Goats by Mark Jude Poirier

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Fourteen-year-old Ellis is getting ready to leave the Southwest for a boarding school in the East. This means leaving behind his mother, and the only real father figure he has ever known, Goat Man. Goat Man has done more for Ellis than giving him his first bong hit. He has maintained a home on Ellis's mom's property rent-free since Ellis was a child, taking care of small tasks and raising a herd of goats-all the while teaching Ellis the meaning of stability, caretaking and commitment.

While Ellis is in boarding school, making the grade while staying (mostly) high, Goat Man rehearses for a journey he and Ellis will take during Ellis's spring break, across the border with his pet goats. When they embark on their cross-desert trek, they are forced to reevaluate a relationship they thought was the only thing that would never change in their crazy lives.

Hilarious and intimate, Goats challenges the conventional idea of family and home, while drawing us deeper into Ellis's journey into manhood. Mark Jude Poirier has an uncanny gift for chronicling the human condition and bringing to life a varied yet dispassionate landscape.


About Mark Jude Poirier

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Mark Jude Poirier grew up in Tucson, in a family of eleven children. He received a Maytag fellowship while at the Iowa Writers Workshop and was recently awarded a James A. Michener Fellowship. He is also a graduate of Georgetown, Stanford, and the Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins. His stories have appeared in Jane, Bomb, and Tin House. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
Published August 1, 2000 by Bloomsbury Pub Ltd. 282 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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But that’s no problem for Ellis, who, supplied with dad’s credit card and Goat Man’s hybrid weed, finds mastering upper-level algebra and Latin as easy as buying up reggae CD’s and beer.

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Publishers Weekly

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Poirier intercuts deftly observed scenes of Ellis's day-to-day life at Gates with some offbeat interludes, in which we watch the sage but stoned Goat Man interact with the childish, easily manipulated Wendy and her parasitic boyfriend, Bennet.

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Daily Kos

The different colours symbolize diversity in the gay community, and the flag is used predominantly at gay pride events and in gay villages worldwide.

Jun 27 2008 | Read Full Review of Goats

Daily Kos

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Jun 27 2008 | Read Full Review of Goats

Austin Chronicle

The novel tells the dual and closely connected stories of Ellis Whitman, a 14-year-old who lives with his unstable and flaky mother, Wendy, in Tucson, and of Javier, aka Goat Man (which is what everyone calls him), who has known Wendy since she was pregnant with Ellis, and who lives in the pool h...

Mar 30 2001 | Read Full Review of Goats

Slant Magazine

That, or the squabbling is used as unfunny comedy, as when the film cuts back to the shenanigans going on at Wendy's house, where her gold-digging boyfriend, Bennett (Justin Kirk), is trying to edge out Goat Man to be the biggest deadbeat in the house.

Aug 09 2012 | Read Full Review of Goats

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