Monday, May 7, 2012

Book Review: A Visit from the Goon Squad

A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

The back synopsis of A Visit from the Goon Squad  seems to promise a story that centers around two main characters. And in a way the book does that. But not with the two characters as narrators, with the exception of two chapters. Instead the book hops back and forth through time with each chapter being a separate story told by a different character.

At first the book seems like a collection of short stories instead of a novel. But after a few chapters, you realize that all of the characters and all of their stories are linked. For one you get a better, 360 degree look at the first two characters through the stories of the people whose paths crossed with theirs. 

If you pick up this book expecting a single plot or storyline, you aren't going to get it. What you get instead is a series of creatively told stories that share a similar theme: time and the effects it has on our lives.

Egan did a great job at not only creating all of these characters but also keeping their voices distinct so you truly felt the change from chapter to chapter. They are not always likable. (That's not always the point of a book. In fact sometimes I enjoy a book more when the characters aren't likable.) But the characters are very real. I sometimes got the impression that Egan didn't have to invent the characters as they are real people. It is a difficult thing to do yet she managed to pull it off.

I have a difficult time recommending this book. While I enjoyed it, it is not for everyone.

Next month: Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Disclosure: No one paid me in any way form or fashion for this review.

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