Throughout reading A Visit From the Goon Squad, I always asked myself what the title meant. I kept on waiting for Bennie to sign a band called Goon Squad or for the Flaming Dildos to change their name to Goon Squad and have this huge connection and finally have the title make sense. However now that I have finished the book, I think the title is very clearly a metaphor for time. Each character is visited by the goon squad. Through Egan’s varying writing styles and her different ways of showing perspective, we are shown how time has visited the characters.
As time goes by, we find pity through Lou’s shift in to sickness, Scotty’s pathetic life as a janitor, Jocelyn’s stay at her mom’s house, and Bennie’s desperate life but time also makes way for triumph in the case of people like Rhea, who finds a family, and finally a sense of belonging. Time was a constant theme throughout the book, even though the reader if often grasping frantically at the beginning of each chapter to figure out the time frame, and in the end time told all.
All of the characters make connections and puppets interweaved in a wonderful web created by Jennifer Egan, only possible through each character’s visit from time.