Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Jennifer Egan: A Visit From the Goon Squad

Amazon.com kept telling me I needed to read this book, so finally, I ordered it and waited a couple months before I was ready. I just finished a major project AND I caught a miserable cold, so what better time?

I loved this book. It had a lot going against it; you know irrational factors like how you feel when you have a cold and your sinuses are all stuffed up and your chest is tight? A Visit From the Goon Squad took me out of my misery. While it appears random, it is tightly plotted, and I loved seeing how different strands intertwined. I also loved the effects of the goon squad (no, I am not going to tell you anything specific) and I loved how technology drove differences in how different generations thought and acted.

The last act takes place in a future where (this makes total sense) there is a high value placed on “pure”, no tattoos, no swearing – it is truly hilarious, the lengths to which we will go to NOT be our parents. Babies have their own hand-helds, which is already happening. My eyes have been opened, watching our own 18 month old grandson working an iPad and iPhone. It’s amazing to me the aps that are created to entertain, divert and teach our little ones.

This is not a straight line book, so there are times I had to go back and read a section again to remind myself where I met this character before, and how he tied into the plot earlier. It is a fascinating creation, this book, and I would love to sit down for coffee with this author, and her outside-the-box kind of thinking.

September 10, 2011 Posted by | Aging, Books, Character, Cultural, Family Issues, Fiction, Friends & Friendship, Generational, Health Issues, Relationships | Leave a comment

Bad Grandparents: Disaster Averted

“No! No!” he shouted, and pushed away the spoon full of rice and beans which he normally loves. No. He wanted BaBa to walk him around the restaurant some more, showing him serapes and sombreros and gaudily crowing roosters.

‘More. More,’ he signed.

“It’s dinner time, time to eat,” GaGa said calmly, signing for ‘eat.’

“No! No! Done!” He may not have a large vocabulary, but Happy Baby knows how to communicate pretty clearly. BaBa goes to pick him up, but I say no, it’s dinner time. Very calmly. The shrieks begin, the arched back, the tears. Baba looks at me accusingly; what to do? I know we need to hold our ground, but it is so hard when the piercing shrieks start.

And then, a miracle. The waiter shows up with a small plate of whipped cream with chocolate sauce over it.

What self-respecting grandparent would allow a child to feast on whipped cream??

Desperate grandparents. Grandparents who can’t bear to hear him shriek. We let him eat the whipped cream, but he had to eat it on his own, with the spoon. He’s not very efficient with the spoon yet, so he couldn’t really get much. And, between tiny spoon tastes of whipped cream, BaBa and I have discovered he will eat beans and rice after all. He ate all the beans and rice, and only got a little of the whipped cream, but he was happy. And so were we.

On some deep level I feel like we have shirked our responsibilities, but oh, those shrieks . . .

When we are at home, we can ignore the shrieks. One time he was shrieking, and when we ignored him, he stopped, came closer and then flopped down and started shrieking again. We couldn’t help it, we just laughed. It was so hilarious. When he saw us laughing, he gave up and got involved with something else. He is so much fun. :-)

September 10, 2011 Posted by | Aging, Character, Community, Customer Service, Eating Out, Family Issues, Pensacola, Relationships | 4 Comments

   

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