Rape: A Love Story

Rape: A Love Story by Joyce Carol Oates
Published by Atlantic Books
Published 9 March 2006
160 pages

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Rape: A Love Story begins with what is almost unspeakable. It tells of the brutality and cowardice that overtakes the city of Niagara Falls in the aftermath of an attack on a woman and her young daughter. A diamond-hard dissection of modern mores, it is also the tale of Teena and Bethie’s silent champion – a man who knows the meaning of justice. And love.


AFTER SHE WAS GANG-RAPED, kicked and beaten and left to die on the floor of the filthy boathouse at Rocky Point Park.


I’m crying as I write this review, moved to tears by this shocking, heart-breaking novella. Rape: A Love Story is not an easy book to read. JCO does not include any descriptions of Teena’s actual rape, events are hinted at which is a relief. Details descriptions of a violent rape and a beating that is almost an attempted murder would sicken me. What made my heart ache the most was how Teena and her daughter and torn apart by the media. Teena was asking for it. She was drinking and dressed like a slut so she asked for it. She walked home the scenic way so obviously asked for it. My heart broke for Teena. One thing about Rape: A Love Story is its relevance. I have no doubt what happened to Teena and her daughter will resonate for a lot of readers. We live in a society where rape is common and rape victims are vilified and blamed and it disgusts me. I really felt for Teena. The rape changes her; how she’s seen by the world, her daughter, her family and herself. She is two people, the Teena before the rape and the broken women after the rape. It’s clear her ordeal will have an impact on her and her daughter for a long time. Rape: A Love Story is not an easy read but it is essential. I love it even though I hated what it was about and would recommend it.




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