03 February 2011
7. Goat: A Memoir
Savage and brutal. Humanity can be down right dehumanizing. A real life story that is disturbing and sad, yet sparks a desire to be nicer to other humans for no other reason than not causing the problems uncovered within the ramblings of this young author.
Brad Land tells the story of how he was attacked and beaten by two other teens at the age of nineteen. The repercussions of that incident carry throughout his life and the lives of those surrounding him.
The assailants are never named or even described much more than rudimentally. Throughout the book they are called "the breath" and "the smile". This line from the book describes how Brad Land feels ALL the time:
"They're gone but they aren't gone. I can see them everywhere. The smile and the breath are out walking. Always just at my back."
That would be horrible, and yet I am sure there are many people who feel that way for numerous reasons.
A year or two after the attack and the conviction of one of the attackers to a 75 year prison sentence (the other fled and was not found), Brad finds himself pledging a fraternity at Clemson University. There he encounters a hazing experience which is similar in many ways to his physical beating. The emotional abuse and heartlessness of those that he is to call "brother" causes him to quit the fraternity and college.
The story is haunting and disturbing. The writing on the other hand I found to be juvenile and annoying. Do we really need to relay the inane conversations of drunken youths word for word?
"She is hot" Jim said.
"Yeah" John said.
"Fuck yeah, man" Jim said.
"Fuckin' hell yeah, dude!" John said as he drolled beer down the front of his shirt.
(This was not an actual quote from the book, but that is exactly what so much of it was like.)
Along the same lines...how many times was a derivitive of the F-word used in this book? It had to be over a thousand. At least four or five times per page on average. I am not kidding. It was ridiculous.
The book has a great subject. The book deals with that subject well. The book also lacks some skill in the writing department. Maybe that is due to it being a first book? Maybe it is because Brad Land was using the book as a release...a type of therapy...I don't know. I liked it, but I also hated it. The rating is a tough call on this one.