Summary (from Goodreads):
Bennie is an aging former punk rocker and record executive. Sasha is the passionate, troubled young woman he employs. Here Jennifer Egan brilliantly reveals their pasts, along with the inner lives of a host of other characters whose paths intersect with theirs. With music pulsing on every page, A Visit from the Goon Squad is a startling, exhilarating novel of self-destruction and redemption.
This book is amazingly popular and well-known. Of course, I had never heard of it before until I had to read it for school.
Despite the awards its won, I have to say that I was not impressed. It was a hard book to grasp. The parts I did understand were pretty good and it was uniquely written to say the least.
However, that’s where it went wrong–the writing style.
Out of 13 chapters, three are written in first person, one is written in second person, and the rest are written in third person limited. It doesn’t follow just two characters, though. Each chapter is a different character making it all the more confusing.
Plus, one chapter is written with a lot of dialogue, but no quotation marks. It was by far the most difficult chapter to read. That chapter was in first person and the name of the character wasn’t mentioned for a very long time so I had no idea who I was even reading as.
One chapter is over 70 pages long because each page is set up like a Power Point slide. You have to turn the book the long way to read it and each page has explanations or charts or webs. It was as though I was reading a school project, but it was still the story.
Another chapter was written as a newspaper article; footnotes included. The footnotes took up half the page making them their own mini chapter within the main chapter.
Sound confusing? Trust me, it was.
The worst part was the first chapter was absolutely amazing! It was written in third person limited and we followed a character at her therapy session because she’s a kleptomaniac. It was well written and intriguing. That chapter made me feel as though I would really enjoy the book. However, we never got to really read her story again because the rest of the chapters followed other characters. I call it the decoy chapter.
So, considering this “review” turned more into a rant, I guess you all know what rating this book is going to get from me.
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan gets 2 out of 5 stars.
“I’m always happy. Sometimes I just forget.” –Jennifer Egan, A Visit from the Goon Squad
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