About the Book:
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.
Wow. What an incredible story! it took me some time to collect my thoughts on this one. An absolutely riveting debut novel.
The summery, pastel book cover hides the dark, gothic story within. Once I started reading this book, I knew I would not be able to stop until I reached the conclusion. Jonah’s story was heartbreaking, brutal, tragic but ultimately, redemptive.
“This is how I survive, I thought. By withholding my story.”
This book also offers a surprising take on being gay within the Christian church, a perspective that I have not read about until now. Jonah has grown up as the son of a pastor and has a strained relationship with his mother. His relationship with his father is non-existent, based mainly on the fact that Jonah was forced to undergo “conversion therapy” as a teen. He left home after college and never looked back. New York City offered a place to be himself and hopefully succeed as a playwright.
Jonah is broke, waiting tables and unable to pay the rent on his awful sublet apartment. He meets the dynamic and well-known Richard, a famous writer known to have much younger boyfriends. They begin a very dark and unbalanced affair. The Hamptons, tables at the best restaurants, exciting friends…Richard seems to have it all. He is wealthy and the power imbalance in their relationship is glaring.
“I wanted to believe that my place in his world was rightful, that no one was getting anything out of this. I wanted Richard to love me.”
Soon things take a turn for the nightmarish and Jonah’s world turns upside down. Although he had been warned, he did not want to see what was basically right in front of him. The predatory behavior of Richard and his friends had gone unchecked for years. They were untouchables.
“It was clear that this moment represented a threshold; our lives would be forever changed once we passed through.”
Some parts of this book were a little overwrought for me but nonetheless this book is compulsively readable and the themes are vitally important. Forgiveness, acceptable and honesty all come to Jonah in the end and I applaud the author for writing this incredible story! Highly recommend.
“Finally, today, I realized what this document is, what it has always been. A letter to you.”
(Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)