Caitlin's Reviews > A Visit from the Goon Squad

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
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's review
Aug 13, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: library
Read from August 13 to 23, 2011

** spoiler alert ** I don't know if it was just me or not, but A Visit From the Goon Squad was a little bit depressing. Each chapter is told from the view point of a different character (some get more than one at different parts) that is in some way, shape or form connected to at least one other character in the chapter previous to it. But the way that each chapter is written varies, and the book almost seems like it would more merit the category of short story collection as opposed to singular novel.

That aside, why did I find this novel more than a tad bit depressing? The way that the chapters and the stories within the chapters jump about, the reader does know by the end that some things do work out (I will refrain from going into detail about it, as someone might read it). It just doesn't seem like enough goes well. The earliest stories told are about a group of wannabe rock star punk teenagers. They seem so filled with hope, even though things kind of seem to suck for most of the group. But still, the future seems like it is something to look forward to, something to hope for. Yet the past gets left behind and the same characters are seen in the future they once hoped for, yet it's not what they expected and the now adults look back on the lives of their teen selves or past selves with a yearning for "simpler times", glorifying a time that they weren't huge fans of while they were there. This book is almost like a coming of age story about all these people, a story of how people change based on time and place and who is viewing that person and what has happened.

So, a warning to you: there are no truly happy parts of this book. There are a few moments of contentment, but the majority of the book is... sad. Simply sad, the seeming disappointment of a generation recorded into a mere 274 pages. Maybe I'm just being morose. Maybe I'm missing the true meaning of this book, though it does make me want to pay more attention to the here and now and take joy in some of life's simpler pleasures and to try and stop idealizing every situation but my own. But really, this is not a book I would really recommend to anyone who is prone to fits of sadness or depression, as this book with most definitely not create any warm fuzzy feelings.

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Reading Progress

08/18/2011 page 45
16.0% "Honestly, I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about this book. It starts with a snippet of Sasha and how she is trying to deal with kleptomania. Then it goes to her previous boss, Bennie. Although in his snippet, Sasha still works for him. Then to years previous and Bennie's friend Rhea, who is a wanna be punk rocker with freckles trying to deal with her bff dating an older man, doing drugs and having sex. idk"
08/22/2011 page 85
31.0% "The farther I get into Good Squad, the more it seems like this book is a collection of connected short stories. The way that each chapter is written, with each character having a view point written in a different style, almost gives the feeling that this book has multiple authors. It is interesting and a little bit strange. I guess life is like that though, isn't it?"

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