Sheri's Reviews > A Visit from the Goon Squad

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
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Dec 22, 11

bookshelves: addiction, poverty-class-issues
Read from December 19 to 22, 2011

I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, it is quite a bit better than most contemporary novels. It reminds me simultaneously of the movie Magnolia (essentially a collection of short stories about people who are interconnected in various ways...think seven degrees of separation) and Infinite Jest (tries to be post-modern and historical and takes a view of the future of the internet and the role of addiction, bad habits, and "social networking" in real life).

HOWEVER, there were chapters (especially the one on Dolly aka "La Doll") that reminded me of a bad romance novel. At times the writing was overwrought and poorly done. Certainly there were moments when I was trying to figure out the exact place in time and the relationship of this chapter's characters to previous chapters. I almost wanted to see a flow chart like Ally's (Sasha's future daughter) to represent all the relationships between the different characters. Especially because certain characters' pairs seemed to be almost the same person re-incarnated at different points. For example Sasha and Lulu and Kitty Jackson all had the same psycho-beautiful-power woman role; Lou and Bennie were almost the same person; I wasn't sure if this was a blatant commentary on the interchange-ability of human roles and persona (we are who we pretend to be and we all pretend to be one of a limited number of possible options), in which case kudos to the author. OR if this was just accidental and occurred because Egan could only create similar caricatures for these roles. Overall, I think this would have been a great book if I was convinced that it was intentionally crafted; I gave it a middling rating simply because I might be reaching for meaning where it wasn't intended.
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