A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

I am going to be moderating some new book discussion groups at the Park Ridge Public Library soon. We are going to be alternating monthly mystery and romance book discussion groups and to get the feel for how to do it, I attended one of the library’s book club discussions. The book was “A Visit from the Goon Squad” by Jennifer Egan.

Unfortunately, while it is an award-winner, it was not a book that I really appreciated, as was true of about half of the attendees at the book discussion. But sometimes it makes for a much better book discussion to have a book you somewhat dislike or that gets mixed reviews over one that everyone likes but doesn’t have much to say about.

The plot of the book itself is rather hard to describe. It follows a variety of characters in the music industry. The timeline of the story shifts back and forth, as does the narrative voice, and it often takes a while to figure out which character is the focus of a chapter. For the most part I didn’t care much for any of the characters and would not have taken the time to finish the book if it hadn’t been that I was attending the book discussion. I had also wanted to get to the chapter which was done in PowerPoint slides (warning for Kindle users – very difficult to read the slides!); a chapter that I actually appreciated whereas others in the group hadn’t. This chapter was not the only unique one, there was also another done in texting.

What’s my final take on the book? Interesting in the way it is done, yet with characters I couldn’t really connect with. Would I recommend it to others? Only if they are looking for something unusual. I guess I have to say read this one for yourself and see what you think.

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