Archive for November 21st, 2011

A Visit from the Goon Squad

A Visit from the Goon Squad  by Jennifer Egan, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group  2011, 341 pages

Winner of MANY Awards including the Pulitzer.

My thoughts:  I first gave this three stars but must again proclaim the fickleness of time and place and situation and mood when one brings stars (or slices of pie) to evaluate and weight the worth of a novel.   Three stars – I liked it!   Four stars – I liked it a bit more!   A bit more than WHAT exactly?  than the latest book I gave 3 stars to?

But that last book I gave 3 stars to was Bad Girls Don’t Die and that was a totally different kind of book intended for a different audience.  So, if the audience happens to be ME, then, yes, Goon Squad must get more pie.

It’s creative, it’s clever, it’s smart. It entertains, it keeps you on your toes. It bounces around in time and through various decades, decades (well, not ALL decades yet) of which I have lived so thus relatable. It evokes mood and tone of dread and then lightness and suggests the questions of WHAT-IS-GOING-ON-HERE-EXACTLY? (Wait, who is this? oh! Bennie was in the last chapter. Oops. Oh yea.)

I got lost more than I care to admit. A reader can’t sleep through this one and hope to keep the pace and attention.  I liked it more and more as it went on but was worried at first that I didn’t know enough of the music references to ‘get it’. I brought much more expectations of being blown away to this than I should have.  I wasn’t blown away but I keep thinking about it.

I would even say this is a short story collection on par with Olive Kitteridge (another Pulitzer Winner; I gave 5 stars) and The Imperfectionists (I recommend this highly but? I assigned 4 stars, hmmm. I think I liked it better than Goon).  THAT was a surprise; that it was much more a short story collection than a ‘story’. I don’t think I saw this mentioned in any reviews.

The last chapter/story was futuristic which was a pleasant surprise but I didn’t like the characters (sigh). I would even say I liked the Slide Show section the best.

And, I do believe it is a book that continues to build esteem as time clicks away. It has staying power. But it suffered (while I was reading) from my knowing it won so many prizes so it HAD to great. If I had stumbled upon this book blind — I LOVE the title! — I would have liked it very much.

I won’t try to convince you to read this one – I am supposing that you have made that decision already.  And if your decision is “YES- I want to read this”, you will likely find much to be impressed with. If you have already decided “Nope – not for me”, then you are not a fan of creative clever smart contemporary fiction and that’s OK.  If you are on the fence, then change it to a YES. Put it on the tbr and see what happens when you finally get to it. I suspect you won’t be disappointed. I honestly figure that most of you reading THIS post have already read Goon! yes? Well, my aim really isn’t to convince anyone of anything – just to record my own thoughts and have something to post. I seem to be on a Pulitzer kick all of a sudden… I’ll end with a photo from Brattleboro VT which is where I spent last weekend having a lovely time celebrating 23 whacky years with the Big D.  ♥

Rating:  

      

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Copyright © 2007-2011. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.

I prefer pi.

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