Mark L.'s Reviews > Garden State

Garden State by Rick Moody
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's review
Oct 04, 2011

it was ok
Read in October, 2011

The book that I had chosen to read as a part of an assignment for my creative writing class is Garden State, and this piece of fiction was written by Rick Moody. I am sorry to say that I was not a fan of Mr.Moody's novel despite my best efforts to find it redeeming. The main issue of the story was one that is fundamental to any story and this is, the characters. The main issue that I had with the characters in Garden State is that they always seem to have the same dismal outlook on life. Despite the assertion on the back cover that the book is about young people trying to essentially survive in troubled times; the book itself seems to paint a very contrary being filled with detailed descriptions of sexual encounters, broken families, and a lot of alcohol and drugs. The main redeeming quality of the work is the music, and this itself seems to be dimmed, by references to the aforementioned taint. The message that the book appears to be attempting to convey, is that bad things happen and that no matter what you try to do, life must be dismal. This leads to characters that I found to be equally flat, and unappealing to read about. There is also a distinct lack of reasoning and warning when switching between characters. There are times when the reader is shown that they are changing scenes, but often the warning is only an extra line between the paragraphs. I found this to take away from the impact that the multiple viewpoints likely should have had for me. In short, I had issues with the characters, although they do eventually form their band and start playing music, their attitudes and more-so that of the book as a whole, are very much negative and depressing.

One moment that I do find opposing to this general trend is the time when Alice discovers her mother's car crash over the phone.(Moody, 42) I thought that the way she was shaken of her numbness from being hungover by the news was heartwarming in its own way. She was suddenly thrown out of the trudge of her own debased activities for the love of her mother. There is also the moment when she is contemplating her mother in a coma I the hospital bed, and she considers changing her ways and finding work and getting up early, in short, getting her life together.( Moody, 57) Those moments and those like them, were the only pleasant parts I found in this book. I am sorry to say, but I do not recommend this book.

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