I am half way through this book and do not like the author's style of writing. It is too similar to the Jon Benet case. There could have been some more changes to the story besides the names and Bliss being an ice skater. This is the first book I've read from Joyce Carol Oates and I'm disappointed because I thought she was supposed to be a great writer. Are her other books written like this?
This book was a huge disappointment to me. I have read a few other books by Joyce Carol Oates and this one was not up to the standards set by those books.
It greatly disturbed me that this was based so closely on the case of Jon-Benet Ramsey. This child has a father and a brother who are still alive and the use of many details borrowed from that case is simply cruel. Even the mother's name in the book is "Betsey Rampike." Really? Not so far from the late "Patsy Ramsey."
In addition to that, it just wasn't that well written or readable until the final chapters when the narrator (the dead child's surviving brother) is talking of his present life without the pretentious narration he gives to the past throughout most of the book. Also, the end of the book is when it finally takes a turn away from ripping off the real life case. If the entire book was written in this fashion, it would have been so much better.
This could have been better done and without the details/rumors that were thrown about in the press regarding Jon-Benet's death. I can't imagine how that family must have suffered. I did not follow that case, but it was everywhere and even these many years later I recognized some of the ugliness that the family was accused of and details that were widely reported. I am sure that Ms. Oates has a better imagination than that. The only real changes were that the child was an ice skater instead of a pageant contestant. Then, there was a weird focus on "peek-a-boo" panties that were supposedly part of the costumes worn by the child. I am no figure skater but that seems inaccurate.
All in all, a third rate book. I would never have expected this from such a fine author.