A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan 6/8

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

This was one of the most talked about books on The TV Book Club list and I can vouch for it being one of the most refreshing summer reads. Don't get me wrong, this book isn't for everyone, but I munched through it so quickly that by the time I had stopped to think if it was for me I was finishing the last page and wishing the book was longer. This is the ultimate coming-of-age and going-past-age story. Filled with angst, love, depression, murder, suicide and of course punk-rock music, this novel encapsulates a time in the not so distant American past when the American Dream was just about tangible. Of course it does have quite a few characters that are so smarmy you really love to hate them and there are a couple that you wish would just get a grip, but over all they are such a ridiculous bunch of goofy people that you can't help but empathise with them.

My favourite chapter is told through a series of Power-point slides. Jennifer Egan is now in my top favourite list of authors for this chapter alone. Using a series of diagrams she adds a new, younger and arguably wiser voice to the book and it is fascinating how much insight you can gain into a character's family through a series of diagrams. I won't spoil it for you because it really is a fantastically original book, but I will say that I think I have spotted the odd goon at a few gigs I've been too and boy do they look like an interesting group of rockers... A 8/10 for the dark humour and subtle poignancy that deals so well with self-adjustment and growing pains.

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