Last night my book club met to discuss our latest and greatest, A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. And unlike our last meeting, the opinions on this one were mixed. Overall I think even if you don’t love it you will find it interesting. That’s the phrase that kept popping up, it was “interesting”.
We were pretty split on whether we felt it was a true Pulitzer Prize winner, I myself don’t get it. Which is precisely why I don’t pick books based on awards. Rather like some of the movies that get picked for Emmy’s – and I’m thinking wait did you all see the same movie I did because the movie I saw didn’t deserve my $10 much less an industry award (Black Swan).
Anyway, I was a bit conflicted on my feelings on this book as well. Each chapter is a different character, one member created a flow chart to keep up with all the different characters. We were all envious of her chart. I really liked it at first, but about 50 pages from the end I felt my engine stalling. It was just too disconnected for me, some characters were never to be seen again and others popped up so much later in the book that I couldn’t remember who they were or what their back story was or what their future story was since this is the back story.
Occasionally the author would throw in a future glimpse of a character’s life which I really liked, as in “she would later go on to join a cult where they only ate raw eggs“. But she didn’t do this throughout the book, only a few times in the beginning, it was like she forgot she was doing this and left the idea behind.
Overall it was a short read, and an easy read but a bit hard to follow. I’m glad we picked it for book club as it was a fun one to discuss since no one could say they 100% followed each characters story with success. Had you been a fly on the wall you would have heard a lot of “are you sure that was Rob?” “No that wasn’t Drew that was Benny” “That wasn’t Lou’s daughter that was Lulu, I swear” “Wait, I thought her dad died…no he was the movie star, La Doll just told LuLu he was dead”.
Next month we’re reading, The Book Thief which has been on my shelf for over two years. Really looking forward to that one.