[ GOAT   r e v i e w s  ]

In this true tale exploring the culture of male violence, Willy faces the demons lingering from a random, past beating as he enters a world of ritualistic fraternity hazing. Gripping scenes are interspersed with deep, vulnerable reflections on the desire to belong. Not a word is wasted in this brave debut.  Grade: A
                                                                                   
                                                                                                                           - WASHINGTON POST

 

According to the oxford English Dictionary, "hazing" means "a species of brutal horseplay practiced on freshmen at some American colleges." For once the OED has been outdone. From now on the definition should simply read: see Willy's memoir, "Goat." Willy transferred to Clemson University in 1996 as a junior and pledged the Kappa Sigma fraternity. There he was subjected to the usual degrading initiation rituals-run the gauntlet, drink until you vomit, act like a slave, repeat for weeks. "Goat" might have been just a well-written version of a story that we've heard too many times. But Willy arrived at Clemson with a past that put the hazing in the context it deserves.

A year before he went to Clemson, he gave a ride to two men who beat him half to death and then stole his car. The thieves, whom Willy came to think of as "the smile" and "the breath," beat him for no reason other than sadistic pleasure. Long after his physical wounds healed he remained an emotional wreck, and joining "brothers" in a fraternity looked like the path back to manhood: he needed them in order to feel normal. "I keep telling myself that I... will like them eventually." But at night he dreamed of faceless tormentors, and as the hazing went on he began to connect the dots: "I know... it was the smile and the breath I was dreaming about. Or brothers. Whichever." One of the car thieves was caught and got 75 years in jail. The other man got away. So did Willy's frat brothers. Until now. This is a superb memoir. As payback, it's even better.
                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                         - NEWSWEEK

A jarring debut...Willy's punches hit home: Every man, in some capacity, has
been there.
                                                                                                                                   -MEN'S JOURNAL

Will's memoir GOAT - which carries us from his random abduction and beating to the oddly similar experience of fraternity hazing - is so self-assured, you won't be able to stop reading.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          -ESQUIRE

Willy's new memoir GOAT recounts in spare, numbed sentences how he was brutalized in a violent robbery and later subjected himself to similar degradations during a fraternity hazing...GOAT is a creepy page turner, offering itself up as a raw, bleeding slabe of experience...GOAT exerts a hypnotic power that American Sucker can't match.
                                                    
                                                                -NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW, column by Laura Miller

The spring's most promising memoir.
                                                                           
                                                                                                                  -ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

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