A Book of American Martyrs by Joyce Carol Oates – Book Review


As is typical of many of Oates novels, this is a difficult one.  It’s difficult to read, difficult to think about, and stays with you for quite a while afterward.  Just to let you know, it was a wonderfully written novel, the plot and character development were terrific, and I really really like it when novels make me take a hard look at society and my personal beliefs.  This novel does that.

Here, Oates takes on the abortion issue by giving voice to both sides by dealing with both the family of a slain abortion doctor, and the family of the murderer who shot him.  Oates delves into the religious beliefs of Luther Dunphy and his family while giving the same respect to abortion provider Dr. Augustus Voorhees and his family.  This novel was really outstanding in regard to the two daughters, Naomi Voorhees and Dawn Dunphy.

I really don’t want to go into detail about the novel, since I don’t want to give anything away.  Suffice it is say that Oates gives us information galore on both sides of the issue, while also developing the plot and characters.  I have to say, she is a wonder as a writer, and I continue to be amazed with every novel published.

I highly encourage you to read this novel, regardless of your personal beliefs concerning the issue of abortion. Well done (once again), Oates!


Joyce Carol Oates


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