From the beginning I was mesmerized by this book, but in kind of an awful way. It begins with a five-year-old boy named Robbie being abducted from a mall, snatched literally from his mother's hand. It's heartbreaking.
It may not have been a good idea for a mother of a five-year-old boy (such as myself) to read this one, because I found the storyline quite terrifying. Still, I couldn't put it down.
This is a short novel by Joyce Carol Oates' standards, only 240 pages, but it's just as wonderfully horrible as other stories of hers I've read. (We were the Mulvaneys and The Falls were about 500 pages each and packed an emotional punch.)
While they could never be called uplifting or feel-good writing, Ms. Oates' novels are both fascinating and terrible... and essentially good books.