Saturday, May 18, 2013

Book Review: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

Random Snippets of Life Come Together

Music and Youth with Lessons for Life

This book in many ways reminded me of the movie Pulp Fiction. At first, I began reading these little chapters that each focused on a different person and couldn't find any connections. There wasn't a sequential order to the chapters or a linear direction that came together as a plot. But just like Pulp Fiction, it eventually comes together and tells a whole story.

There are some common themes in each of these little vignettes, coming from different times, people, and perspectives. The music scene is always present in some way, either in artistry, production or as a setting of a time period in this book. A common thread in all of the stories is about a music producer that makes it big in the punk rock world, first as a young teenager that is in a band (cliche I know), then as someone that learns the business and becomes a success in his own company. Of course, in a youth oriented business it doesn't last forever and things change for Benny as he becomes one of those "grown ups".

And so the underlying message beyond the music theme is all about youth. The dreams, hopes and aspirations and how those become compromised by sheer experience, fatigue, relationships and responsibilities that come by becoming one of those said "grown ups". Through this book, another cycle of youth becomes the new generation that will create a new world with new expectations and forms of rebellion.

I really enjoyed this book, each chapter brought a new insight with another piece in the puzzle that eventually formed a masterpiece, spanning at least a forty year mark (it's difficult to really pinpoint but I think it starts in the 1980's and goes through to about 2021). Eventually all of these little stories intersect and come together to make a pretty powerful statement and gave me pause to reflect.

I highly recommend this one.

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