REVIEW: Yes, Daddy by Jonathan Parks-Ramage

The Official Description: A propulsive, scorching modern gothic, Yes, Daddy follows an ambitious young man who is lured by an older, successful playwright into a dizzying world of wealth and an idyllic Hamptons home where things take a nightmarish turn.

Jonah Keller moved to New York City with dreams of becoming a successful playwright, but, for the time being, lives in a rundown sublet in Bushwick, working extra hours at a restaurant only to barely make rent. When he stumbles upon a photo of Richard Shriver—the glamorous Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright and quite possibly the stepping stone to the fame he craves—Jonah orchestrates their meeting. The two begin a hungry, passionate affair.

When summer arrives, Richard invites his young lover for a spell at his sprawling estate in the Hamptons. A tall iron fence surrounds the idyllic compound where Richard and a few of his close artist friends entertain, have lavish dinners, and—Jonah can’t help but notice—employ a waitstaff of young, attractive gay men, many of whom sport ugly bruises. Soon, Jonah is cast out of Richard’s good graces and a sinister underlay begins to emerge. As a series of transgressions lead inexorably to a violent climax, Jonah hurtles toward a decisive revenge that will shape the rest of his life.

Riveting, unpredictable, and compulsively readable, Yes, Daddy is an exploration of class, power dynamics, and the nuances of victimhood and complicity. It burns with weight and clarity—and offers hope that stories may hold the key to our healing.

Just the facts: Queer literature, fiction, frightening, confronting

Raw, frightening and thought-provoking queer fiction. This book is important and disturbing. – Kinzie Things

My thoughts bit:
Yes, Daddy by Jonathan Parks-Ramage is a difficult book to read. I certainly can’t say that I enjoyed it but it was thought-provoking. Books like this are integral to Society moving forwards and I feel as though they should always be promoted and read.

Jonah comes from an extremely religious family … and his escape route was to create a lie that would ruin his father. This book is about Jonah and his relationship with Richard. Richard happens to be a powerful, wealthy, successful playwright while Jonah is an aspiring writer. Jonah sets his sights on Richard; he thinks he’s attractive and he wants to meet him. What he doesn’t expect is the way their relationship begins to quickly erode the control he has over his own life.

Jonah goes from “finding a boyfriend” to being sexually and physically assaulted constantly while being held captive on a compound. Jonah is a very interesting character. He isn’t always likable and I can’t say that I even understood all his decisions. There were definitely times when I was angry with him, times when I was frustrated – but I think that’s a nod to Jonathan Parks-Ramage’s writing. But isn’t this how we deal with our trauma?  We think we have it all figured out and often we do the exact opposite of what we should.

Jonathan Parks-Ramage has written an important piece of work. This is a definite exploration into the way that a power imbalance in a relationship can be weaponized. Because of the events in Jonah’s past, he lacks confidence and a secure foundation. By dating Richard, Jonah is trying to create a world in which he has love, a home, and security. Sadly, Richard is just the kind of vile kind of human being who will take advantage of someone like Jonah.
The plot is revealed through Jonah’s POV. I did find it a bit disconcerting when he was addressing a character simply referred to as “you”. But, the author has done a great job of unraveling the story in a way that makes it intriguing in spite of how disturbing and frightening it is.
This book is difficult to read because of the subject matter, perhaps made even more poignant by the fact that the Queer community has long dealt with the issues that are depicted within. The #MeToo movement may have lost a bit of its value to the press but these types of stories will always be important and valid. This book wasn’t what I expected but it has certainly left an impression on me that will be long-lasting.

Things You May Want To Know: Please be aware, I’m by no means an expert on what may or may not have the potential to disturb people. I simply list things that I think a reader might want to be aware of. In this book: (SPOILERS) Please do not read this book if you are sensitive to some content. There are too many potential “triggers” to even list them here. This book very clearly depicts rape, abuse, human trafficking, drug use, confinement, kidnapping, and extortion.

Links: Goodreads // The Author //

I received an ARC of Yes, Daddy by Jonathan Parks-Ramage from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via Netgalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.