A Visit From the Good Squad by Jennifer Egan

Dude, this book sucks.

I know, harsh way to start off a review. But this is why I relish being a book blogger that doesn’t receive books from publishers to review – I don’t feel the need to be nice about a book that I want to complain about all day long.

Soooo… This is basically a book of loosely-connected short stories about a bunch of people who grew up in the age of punk and rock music, so I guess back in the 70’s to 80’s. The general theme of the book is supposed to be “How did I get from where was I was to where I am now?”, which could be an interesting theme in any other book. Unfortunately, the answer for almost all of the characters featured in this book is “Because I’m a self-centered dumbass who did hard drugs and acted like a little asshole for the entirety of my young adulthood.”

The very first chapter was the most interesting – it focuses on Sasha, who’s in therapy to deal with her kleptomania (that’s a compulsive urge to steal stuff). I’ve never really ever seen kleptomania mentioned in a novel before, so I was definitely hooked and wanted to know more – but this is the only chapter that really focuses on Sasha, and she isn’t even a great character – she’s one of those emo young kids who is depressed and unhappyΒ for no real reason. But still, it was a promising start. And then it IMMEDIATELY took a nose-dive in chapter two, where were meet Bennie – an aging man in the music industry in drinks actual flakes of gold in his coffee and for some reason can’t stop reliving every embarassing moment that’s ever happened to him. From there we meet a ton of other random characters who are all screwed up in similar ways and it got really old, really fast.

I read some reviews online that claimed this was such a heart-breakingly beautiful book about growing up and coming-of-age – no it’s not. Books like that are relatable to a wide audience. There is nothing relatable to the general public about watching your best friend blow some guy while he has his arm around you at a concert. That’s something only drug addictsΒ and weirdos can relate to. How the hell did this get a Pulitzer prize?

Oh, and the big “Powerpoint chapter” was 50+ pages of boring slides, and to me definitely seemed like the author was just trying to be edgy. Which she tried to do throughout the whole book. But on the upside, those 50+ pages went really fast and hence I was able to finish this book quicker, thank goodness.

So yeah, I’m sorry to the people who voted for this book as November’s read, but this book is a huge ball of suck. And the fact that it’s so popular makes me think that maybe I’m just not intellectual or thinking deeply enough or something. Or maybe everyone else really likes to read about cocaine and whiny bums more than I do. It was like Holden Caufield in Catcher in the Rye, except like 20 Holdens and way more annoying.

And because I do feel bad about bashing this book so much because I know a lot of you liked it, here’s a far more positive review over at What Red Read. I’m trying to be all fair and balanced. (Barely succeeding there, I know.)

Sarah Says: 0 stars.




  1. Aww I’m sorry you didn’t like this one. (I do think your review is pretty funny) I wasn’t super into the PPT chapter and I think it did get more attention than it deserved cos I liked the other stories a lot better.

    You’re not the only one to hate this. I can’t remember where but I know someone else read it and wrote a review about how much they hated hated hated the book.


  2. Oh, this sounds BAD! I like a good coming of age story, but when the characters are basically the way they are because they are idiots, it’s not so appealing… I’m definitely skipping this one, thanks for the review!


  3. i have the exact same opinion. the opening 4pages were great… the rest was a bunch of ploys and it is more gen-x infantilism… only this kind, unlike jonathan franzen’s, is less self-aware. i’m going to write a bit about exactly why its a string of hack-ploys in a bit…



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