A well-written, thought-provoking, intricate tale of four men and the change that results in each of their lives when one is saved from possible death after being pushed out of the path of a car on a snowy night. Relationships one thought long over are begun again, just as new ones form – all in the span of 24 hours. This was my second Ann Patchett book and I couldn’t put it down. Just how did Tennessee weave back into her sons’ lives — and what happens to her daughter Kenya in the afternath? Can a father really ever let go of his best intentions when they don’t necessarily match his sons’ passions? A great read for a long weekend!
This was my first foray into Ann Patchett territory, and it proved successful—while the story line leans a little toward the ridiculous (80-year-old pregnant women running around the Amazon? For the love of Jeebus, don’t make that magic potion here! I am done birthing babies!), the book achieved what the best ones, for me, do—I couldn’t put it down. What would Dr. Singh find in the Amazon? What is Dr. Swenson really working on? Whatever happened to Anders? I had to know the answers! I found the story fairly engrossing and several notches above typical “chick lit” writing, which can grow weary after a few chapters. I appreciated Marina’s physical and emotional journey, and that readers got a little bit … no … a big payoff in the end. A realistic payoff. Jodi Picoult would have ended it with Easter coming back to the States only to get hit by a car at the airport, and Marina would have found true love only to have that person get eaten by a snake, so I enjoyed the perhaps no-so-romantic but easier-to-believe emotional entanglements. Bravo!
State of Wonder
Finally. I’d had “Goon” on my “must read” list since late last year, and bought it for our summer vacation, only to pick up “Run” by Ann Patchett—and library books always come first since I don’t have that dreaded “dime a day” threat hanging over my head with something that I own.
“Goon” makes a for a great “in-between chores, work, soccer games, PTA meetings and other library books” kind of book because its setup is more like a series of character vignettes than a novel. That said, if you do take several months to read it, like I did, you may find yourself flipping back through earlier pages to re-acquaint yourself with characters that are thread throughout the book. Sasha, the red-headed klepto, Bennie, her one-time boss and record producer, Stephanie, Bennie’s ex, and her brother-the-rock-reporter Jules, Dolly, The General, Alex, Rob … too many to name but each so interesting.
If you like books that flow in chronological order and end with some sort of resolution, this isn’t the book for you. You will be annoyed. You probably won’t finish it.
If you like books that delve into character development by placing them in different physical locales and different predicaments (the African plains, a therapist’s office, the seedy side of Naples, in the basement of an all-girl band while snorting gold flakes) then you just may fall in love with this book. I am left with a certain sense of “Jigga wha?” — I want to know how Sasha’s story concludes—I want to know what happens to Bennie in his later years—but it also leaves me thinking about it, which ultimately, is any good author’s goal, right?
A Visit from the Goon Squad