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Goat: A Memoir

3.10  ·  Rating details ·  1,496 ratings  ·  196 reviews
Reeling from a terrifying assault that has left him physically injured and psychologically shattered, nineteen-year-old Brad Land must also contend with unsympathetic local police, parents who can barely discuss “the incident” (as they call it), a brother riddled with guilt but unable to slow down enough for Brad to keep up, and the feeling that he’ll never be normal again ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published March 1st 2005 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 2004)
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Average rating 3.10  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,496 ratings  ·  196 reviews

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Peter Monn
Aug 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is unreal. Beautifully written and yer tragically told. A modern day version of The Outsiders but true. Check out my full video review on my Booktube channel at ...more
Jul 11, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
In college, Land joined a fraternity, and they hazed him. The hazing traumatized him, and he wants us to feel bad about that. He writes nice sentences, but there's nothing compelling about this story. ...more
Wynne Kontos RONA READS
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
I loved this because it served all parts of of my life as a writer, a social worker and a former Sorority member. That being said, it has to be known that I am not an unbiased reader.
Brad Land's memoir about personal tragedy and the following fraternity hazing he endured has likely done immense damage to an organization that is near and dear to my heart. And that's okay.

I first heard about this memoir after reading about the recent film adaptation that debuted at Sundance 2016 to rave reviews.
Men D.
Nov 09, 2010 rated it liked it
A friend's friend was president of his frat in college. He freaks out every time you say "frat." He is a long-necked geek who laughs like Professor Frink on the Simpsons. He says, "You can't abbreviate that way. Would you call your 'country' a . . . ?"

This book was the first thing that came up when I Googled "frat memoir," so I bought it for a penny on Amazon. Well worth the money. Land has a strong, unique voice that expresses dread well. And what dread - the subjects of the memoir are his abdu
Aug 11, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well. What a lot of bad things happened to this guy. This is Brad Land's story of surviving a brutal carjacking and how it affected his life and in particular his relationship with his brother. The desire to stay close to said brother led Land to pledge a fraternity that, I don't know, maybe is typical but Jesus I hope not. I hope this particular fraternity is totally unique. It is made up entirely of sociaopaths. Are people seriously doing this stuff? To get into a fraternity? And if so, why?
Mar 30, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: No one, really
As a Kappa Sigma, I was intrigued by this memoir that allegedly dealt with the hazing-intensive pledging period of a young man in the mid-90's in South Carolina. What I ended up reading was more like a pathetic attempt at ripping off Dave Eggers.

Not only was the entire book pretty much void of cohesion or punctuation, the plot struggled to stay linear and relevant, with so many names of brothers and pledges dropped that it quickly became difficult to distinguish between tormentor and victim. But
Jul 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Maybe my reviewing is skewed a bit high for this let-down of a novel - because I was in a fraternity and I know my writing ability is not worthy of published material. And I say let-down because it starts off as compelling. I hate to say this because it is based on a true story and I wish abduction was nonexistent. The psychological repercussions are endless for all victims and friends/family of victims. The recollection told is perfectly vivid and absent of descriptive detail to be relentlessly ...more
Sep 11, 2009 rated it it was ok
This was a really unpleasant book. I'm sorry that Land went through a brutal attack the way he did, but joining a sadistic fraternity and giving a ride to yet another stranger and spending the rest of the book smoking and moping was not a good way to deal with his trauma. There's no one really to like in this book, even the author is not very sympathetic or likable. And for the love of pete, how hard would it have been to give us poor readers quotation marks? I loathe books where the dialogue do ...more
Sep 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
I surprised myself by liking this book. The writing is mostly stream-of-consciousness, with no quotation marks for dialogue, and unclear edges of events. But instead of coming across as self-conscious, it felt more realistic, as though I was actually inside this guy's head. Sometimes life is more like a half-remembered dream than a clear sequence of events, and Land catches this eloquently.

I also liked the fact that Land is telling a story that is not often told - about a man who admits fear and
Jan 04, 2014 rated it did not like it
I wanted to like this book, but it's not very compelling at all. The story is interesting--a young man is a victim of a terrifying carjacking (which he hasn't quite healed from) and becomes a victim of the same kind of violence as a fraternity pledge shortly after. I feel bad for this guy, I really do, but I have to wonder exactly what he expected as a part of the pledging process. He talks about having to sit with his brothers for breakfast every morning as if he was being stretched on a tortur ...more
Dec 27, 2016 rated it liked it

This is a troublesome novel because it paints a vivid picture of the sort of quagmire that affects and constrains a great proportion of the young men in the United States. Large segments of American youth are reared up in environments that consider alcohol, tobacco, and drugs a normality, even though these substances can clearly deteriorate ones ability to grow spiritually and achieve educational goals. This book is about the particular adverse culture that can erupt in college frate
Siarra Marchant
May 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Goat: A Memoir by Brad Land, is a story told about two brothers and their journey heading off the collage together. It all starts at a party, Land gave two strangers a ride home from a college party, Land winds up in a ditch, brutally beaten and robbed. The next year, he transfers to Clemson, determined to follow his smart big brother in pledging to Kappa Sigma. They are desperate to get into this fraternity and hazing week arrives with crazy dangerous stunts. Some may be regretting joining.. I ...more
David Fulmer
It starts off with a compelling and unique voice, written in spartan prose with considerable style. Brad Land’s youth is scarred by an act of random violence but most of his memoir focuses on his experiences rushing a fraternity at Clemson, a succession of grim, violent, and humiliating trials which he undergoes in an attempt to fit in, afraid that if he fails he will amount to nothing and have nothing. The book deals thoughtfully with some interesting issues but the characters and incidents don ...more
Lisa Manke
Mar 25, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The synopsis of the story has to do with the protaganist being involved or part of a severe hazing that resulted in death and whatever happened to him. Not a spoiler since it's in the jacket cover of the book. The author, Brad Land and his younger brother, Brett, were both enrolled in the same university although Brett entered a year before Brad. Brad held out for a year because of anxieties and PTSD (I believe it's what it was) that he had experienced. The year before entering school, Brad suff ...more
Jan 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wow. This book is very depressing and disturbing, but although I've been on a crusade of late to be more selective with the books I keep after reading (since I have boxes full of unread books and overflowing bookshelves), the author's writing style is so amazing to me, this one will HAVE TO be a keeper.

The book is a memoir of the author as a teen, when, just before he goes away to college, he is the victim of a violent attack by two men who beat him brutally for no apparent reason. This book tak
May 28, 2018 rated it it was ok
Ugh I wanted to like this book. Some traumatic and intense things seem to have happened to this author and I wish he were a more skilled writer to tell us about them. There are lots of utterly mundane anecdotes that he tries to imbue with poignancy, I guess hoping that readers will try to fill in the blanks. It’s written in an affected detached tone which is probably meant to create a feeling of nihilism or something. I did conclude that fraternities are idiotic and that college age men seem to ...more
Feb 26, 2008 rated it did not like it
The style of this memoir was odd and engaging but the substance was far less compelling.

(Spoilers ahead)

While in college, a kid is carjacked and beaten. He later attends a different college with his brother and is hazed when he pledges a fraternity. He drops out before he's accepted. While I can intuit certain ties between these events, the author draws none himself which I found surprising. The book's unfocused. There's no special insight into frats or hazing. The events that unfold aren't surp
Nov 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: autobiography
This was one of the first books I read when I started reading as a hobby. It is basically a story of a guy that gets assaulted and just can't seem to get over it. And how it affects his life. Not really a bad book but not very great either. I have personally known people that have suffered much worse than this guy and their life didn't turn into a pity party. If someone has been through similar experiences and are unable to let it go and live everyday of their life haunted by a single bad event. ...more
Jarrod Scarbrough
Mar 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2014
This is a tough memoir to get through. In part, I can see how the hipster writing style would be a roadblock for some. Mainly, the subject matter is full of triggers for those who have been victims of violence. Land was abducted, carjacked, beaten and abused. It took him a long time to be able to function after the attack, and he and his brother drifted apart. They end up going to the same school where the author decides to pledge his brother's fraternity. The process is one full of things that ...more
Mar 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoirs
The author writes about a traumatic event (kidnapping, robbery, and violent assault) that scars him emotionally and distances himself from his brother, and his attempt to gain a stronger relationship with his brother by joining his fraternity. This further traumatizes him due to the intense and violent hazing he experiences. I think its a very honest and insightful look at false masculinity. Even before the violent trauma, he talks about being too scared to have sex or smoke weed but lying to fi ...more
Mike McAdam
Mar 03, 2017 rated it did not like it
I have read and reviewed hundreds of books and this is my first one star review (I even gave Snooki's book 2 stars). I really wanted to like this and find some redeeming value but good grief is this book terrible! The writing style leaves a lot to be desired. Also, it is poorly written and poorly edited. I feel like there were necessary parts to the story that are missing and scenes in the book that are completely unnecessary and have nothing to do with the story. And, I hate to say this as this ...more
Donald Jans
Sep 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful honest, easy to read memoir, with some pretty scary scenes, and honesty about how life can turn into crap on a dime.
Erenik Dujaka
Nov 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Finished it for 3 hours, and it was a bold analysis of American college life, but the plot did not build up to have a great resolution at the end.
Jan 29, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There was a social experiment done many years back, where people were tasked with doing mind-numbing, menial chores for a lengthy period of time, for a cash reward of either one dollar or 20 dollars. After it over, each participant was asked to tell the next person to do the experiment that they enjoyed their experience. The results showed that those who only got a single dollar for their efforts were overwhelmingly more likely to recommend the experience than those who received the 20 dollars. ...more
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brad Land has written a vivid and specific narrative that weaves his traumatic experience with the trigger of his fraternity hazing. Brad Land is very skilled at describing his internal experience and as a reader, I felt honored to be invited in. Brad has a brother who he is very close with. This relationship and it’s tensions, communication patterns and unspoken understandings was a fascinating part of the book. One part of the book that I wish could have been more developed was the choice Brad ...more
Sep 14, 2018 rated it liked it
There are times I regretted not trying to join a fraternity, though I was basically a commuter student who did little more than attend classes and then work to pay for the classes. After reading this book, I don't regret it as much. Oddly enough, I just finished a novel that felt like a nonfiction piece, and in this case of memoir it felt more like fiction. I bet this book isn't in the Clemson library. Certainly it makes you wonder about the cruelties that are manifested in young kids with a lit ...more
Aug 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Goat was an interesting read. Most people in the UK will have a view of fraternity parties that has mostly been formed by American High School movies whether they be comedies or horrors, they usually appear as a feature at some point and will mostly feature the 'jocks' drinking excessively and lewd behaviour. Goat is a memoir about 2 brothers who join one such fraternity. The older brother is already a fully pledged member and stands by while the younger experiences endless trials to join this f ...more
Marco Lo
May 13, 2021 rated it liked it
I think the goat by Brad land was a very good book it was very interesting and heartbreaking story . i feel really bad to what happen to brad is a very good book. but it took to much time to get to the climatic scenes other thing i did not like was that was no pictures in the book it i felt like if i saw what was happening i might have been more in depth with the book. also I wanted to like this book more but I that it was a little bit to Gorey for a person to enjoy a book like this . i also thi ...more
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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