Published: Fri, October 06, 2017
World | By Tasha Manning

First Love: A Gothic Tale by Joyce Carol Oates - Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists

First Love: A Gothic Tale by Joyce Carol Oates - Reviews, Discussion, Bookclubs, Lists

I'm a fervent fan of Joyce Carol Oates, though I'll admit I do not appreciate all her works equally. I hate to use the judgment "like," as it is not professional in a critical approach to a book, so I'll say I partially appreciated 'First Love,' with a few reservations. (And I do not want to say more about criticism and I do not like it, but I do not like it.) .)

Even considering my familiarity with her work, I find it difficult to write a review of 'First Love.' On the one hand it's delightfully Gothic, a twisty-turny little book with a bite. On the other the characterizations left me a bit hollow. Or, I should say, the characters themselves felt hollow, under-developed. Did she intend to keep her distance? Could be. If so, I do not feel it worked. Perhaps she misjudged.

I know the subject of a near-incestuous relationship between cousins ​​Jared, Jr. (the seminary student from school due to his mental issues) and his 11-year old cousin Josie, is Upsetting and some will dismiss the entire book due to their distaste of this part of the plot. But, in this case, I believe it was an issue of ultimate control between the older and younger cousins, with sexual undertones, almost vampyric control actually. Yes, I have stripped her naked and washed her and yes I have called her "good girl, good girl" before drawing blood first from himself and then her blood, which I have blended in ways I will not say. And yes, that's creepy. But that's the point; It was meant to be creepy, to illustrate what was either a mental illness or a possession of the "Someone call an exorcist" kind. It could go either way. Or both, I guess:

Biomes | ASU - Ask A Biologist
Do these groups seem to be different enough to be classified in a separate biome? Do not worry, there is no right or wrong answer. The natural world is more varied than we can imagine, and the separation of similar groups can help us better define what we see.

"Mother said tartly," Sick? ' - What's 'sick'? Who is 'well'? Do you imagine, if you or I were minutely examined, we would be one hundred percent 'well'? "

And the religion: the different portraits of Christ, plus the symbolic snake, in this case both sexual and the traditional evil introduced into Eden - the black snake Jared, Jr. . Not to mention the family legacy of the men becoming Reverends, and the italicizing of the "Reverend's house." Religion was all over the place, never seen a positive thing but rather a force to be dealt with and accepted.

Overall, I would recommend Oates fans as well as those in the Gothic. Others less attuned to books delving into evil you may want to give this one a pass. I'm still digesting it, myself, all 86 tiny pages of it. I debated between 3 and 4 stars for far too long, deciding on three for their incomplete coherence and somewhat undeveloped characters.

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