and decide to walk home. Teena has had a few drinks and foolishly makes a mistake that nearly costs both their lives. Rather than take the well-lit route home along the road, she decides to walk back through the park. A gang of young local men, drunk and high on methamphetamine force the mother and daughter into a filthy boat house, physically beat both of them and when the daughter wriggles away and hides in a corner, they rape and kick Teena so badly that she's left bleeding on the floor, close to death.

It doesn't take long for the men to be identified - and even less time for the rumours and allegations to start; rumours not about the violent young men but about their victim. Teena's only crime was to be too young and pretty, to dress provocatively and not to conform to people's expectations of a young widow. Once the physical wounds are healed and Teena is out of hospital, we go to court with her and Bethel for the initial hearing. The mother of two of the attackers sits in the front row muttering "Bitch! Whore! Liar" at Teena. Her husband hires his 'boys' a top defence lawyer - a man with no qualms about destroying the victims if it keeps his clients out of prison or gets them a reduced sentence. Threatening notes are left at Teena and Bethel's home, Bethel gets bullied at school. The boyfriend can't deal with what's happened.

I feared I could see exactly where it was going - that the societal psychological 'rape' of Teena would be every bit as painful and devastating as the physical rape of July 4th. I could see that the only way out for the attackers was to totally destroy their victims in a long, drawn-out and painful way by turning society against them and using the constraints of the legal system to help their cases. I was reminded of the 1988 Oscar-winning film 'The Accused' in which Jodie Foster plays the victim and Kelly McGillis her lawyer. What I wasn't expecting - and what I loved - was the quiet, covert but beautifully effective way that Teena's 'avenging angel' takes things into his own hands. This is the love story of the title - the quiet, hidden revenge acted out without the knowledge of the victims and delivered so much more effectively than the 'law' could ever do. Yes, it is a love story - but a very strange one and not one that fits any of the usual moulds.

It would be easy to dismiss this book as not saying anything new - to claim that the whole debate around 'asking for it' has been given many millions of words of attention over the years. It's sometimes not WHAT you write that matters - it's HOW you write it that counts and JCO writes this beautifully. I've been reading her books (and more often buying and then NOT reading them) for 25 years now and this is one of the best. When she writes with brevity she writes best and these 154 pages are carefully crafted in a way that makes you think that every word was chosen carefully.
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5.0 out of 5 stars BRILLIANT ! A book one must read... yet not for the faint-hearted, 23 Oct. 2013
This review is from: Rape: A Love Story (Paperback)
I'd never yet read anything by Joyce Carol Oates. After a close friend strongly recommended her work, I told myself I'd give it a try. Having looked up the disheartening long list of Oates's published books, and seeing most novels were close to 500 pages, I decided to go for a novella, and 'take it easy'. That'd be shorter; lighter, too.
Little did I know that the novella I'd pick out (for no other reason than the intriguing title- how on earth could `rape' be a 'love story'?) would be anything but easy.
Reading 'Rape' was like getting a big cruel kick in the stomach. I took it up on a Monday evening; could not put it aside- till it was 'over'.
In this story, when catharsis comes, it is superbly crafted, its morals shining bright, in quirky paradox: what we're shown here is... triumph. The triumph of friendship; the triumph of love.
This book isn't one you get over with. Though the story itself brings closure, the feelings it awakens are not easily put to rest.
The brutality of those starting pages -the torture, in body and soul, of Teena Maguire; the anguish and terror of young Bethie; the seemingly endless, hopeless fight against cruelty and machismo of provincial America- all that stays with the reader.
This is a book I'll not forget.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't do with Me as You will, 9 Nov. 2006
By 
MICHAEL ACUNA (Southern California United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Rape: A Love Story (Paperback)
Over the years, Joyce Carol Oates has used the short novel form as a way to expiate her literary and personal demons; subjects she only touches upon in her more "serious" novels. In "Rape, A Love Story" we have the horrible gang rape of Teena Maguire witnessed by her daughter, Bethie. Much of "Rape" reads like a police report or something you might watch on Court TV. The writing is very spare, direct, and journalistically precise: "the woman had to be drunk, high on coke herself, partying since early evening and by midnight you can figure the state she was in, how the hell could Teena Maguire even recognize who had sex with her? And how many"

The Love story angle of the title is of course not a straight ahead, direct man-to woman one but one involving a Niagara Falls Policeman, Dromoor, who finds Teena at the crime scene and who takes it upon himself to become her avenging Angel: "A gun excited him. It was a good feeling. Quickened his pulse so he could actually feel it. Sometimes a tinge in the groin"

"Rape" is not a treatise on rape, per se, nor is it wholly a comment on the tendency of society to place blame on the victim. What it is, is a serious commentary on the randomness of crime: crime that is too often fueled by drugs and alcohol. More imprtantly though it is about the devastating personal effect crime has on the victim and the family of the victim.

Like "Zombie," "The Rise of Life on Earth" and last years "Beasts," "Rape" is out to make a point about a very specific subject. Oates doesn't waste any time getting there and uses very few words in the process. "Rape" is not a major Oates work but it is an interesting, often pathetic and emotionally aware one. And as such it is of interest to all of her fans that crave a quick Oates fix before the next full length novel.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Extra medium, 9 Mar. 2015
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Personally, I despise Oates' style of writing. It's almost fraudulent and as though she's trying too hard to get across a pretty mundane and already-overly-elaborated point, making it difficult to read. Really enjoyed the third person/internal monologue narrative, and the substance is less grotesque than it's made out to be. Not sure whether that's a good thing or not!
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5.0 out of 5 stars beautifully crafted. I read it in one sitting, 14 Aug. 2014
This review is from: Rape: A Love Story (Paperback)
This book is powerful, beautifully crafted. I read it in one sitting. I love the rhythm of the the prose. The subject is is brutal and the portrayal is raw. Books like this remind me that writing is an art.
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5.0 out of 5 stars stunning, 21 Sept. 2014
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A traumatic and unflinching, but beautifully written short novel by the amazing JCO. This book will remain with you. Highly recommended
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Challenging read, 10 April 2006
By 
Lynda Wiseman (Macduff, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rape: A Love Story (Paperback)
If this is the first book that you have read by Joyce Carol Oates and I can guaruntee that you won't be dissapointed.
You will find your perceptions of victim and assailant constantly challenged, wondering how this tragic start to a story could ever be resolved. And Yet Oates manages to drag us in to this world of the victim of a gang rape and her daughter who witnessed the event.
Your heart is twisted continually as you are dropped into the story at crucial moments allowed to feel what the victim feels and yet see the perceptions of others towards a victim of rape.
Each character is carefully and beautifully painted and this book has an unbearable tension as we wait to see if justice can ever be done. And yet without any air of predictability the story is beautifully resolved and leaves the reader breathless with relief and wanting to pick it up and start again! Try it and see for yourself
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars masterpiece, 11 Mar. 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: Rape: A Love Story (Hardcover)
joyce carol oates is definitely the best LIVING american (usa+canada, no way margaret atwood is better)writer. this is her best book: amazing and shocking story, great style in writing.is a book that everybody should read. moreover,the cover is sooooo beautiful!!!!!is the perfect book!i love it!she should win the nobel(finally).
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a good read, 7 Nov. 2006
By 
R. Gregory (england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Rape: A Love Story (Paperback)
well as i was looking for a quick read for a uni assignment/book review about rape this was perfect, definatly a quick read, only took a few hours to read. The book definatly makes you want more when you've finished as the ending isnt as satisfying as expected nor predictable. overall an interesting, thought provoking book.
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Rape: A Love Story
Rape: A Love Story by Joyce Carol Oates (Hardcover - 14 July 2005)
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