My Sister, My Love

My Sister, My Love

by Joyce Carol Oates
4.0 15

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My Sister, My Love by Joyce Carol Oates

New York Times bestselling author of The Falls, Blonde, and We Were the Mulvaneys, Joyce Carol Oates returns with a dark, wry, satirical tale—inspired by an unsolved American true-crime mystery.

"Dysfunctional families are all alike. Ditto 'survivors.'"

So begins the unexpurgated first-person narrative of nineteen-year-old Skyler Rampike, the only surviving child of an "infamous" American family. A decade ago the Rampikes were destroyed by the murder of Skyler's six-year-old ice-skating champion sister, Bliss, and the media scrutiny that followed. Part investigation into the unsolved murder; part elegy for the lost Bliss and for Skyler's own lost childhood; and part corrosively funny exposé of the pretensions of upper-middle-class American suburbia, this captivating novel explores with unexpected sympathy and subtlety the intimate lives of those who dwell in Tabloid Hell.

Likely to be Joyce Carol Oates's most controversial novel to date, as well as her most boldly satirical, this unconventional work of fiction is sure to be recognized as a classic exploration of the tragic interface between private life and the perilous life of "celebrity." In My Sister, My Love: The Intimate Story of Skyler Rampike, the incomparable Oates once again mines the depths of the sinister yet comic malaise at the heart of our contemporary culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061806667
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/13/2009
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 592
Sales rank: 290,074
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and has been several times nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award, and the New York Times bestseller The Falls, which won the 2005 Prix Femina. Her most recent novel is A Book of American Martyrs. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.


Princeton, New Jersey

Date of Birth:

June 16, 1938

Place of Birth:

Lockport, New York


B.A., Syracuse University, 1960; M.A., University of Wisconsin, 1961

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My Sister, My Love 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As an avid reader and a huge Joyce Carol Oates fan, I was really looking forward to this book. It had an interesting premise--although disturbing because this is one more thing the real life Skylar-Burke Ramsey has to live with. The book ws choppy, although I imagine it was meant to be. It was very strangely satirical and at some points I almost put it down, something I never do. I'm glad I read it, but I am very relieved that I am finished and would not recommend it to others,
Judy_Croome More than 1 year ago
JUST TO ASSURE THE READER: YOUR EXPERIENCE OF THE BOOK WILL BE DIFFERENT TO MINE (1). Never will you know how many “anonymous reader-reviewers” (including your cybercesspoolspace so-called friends) will press the “NO-this-is-not-helpful” button on your review and if asked why, why say NO, why hurt another person, the answer is Because you and I are both anonymous to each other, that’s why. (1)And, in case you’re wondering at the postmodernist/strange/odd shape this review will take, the canny reader (of which, yes, there are some) will know why. The rest of you, like poor befuddled me: read on! All will be revealed. This long (very long/enormously long/mind-numbingly long)(2)book of nearly 600 pages is, despite the very prominent legal disclaimer that says “it is a work of the imagination solely” (2a) Oates’ re-invention of the well-publicised Colorado murder of child model JonBenét Ramsey. (2) Perhaps I’m being too harsh here. What do you think, reader? Has five long days reading this book soured my perception? I did, after all, find the first 200 pages a fascinating work of genius. Perhaps I suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or I Like My Books Shorter Disorder (ILMBSD) or even (horrible thought) Can’t Concentrate For Too Long Disorder (CFFTLD) which negatively impacted my enjoyment? (2a) Hard to believe that the real “infamous” All-American family on which this rambling/frenetic/dare-I-say-it boring novel is based didn’t sue the author. The parallels between the JonBenét Ramsey case and Skyler Rampike’s narrative of the murder of his 6 year-old ice skating champion Bliss (previously known as Edna Louise) are remarkably similar (Remember this character, readers, she is important). Told “mainly” or “mostly” from the viewpoint of almost 20-year-old dropout/nutty/creepy Skyler Rampike looking back on his childhood leading up the life–defining moment when his young celebrity sister (Do you remember her?) is murdered. Leaping back and forth between his present and past (before-murder past and after-murder past), it’s difficult to find a single appealing character. ...(see full review on Goodreads) ¿ Now it is time, dear loyal reader, to reveal why I have written my review in this weird/strange/odd way. I have imitated/copied/satirised the style that MY SISTER, MY LOVE is written in. If you LOVED this review, you will (I promise) thoroughly enjoy MY SISTER, MY LOVE (and will probably give it 5 stars.) If you AB-so-LUTELY hated the way I ‘ve written this review: run! Run away from this book! It may be the death of you. It was almost the death of me but I’m a tough (and simple) boere meisie from South Africa and I survived to write this review. I hope it helps you make your decision whether to buy this book or not!
bookwormcf More than 1 year ago
Joyce Carol Oates never fails to tell a wonderful story. I have never been disappointed in any of her books. She is a national treasure.
bookaddictKG More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of Joyce Carol Oates ever since her book THEM many years ago. I have read most of her books. This book is one of her best. It is such a heartbreaking story of children who are born to completely narcissistic parents who use their children for their own selfish purposes. There is humor here which relieves the tension somewhat or it would be a depressing book to read. The footnotes and somewhat disjointed style of prose would be annoying in a less talented author's hands, but Oates is a master at setting a mood with her masterful choice of words and unusual style. The story is obviously modeled on the Jon Benet Ramsey case and Oates does not apologize or try to obscure the fact even naming the family Rampike. Also, there is a allusion to the O. J. Simpson case in Skyler's girlfriend's situation. Obviously, Oates is making a statement about the special treatment celebrity crime receives. I was fascinated, as always, by the craftmanship of Oates storytelling which makes it such a delight to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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rosesCL More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book, it was a little hard to get into but then the story began to unfold in earnest and I enjoyed it very much, though it was sad to see Skyler & "Bliss" go through their ordeals.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Whittman More than 1 year ago
The announcer at an ice skating competition for little girls in this book is describing the dress? Though the commentary at the Olympics may sometimes mention the dress it is NEVER mentioned at a regular competition. Unlike toddler and child beauty pageants skaters train year round in a SPORT. You don't see Oates going after pee wee baseball . . . and why not? The book is awful and clearly shows that she judged a sport AND wrote it in as a plot without doing ANY research. I think that Betsey and Oates have more in common than figure skating and pageants do. Its the fictional ramblings of a grasping and opportunistic author. Don't bother wasting your time or your money on this one. She could have at least tried to be a writer but she embraced being a hack 100% No research, no originality, and she is again 100% off the mark. What's really sad is this trash only got published because she's made a name for herself. Yet another way to drag that poor Ramsey girl's name and memory through the mud. I hope she's pleased with herself capitalizing off the murder of a five year old along with the rest of the vultures.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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harstan More than 1 year ago
In New Jersey, Rampike family patriarch Bix is a woman chasing abusive intimidating father his compliant wife Betsey focuses on one thing pushing their daughter Bliss, into becoming an internationally famous winning figure skater. Their other child nine years old son Skyler is irrelevant to either parent except if they need someone to bully. The Rampike family lifestyle abruptly dies when the star Bliss is murdered violently in the furnace room by someone who stabbed her multiple times.----------- A decade later the late Bliss¿ brother remains filled with guilt over her unsolved death while also shouldering the belief of almost everyone familiar with the case that he out of a jealous rage caused by her getting all the attention killed his sibling. Sky has no one as neither parent offers him comfort until now nineteen and having been haunted alone for ten years he receives the letter from his dying mother that tells him what happened on that fatal day when the façade of what he thought was the perfect family collapsed under the weight of the homicide.----------- An obvious tie to the Jon Benet tragedy, this is a deep satire that bludgeons the American dream in which appearances with no substance counts above all else image is everything hiding dysfunctional relationships. The story line is clever especially with ¿footnotes¿ to add to the feel that Sky is ¿reading¿ the true family biography written by his mommy. The story line is padded somewhat by a novella ¿First Love, Farewell¿ written by Skylar that enables the audience to better understand how as a teen he views relationships, but also distracts from the prime theme of what happened on that day. Still fans will appreciate Joyce Carol Oates keen look at the real American dream of obsession, excessiveness, and materialism.------------ Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Walks in
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Waits on the bed naked
bookedupLA More than 1 year ago
Great read, Ms. Oates does it again. Even better than BLONDE. Keeps you page-turning long after the lights should be out. If you like this one, must read Black Water. Excellent.