Yes, Daddy

"A gut-churning, heart-wrenching, blockbuster of a first novel . . . Parks-Ramage is an extraordinary new talent and Yes, Daddy is truly something special."

—Kristen Arnett, author of Mostly Dead Things

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.

Available Resources

  • Format: Hardcover

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780358447719

  • ISBN-10: 0358447712

  • Duration: 9 hr 7 min

  • Pages: 288

  • Price: $25.00

  • Publication Date: 05/18/2021

  • Carton Quantity: 12

Jonathan Parks-Ramage
Author

Jonathan Parks-Ramage

JONATHAN PARKS-RAMAGE's writing has been widely published in such outlets as Vice, Slate, Out, W, Atlas Obscura, Broadly, and Elle. He is an alumnus of the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. Parks-Ramage lives in Los Angeles with his partner, Ryan O'Connell.Yes, Daddy is his debut novel.
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  • reviews
    One of Entertainment Weekly's "20 Best New Books to Read in May" 

    One of Bustle's "Debut Books to Look Forward to This Spring and Summer" 

    One of Electric Literature's "27 Debuts to Look Forward to in the First Half of 2021" 

    One of NewNowNext's "17 Exciting Queer Books to Savor This Summer" 

    One of the Advocate's "5 Most Exciting LGBTQ+ Debut Books to Read This Summer" 

    One of Men's Health's "25 Best LGBTQ+ Books to Read This Pride Month" 

    Included on Lambda Literary's "May's Most Anticipated LGBTQ Literature" 

    Included on Goodreads' "9 Books that Goodreads Editors Highly Recommend" 

    Included on Entertainment Weekly's "Pride 2021 Must List" 

    Included on Goodreads' "2021 Pride Reading List" 

     

    "Yes, Daddy is the kind of story that sticks with you and refuses to leave. Jonathan Parks-Ramage has written a gut-churning, heart-wrenching, blockbuster of a first novel. Deeply queer and deeply human, it is a book that describes what it means to be broken apart in trauma and grief and what it takes to be painfully, carefully stitched back together again. Parks-Ramage is an extraordinary new talent and Yes, Daddy is truly something special." 

    —Kristen Arnett, author of Mostly Dead Things 

     

    “A dark and aching account, where the treachery of powerful men preys on the bodies and minds of the young. The excesses of a Hamptons summer cannot cover up the truth of how greed and need birth abuses so visceral as to touch the surreal. Parks-Ramage takes a reader into the fiery, unblinking sights of a tortured beast.” 

    —Samantha Hunt, author of The Dark Dark 

     

    "Jonathan Parks-Ramage has written an incredibly tender, yet fearless, novel that reminds us of what it means to err, to be forgiven, to forgive, and to live. Yes, Daddy is a gem of a debut." 

    —De'Shawn Charles Winslow, author of In West Mills 

     

    "Yes, Daddy is a deeply humane, complex account of public and private trauma in the age of fake news. Ultimately, this is a story of redemption in an era when grace seems impossible. Deeply familiar yet always surprising and—most important—well-written, this is a superb debut." 

    —Garrard Conley, author of Boy Erased 

     

    “Dark, twisted, and tightly plotted, Yes, Daddy is a to-the-minute thriller about sex, violence, and power. Sure to disturb and enthrall, Jonathan Parks-Rampage's shocker of a debut was made for the screen and for our cultural moment.” 

    —Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, author of The Fact of a Body 

     

    “Jonathan Parks-Ramage’s dazzling novel Yes, Daddy deftly uses desire and violence to explode the allure of New York power gays. Yet Parks-Ramage has more on his mind than a rarefied milieu; as Yes, Daddy reaches its virtuosic conclusion, it’s his bruised narrator’s journey to redemption that elevates the book to a kind of ecstasy. A piercing new addition to the contemporary queer canon.”

     

    —Sam Lansky, author of Broken People 

     

    "Jonathan Parks-Ramage’s debut novel is a queer gothic thriller you can’t afford to miss. It centers on Jonah, who spends his days waiting tables and dreaming of making it in the theater world. His love affair with Richard, an award-winning playwright, may lead Jonah to the success he craves — but a summer spent in his lover’s eerie Hamptons mansion could change everything." 

    Bustle, "Debut Books to Look Forward to This Spring and Summer"  

     

    "If you’re in the mood for a dark, gothic (and scary!) romance, look for Yes, Daddy by Jonathan Parks-Ramage. It’s a novel about a man who schemes to meet what he thinks is Mr. Wealthy and Right but he learns when he’s finally invited to Mr. Right’s mansion that something is very, very wrong. You can take a book like this on vacation but don’t take it to bed with you." 

    Washington Blade, "Spring Reads" 

     

    "A riveting queer novel, Yes, Daddy takes a critical look at the way power imbalances play out in relationships." 

    Electric Literature, "27 Debuts to Look Forward to in the First Half of 2021" 

     

    "Empathetic . . . A story that offers all extremes, from verisimilitude to despair and from a lust for revenge to a longing for home. Fear settles over the reader as they wait for the next blow, making Jonah's story akin to that of the victim in Roxane Gay’s An Untamed State." 

    Booklist, STARRED review 

     

    "[An] emotionally complex debut . . . both erotic and chilling." 

    Kirkus Reviews 

     

    "A heart-racing and heartbreaking thriller." 

    —Goodreads, "9 Books that Goodreads Editors Highly Recommend" 

     

    "An unnerving examination of the relationship between Jonah, a young writer struggling in New York City, and Richard, an incredibly wealthy, much-lauded middle-aged playwright . . .  In Yes, Daddy, Parks-Ramage deftly hops among multiple genres to spin an unsettling tale of abuse, betrayal, and atonement." 

    Public Libraries Online 

     

    "Yes, Daddy serves to remind readers that sexual assault is not an issue that only straight people face . . . This is a knockout debut, one of the most exciting of the year. Will it make you uncomfortable? Yes, Daddy. Should you still absolutely read it? Yes, Daddy. " 

    The Advocate, "5 Most Exciting LGBTQ+ Debut Books to Read This Summer"

  • excerpts
    2011: Prologue

    You asked me to be a witness in the trial. 

         I owed you my life and so I said yes. 

         What does one wear to a rape testimony? Your lawyer and I debated this endlessly. Nothing too tight, nothing too baggy, nothing too ratty, nothing too expensive, something sexless yet attractive, a suit jacket perhaps, but nothing flashy, a light navy was best, black was too morbid, too dark. I wanted to seem serious but not angry, definitely not vengeful; maybe glasses were a good idea, but the frames had to be simple, nothing flamboyant, nothing too gay, nothing that might trigger juror prejudice. Something to wear while the world decided if I had been raped. 

         Something that said: Believe me. 

         I dreaded our rehearsals for the witness stand. Your lawyer’s endless questions. What did the basement look like? How many men? What did they do to you? I never slept, barely ate. Walked through the world a husk, disconnected from my body. Pain was the only thing that cut the numbness. I picked the skin around my fingernails with my teeth, tasting the blood on my tongue, repeating the process until all my digits were crusted in scabs. 

         Finally, the day of the trial arrived. 

         When I saw Richard in the courtroom, I snapped. He was a nightmare brought to life, sitting stone-faced with his team of defense attorneys. I recognized the fury in his eyes—I’d seen it before, of course—and I felt his rage burn a hole in my back as I walked up to take the stand. The courtroom shifted its attention toward me, expecting me to tell the story I’d told only three people—you, your lawyer, and my mother. Expecting me to explain my private hell in a public forum. 

         “When did you first meet Richard Shriver?” your lawyer asked when I was settled. 

         It was the simplest question of all, one we’d rehearsed and rehearsed during our months of prep. But staring at Richard, I suddenly forgot my lines. I clenched my fists and closed my eyes, praying that when I opened them, this would all be over, and the trial would dissipate like the edges of a bad acid trip. When my eyelids at last fluttered wide, I saw your lawyer’s stricken face. 

         “Perhaps you didn’t hear the question,” he said, straining to keep an even tone. “I asked, when did you first meet Richard Shriver?” 

         My mouth refused to move. 

         “Jonah, do you need a minute?” 

         Nothing. 

         “Jonah, when did you first meet Richard Shriver?” 

         “In 2009,” I finally managed, my voice dry and timid. Relief softened his expression. We had returned to our script. 

         “And what was the nature of your relationship?” 

         “I . . . I guess he was my boyfriend.” 

         “But that relationship changed over time, did it not?” 

         Again, silence. 

         “Jonah?” 

         Panic lifted me out of my body. My consciousness floated by the ceiling fan. I clenched my fists tighter, clenched them until the scabs cracked and seeped blood. “I . . . don’t know.” 

         Your lawyer frowned. Richard’s features shifted as well, assembling into a strange expression of pleasure. A familiar postcoital grin. 

         “But it did change, didn’t it?” 

         “Richard . . .” I trailed off. 

         “Yes, Jonah?” 

         “Richard loved me,” I blurted out, surprising everyone, including myself. Whispers rippled through the courtroom. Your lawyer returned to your side for a hushed consultation. 

         “No further questions, Your Honor,” he said finally. 

         This is how I survive, I thought. By withholding my story. 

         How could anyone attempt to discredit a testimony that didn’t exist? How could the press exploit the absence of a story? At worst, I would be cast as a malfunctioning witness, a minor character in the larger drama of the trial. A blip in Richard’s history. A Wikipedia footnote. 

         Richard was now smiling in my direction. It was the same smile he’d used when he told me he loved me, the smile that kept me by his side, the smile that had once promised me a world beyond my own. Richard’s attorney stood for cross-examination. His eyes shone with Christmas-morning joy. I was a gift ready to be torn open. 

         “You say you loved Richard?” 

         “Yes.” 

         “And he was your boyfriend?” 

         “Yes.” 

         “And did he abuse you?” 

         “No.” 

         Even better than withholding my story: creating a new one. And I could, if I did enough Olympian-level mental gymnastics, believe it to be true. Here, with all these people as witnesses, I could say that Richard did not abuse me. And if a whole room of people believed it was true, then maybe the media would believe it as well, and if the media believed, then maybe the whole world would believe. And if the whole world believed that I had not been raped, then maybe that would be enough. Maybe that would make it true. 

         “Did he rape you?” 

         “No,” I said, avoiding your gaze. 

         “Did he abuse anyone else during the course of your relationship?” 

         “No,” I said, watching my answer register on the faces in the crowd. 

         “So you never witnessed Richard Shriver or anyone else rape, sexually assault, or abuse anyone.” 

         “No,” I said. Adrenaline stung my spine. 

         “Why, then, would your friend here accuse Richard of these horrific crimes?” 

         “For the money.” 

         “How can you be sure?” 

         “Because he told me himself.” 

         “No further questions, Your Honor.” 

         That was it. I was left alone on the stand. Free to go. With my new truth. My new identity. No longer a victim. No longer a tragedy. I was Jonah, reborn. 

         Then I snuck a glance in your direction, saw you sobbing in your lawyer’s arms. Suddenly, the entire lie collapsed as quickly as I had built it. I knew that what I’d done was ...

Available Resources

  • Format: Hardcover

  • ISBN-13/EAN: 9780358447719

  • ISBN-10: 0358447712

  • Duration: 9 hr 7 min

  • Pages: 288

  • Price: $25.00

  • Publication Date: 05/18/2021

  • Carton Quantity: 12

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