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Babysitter  By  cover art

Babysitter

By: Joyce Carol Oates
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell,Kirby Heyborne,Max Meyers
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Publisher's Summary

From one of America’s most renowned storytellers—the best-selling author of Blonde—comes a novel about love and deceit, and lust and redemption, against a backdrop of shocking murders in the affluent suburbs of Detroit.

“Unsettling, mysterious, deft, sinister, eerily plausible.”—Margaret Atwood, best-selling author of The Handmaid's Tale and The Testaments, via Twitter

In the waning days of the turbulent 1970s, in the wake of unsolved child-killings that have shocked Detroit, the lives of several residents are drawn together with tragic consequences.

There is Hannah, wife of a prominent local businessman, who has begun an affair with a darkly charismatic stranger whose identity remains elusive; Mikey, a canny street hustler who finds himself on a chilling mission to rectify injustice; and the serial killer known as Babysitter, an enigmatic and terrifying figure at the periphery of elite Detroit. As Babysitter continues his rampage of abductions and killings, these individuals intersect with one another in startling and unexpected ways.

Suspenseful, brilliantly orchestrated, and engrossing, Babysitter is a starkly narrated exploration of the riskiness of pursuing alternate lives, calling into question how far we are willing to go to protect those whom we cherish most. In its scathing indictment of corrupt politics, unexamined racism, and the enabling of sexual predation in America, Babysitter is a thrilling work of contemporary fiction.

©2022 Joyce Carol Oates (P)2022 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“Carefully constructed sentences, pitch-perfect dialogue, and a central character who is simultaneously sympathetic and repellent. An outstanding novel from a true modern master who jumps across genres with unrivaled dexterity.”Booklist, starred 

“A searing work of slow-burning domestic noir . . . Oates paints an unflinching portrait of 1970s upper-middle-class America, touching on issues of racism, classism, and institutional abuse while exploring society’s tendency to value women solely in relation to the role they fill—be it wife, mother, or sexual object.”Kirkus Reviews 

What listeners say about Babysitter

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Chilling story, beautifully told

I LOVED this book and this performance. The only reason I gave the story 4 stars because I thought the ending could have been better. The pace, the internal dialogues, the commentary on society, the characters...It is haunting. The kind of book you can't wait to get back to. And the reader perfectly captured the cadence. Excellent.

3 people found this helpful

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  • SB
  • 08-23-22

Not impressed

This is my first time listening to this author's work and I wasn't impressed. I found the writing style strange... choppy, yet overly verbose and repetitive at the same time. The female protagonist is dumb as a bag of hair. I didn't really enjoy this listen and I wouldn't recommend it to others. I couldn't wait for it to be over. The ending makes no sense. There was no resolution to the main plot or subplots. What an aggravating experience! I wanted to throw my phone against the wall.

3 people found this helpful

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Insidious Evil

It seems all the best elements of a JCO novel come together in this dark, chilling novel. You almost feel grabbed by the scruff of the neck as you are pushed into a world of depravity and violence yet come to understand this world is always all around everyone, just obscured by "social norms". There are monsters of every stripe but the harshest condemnation goes to the institutionalization of such evil.

2 people found this helpful

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Exceptional

While the content is disturbing, the realness of evil at every level of society is clear. Beautifully written.

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This book is terrible

There was no keeping up with the story line, terrible! Did not like at all

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Reminiscent of Kafka

A women's need for love creates a mess that keeps getting messier. JC Oates' talent for weird plots, interesting characters, and imagery is at its best. The main reader is fantastic with unique voices for each character and a dramatic flair.

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This author thinks too much of herself

Tediously written, I stayed with it to see how she'd resolve the story, and she didn't. This is a write your own ending book, and I hate that. When the dramatic final scene finally arrives, the book just ends. A waste of time to read.

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Fantastic, but not for the meek

I’m a huge fan of Joyce Carol Oates. She is a literary treasure. This is a dark book and I’m amazed she can channel such darkness and transfer it to the page. If you like crime, noir, human horror and are not squeamish, this book is for you. She tackles the genre with mastery. My one complaint with the audio version is the narrator, while overall very good, sounds like she’s doing a vampire impersonation while reading the dialogue of the YK character.

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Tedious and unnecessary

In this novel, the author attempts to use a real life case about murdered suburban children from the suburbs of Detroit to tell a story about a wealthy housewife in a loveless marriage and classism. It doesn't work. The story itself is frustrating and dull, the book screams for an editor. Oates uses the same adjectives over and over to the point where you want to scream "BUY A THESAURUS ALREADY". There are a lot of pertinent issues regarding the issues of the actual case and why it remains unsolved, sadly those issues were barely touched. Ultimately, this book was a waste of time. If you are considering reading because you have some interest in the actual case, please select the non-fiction option by Marney Rich Keenan 'The Snow Killings'.

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What a stupid book!!

If you want to spend 1041 minutes drowning in the certainty that there is no hope for dampening the evil in western society, read this book. Don’t look for even a slight protagonist streak in the vacuous main character. You may only glimpse redemption in the saddest cramped corner.