Re: A Visit From the Goon Squad; Out of Body
Again, I am confused as to who is doing the talking. Is it Rob? Then why is he talking about himself in the second person? Or is it perhaps Drew recalling the events, and imagining how Rob felt?
Rob is sexually very confused and guilty. His dad is a football coach, and doesn’t allow him to be called ‘Bobbie’ after the age of ten, because then it becomes a girl’s name.
When Drew sarcastically teases him by saying ‘I love you too’ Rob thinks in the first person ‘Who said I loved you I almost ask.’
I love the way Egan describes Drew’s entrance on to the fire escape - ‘he origamis himself through the living-room window’
Rob is indeed mentally ill, in a different but just as debilitating way as Jules was. People talk about him as if he is not present. He seems to have no control over what he says . ‘I’m sorry,’ you tell Lizzie. ………’and you know you should leave it there – it’s fine, leave it alone, but some crazy engine inside you wont let you stop. ‘I’m sorry your mom is a bigot. I’m sorry Bix has to have a girlfriend from Texas. I’m sorry I’m an asshole. I’m sorry I make you nervous because I tried to kill myself. I’m sorry to get in the way of your nice afternoon….’ Is he suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or just guilt at his confused sexual orientation?
This chapter seems to be concerned with people denying their identity and their past. ‘That wasn’t me in Naples’ Sasha says ‘ I don’t know who it was. I feel sorry for her’.
And then when Rob admits to his first homosexual encounter Sasha tries to reassure him by saying ‘It wasn’t you in the car with James. You were somewhere else, looking down thinking. That fag is fooling around with another guy. How can he do that? How can he want it? How can he live with himself?’ Not a very helpful comment, because of course, Rob cannot live with himself. Is this deliberate? Does she regret telling Rob her secrets?
Rob tells Drew that Sasha was a hooker and a thief, because he desires her himself, but goes about it in totally the wrong way. ‘You might have held on to Sasha and become normal at the same time, but you didn’t even try.’
The detective – what’s that all about? Sasha wants to pretend that Rob is her boyfriend. Perhaps she picks Rob because she senses he is gay, and the detective is just a ploy to keep up the pretence? The detective disappears when she picks Drew for her boyfriend, so she has been using Rob for her own purposes.
I also wonder about Drew – there is a paragraph where they leave Sasha ‘He doesn’t want to go with you’, you bellow, your nose running with laughter and snot. ‘He wants to come with me’ ‘That’s true,’ Drew says. It reminds me of the words of Michael Jackson’s ‘Dirty Diana’ Sorry but for some reason the Youtube videos not available in Africa – this was the best I could do. http://www.youtube.com/embed/F6Rd7xjrum8