A Visit from the Goon Squad Chapters 3-4 Summary & Analysis

Jennifer Egan

A Visit from the Goon Squad

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A Visit from the Goon Squad Chapters 3-4 Summary & Analysis

Chapter 3 Summary: Ask Me If I Care

It is 1979. The teenager Rhea belongs to a group of kids who form a punk band, currently called The Flaming Dildos. Rhea is in love with Bennie, but Bennie is in love with Alice, who is in love with Scotty, and Scotty is most interested in Jocelyn, who is in love with a music executive named Lou Kline. Rhea feels that nobody loves her because her freckles make her undesirable. As Jocelyn—who is Rhea’s best friend—spends more time with Lou, Rhea tries to befriend Alice, but Alice distrusts her. Bennie arranges for the band to play at Mabuhay Gardens. Jocelyn convinces Lou to come and see the band. Lou takes Rhea and Jocelyn out for dinner before the gig; he gives them cocaine and puts an arm around each of them, and “like that, we’re Lou’s girls” (50). At the show, Lou takes a professional interest in Bennie. Rhea sees Jocelyn perform oral sex on Lou, “while Lou mashes Jocelyn’s head against himself again and again, so I don’t know how she can breathe, until it starts to seem like she’s not even Jocelyn, but some kind of animal or machine that can’t be broken” (53). Because he still has his arm around Rhea, she experiences Lou’s physical response to Jocelyn. After the show, the band members go to a party at Lou’s house. Lying on Lou’s bed, Rhea tries to tell Jocelyn how she’s feeling, but can’t find the words, then Lou comes into the room and Rhea leaves them alone. With the party still going on in the living room, Rhea goes out to the balcony, and eventually Lou joins her. When Rhea reminds him of his age and the fact that he has six children, Lou says, “I’ll never get old,” to which Rhea replies, “You’re already old” (56). Lou begins to speak to her as a father would, telling her not to change, promising her that someday someone will fall in love with her.

Two weeks later, Bennie and Scotty aren’t speaking to each other. When Jocelyn runs…

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