Review: Yes, Daddy by Jonathan Parks-Ramage

★★★★

Mariner Books | 2021

Filed Under: Break glass in case of an emergency that requires gothic pulpy graphic writing


I said I wanted more gay thrillers and my book friends said fucking read Yes, Daddy, you bitch and now here we are.

So, I’ll say it to you too – read this book, you bitch.

It’s fucked up in the most perfect and twisted ways, to the point that it’s very powerful not just wild. I promise you will not be able to put it down and you’ll be all like, “wtf is happening I’m so uncomfortable but I love it.”

This was like a gay Jeffrey Epstein meets Harvey Weinstein meets #MeToo meets the Republican party meets that church Justin Beiber goes to meets that scene in 8MM where Nicholas Cage goes to an underground porn market for all the really demented shit and the guy is dressed in leather, pinching his own nipples.

You get the vibe.

The novel follows Jonah, a waiter and aspiring writer in NYC who is struggling to pay rent, asking for too many loans from his mother and just generally getting nowhere with his writing career. Then he meets Richard, a very successful, very rich and much older playwright who Jonah sees as a potential stepping stone along the pathway of chasing his dreams.

Jonah hatches a very organized and researched plan to worm his way into Richard’s bed and life, hoping to find new connections and opportunities that will kickstart his writing career.

Richard quickly becomes Jonah’s sugar daddy and they embark on a whirlwind romance. Hampton beach houses, new clothes – Jonah is living in the lap of Richard’s luxury.

But with everything in life, when something is too good to be true, it often is.

Not to mention, it’s very strange that all of Richard’s service employees around his estate are hot, nearly naked men who seem to be, essentially, living like slaves and are sometimes covered in bruises or, in some cases, go missing.

Jonah is curious and trepidatious, as you would be if you met someone who had a dozen hot servants who couldn’t come and go from a property as they please. That’s a red fucking flag. But for Jonah, all the new clothes and fancy parties are like wearing a pair of rose-coloured glasses, so all the flags just look like regular flags and he easily ignores them for the sake of his own comfort.

And that’s when things get really twisted.

This novel gives you everything – fancy parties, snobby rich people, relationships of convenience, shopping sprees, expensive dinners, industry insiders making promises in exchange for a blowjob, flirting, sexually unwanted advances, sexually wanted advances, stalking, shitty parents, religious fundamentalism, internet backlash, backlash to the backlash, sex, drugs, drinking, men who think they’re above the law, stealthy escape attempts, a bunker, a secret sex room, leather outfits, whips, chains, ropes, erections, courtroom testimony, lying under oath, ruined witness credibility, rape, abuse, starting fires, full-on murder, child abuse, groping, kidnapping, missing butlers, gay conversion therapy, torture, blackouts, the horrors of being in food service, sprawling estates, wandering through fields and revenge.

Be warned, however, that this novel is straight-up fucking a minefield for content warnings. I can’t even begin to explain how graphic this novel can be. Once the plot starts moving, there really is no escaping all the bad and horrific shit.

This is a frustrating and shocking read that explores powerful themes and I really, really liked it. The first half of the novel is better than the second half, which gets a little messy. But otherwise, it’s super readable and intense.

Follow your dreams, kids! Just don’t follow them into indentured servitude.

🔪🔪🔪


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 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.

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