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Freedomland

3.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,621 Ratings  ·  124 Reviews
The celebrated author of Clockers delivers his most compelling and accomplished novel to date.

A white woman, her hands gashed and bloody, stumbles into an inner-city emergency room and announces that she has just been carjacked by a black man. But then comes the horrifying twist: Her young son was asleep in the back seat, and he has now disappeared into the night.

So begins
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Paperback, 672 pages
Published November 29th 2005 by Delta (first published January 1st 1998)
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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonThe Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz ZafónThe Name of the Rose by Umberto EcoThe Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg LarssonAnd Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Best Literary Mysteries
277th out of 991 books — 2,242 voters
Homicide by David SimonMystic River by Dennis LehaneThe Corner by David SimonClockers by Richard PriceShutter Island by Dennis Lehane
Great books by writers of hbo's the wire
23rd out of 30 books — 65 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Paul Bryant
I reviewed Clockers and Lush Life but not this mighty novel. What's that all about, hmm? Exhaustion, I think, because all these novels are quite similar and told in the same manically detailed no-stone-unturned way and they all do the same thing, which is to take a tale from the urban underbelly which could be easily summarised in two sentences and expand it into a 700 page brainmelt.

I love them all, but I read Freedomland first (5 stars), then Lush Life (4 stars), then Clockers (3 stars). So h
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Matthew
Dec 29, 2007 Matthew rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: most
this is an amazing book. After reading it I put it down and then read four more by Price--there's quite an evolution in his plotting. But throughout his books, the dialogue is as good as any I've read. His novels are as novels should be: deceptively easy to read--simple at first glance, but filled with complex prose and just enough wisdom that the reader doesn't notice until the last page is turned.
Seth
Jan 29, 2014 Seth rated it it was ok
This book could have been a three or even four star book if it didn't have a major fatal flaw. The story is overly ambitious and not primarily feasible. The author made a good attempt to write an "epic small town" story, he remembered that it's important to have likable characters, true to form dialogue and a writing style that moves with ease inspite of the 700+ page total. But this book is full of side stories, some of which sound pretty interesting to be honest, but they don't have anything t ...more
Jack
Jan 11, 2009 Jack rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Daisy
Apr 29, 2008 Daisy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of The Wire
Shelves: recommended
Price is an author in the vein of David Simon. He's a white man who, for whatever reason, can really write about the black experience. I don't know if that's a fair or accurate assessment - or one that he would even want to claim - but it's the feeling I get when reading his novels.

Price uses some of the same tricks as Simon, the most prominent being his unwillingness to dumb down or explain street slang, his jumping straight into a story without bothering to lay out an easily understood back s
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Pete Rathburn
Jan 08, 2014 Pete Rathburn rated it did not like it
Overly long, drawn out, melodramatic, anticlimactic waste of time.
Ana Laura  De Romero

Debo admitir que me costó más tiempo del que esperé, tardé en meterme en la trama y una vez pasado ‘el climax’ de la historia me perdieron de nuevo.

Me gustan las historias de investigación y ésta es una buena historia pero siento que tiene muchos elementos extra que nada pasaría si se eliminaran de la trama.

La historia empieza lenta y conforme avanza logra atraer más la atención: Una madre que sufre el robo de su auto donde va su hijo de 4 años, la ciudad se pone de cabeza buscándolo, la inve
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Emily
Sep 19, 2010 Emily rated it liked it
I was obsessed with Clockers after I slogged through it and got sucked in halfway through, so I had high hopes for Price's follow-up, which is set in the same fictional NJ town of Dempsy. Unfortunately it is a little overwrought and tends to rely a bit too much on Price's favorite device of ruined and abandoned places. My favorite scene in Clockers was the 'baby hospital' chapter, which literally took my breath away, but in Freedomland we see at least 2 scenes set in ruins, and it gets to be a b ...more
Leora
Mar 24, 2010 Leora rated it really liked it
After reading Freedomland, Richard Price quickly became my guilty pleasure. I have since listened to the audio version of "Lush Life" (great audio, fantastic text), and read "Clockers." There are one or two more sitting on my bookshelf. Yes it's a cops novel, but the questions is not whodunnit, it's something deeper and better. Here, there are real racial tension issues and questions of the role of a reporter, a cop, and a mother, in figuring out what happened to a kid. No one's motivations are ...more
Jonathan Anderson
Part of the inspiration for my recent Richard Price introduction was this book. I knew, from the trailers for the film, that it involved racial tensions and rioting and controversial actions by the police, and given recent events I figured that'd make this one a timely read on my part.

On that count, I was right. Those parts are good. You just have to slog through a lot of other stuff to get there.

I see a lot of reviews as I'm putting these books to "Currently Reading", and a lot of them seem to
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Gina Rheault
Mar 10, 2015 Gina Rheault rated it it was amazing
I read this a long time ago, and I remember it as physically dark, specifically, shadowy streets with dark alleyways, and lonely spots in New York. I recalled scary people doing nasty things and white people taking advantage of white-people-scared-of-black-men racism.

It recalled for me the 1989 Charles Stuart murder in Boston where the handsome, perfect white guy shot his pregnant wife (Carol Stuart) in their car near Brigham and Women Hospital, and said a black guy did it. its disgusting to me
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Debbie
Oct 14, 2015 Debbie rated it really liked it
Richard Price, where have you been all my life? Seriously, how could I have missed this guy for so long? His credentials include being the screenwriter for "The Color of Money", "Sea of Love" and "Ransom".
This novel is akin to a top-notch "Law and Order" miniseries, only more profound. His characters get under your skin in ways that make you think about them long after you put the book down. He's one of those writers that can make the setting a character, you know like Thomas Hardy does with th
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Chris Sutton
Jan 11, 2016 Chris Sutton rated it it was ok
Richard Price creates an authentic, immersive atmosphere with spot on dialogue, but don't look for a fast-moving plot. From page 50 to 300 I became restless and frustrated at the slow progress of the story even while I appreciated the author's knack for realism.

There were also a dizzying array of characters to track. Was Bobby a cop or a hood? Who was George again? Or Eight-Ball? But eventually the story picks up steam as Brenda, the woman who claimed a black man stole her car with her son insi
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Thomas
Mar 21, 2009 Thomas rated it it was amazing
I heard the movie was terrible but don't let that scare you away. I read this when it came out and thought it was the best book I had read in years. The characters are alive and you can talk to them (scream at them).
Laura
Sep 12, 2007 Laura rated it it was amazing
I don't know what I expected from this -- certainly not the brilliant exposure & exploration of racism in America I got. Price's dialogue is dead-on, and his stories are just heartbreaking. Un-put-downable.
Jayne
Mar 15, 2014 Jayne rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings. Kind of liked it but expected something different in the ending. I wonder if people really interact like that sometimes and some places?
ElphabaNewlin
Brenda Martin stumbles into the local ER, dazed and confused. Saying she is the victim of a carjacking by an African American male, she also says that her son Cody was in the back seat of the car when it was stolen from her. Detective Lorenzo Council, a black detective who has connections to the local housing projects, is assigned the case, which almost immediately becomes sensationalized by the media. Aided by an up and coming reporter named Jesse, and trying to keep the lid on a racial firesto ...more
Carl R.
May 07, 2012 Carl R. rated it really liked it
Richard Price has been around for a while, but I’m just now discovering him, thanks to Toby. Most people know him as Tobias Wolff. All right, let’s quit pretending I’m buds with a modern literary icon. A friend asked him for book recommendations at a lecture, and he said anything by Richard Price, so I picked up Freedomland. I also put myself on the waiting list for his latest, Lush Life, at the library. So, yeah, he may become my literary discovery for this year. Not that he’s a discovery for ...more
Allison Means
Sep 29, 2011 Allison Means rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ira
Aug 17, 2008 Ira rated it liked it
Clockers and Lush Life, in my mind, are classic modern works of fiction. Freedomland does not belong in their character. Price seems to have become entranced with his own gifts on this one and forgotten what his bread and butter are. Story & Dialogue. Here the story appears to be interesting at first but I was eventually let down with about a few hundred pages to go. And the dialogue was lacking, though better than most other books but not up to Price par. My most significant criticism with ...more
Andy
Jul 18, 2014 Andy rated it really liked it
Freedomland by Richard Price
12.31.2010

I don’t know what it says that a writer I lean on learn about the hood is a middle-aged Jewish guy with an MFA. There might be an authenticity gap here. Maybe that’s why The Wire seems to be a hipster/boho phenomenon. I am not going to focus on that.

This novel is so good. Ugly hot summer. The cruddy Armstrong Homes on the border between majority black Dempsy (Darktown) and the majority white Gannon. A slim white woman who claims she was carjacked. A beautifu
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Alaina
Mar 20, 2015 Alaina rated it really liked it
I only recently was told to read Richard Price and am so glad I did. I have no idea why it took me so long to find this author. This was a gritty crime detective novel set in New Jersey. Beyond well written and felt very real. My only complaint is that it took me a while to get through it because of the novel's length and my busy past few weeks and each time I went back to the book, I would forget some of the side plots and bit characters and be a bit confused by who they were.
Chris Louie
Oct 31, 2014 Chris Louie rated it did not like it
I usually love Richard Price. Clockers, Samaritan, and Lush Life were all great reads. But I couldn't finish this one. His prose is wayyyyyy too long-winded. In particular, the scenes inside the mother's apartment seemed interminable.

The book is well-researched, and the police lingo feels very authentic, but Price does too much telling and not enough showing (to borrow some Creative Writing terminology.) Thumbs down.
Jenny
Feb 07, 2011 Jenny rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Lordy, it took me almost a month to finish this book - all 735 pages of it! At one point, I almost wanted to stop reading it, but there's a mystery in it that I wanted resolved, and the book had too many other things going on in it to be able to skim through and figure out what happened. Plus at that point, I was already 450 pages in and felt like I should finish it because I'd spent time on it already.

I read a review where the reader didn't like either Lorenzo or Jesse. I didn't like how Jesse'
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Jeremy
Dec 16, 2013 Jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is like a really good episode of Law and Order, plus some. We followed this story of the carjacking from beginning to absolute end. It played out pretty much exactly how I thought it would, and I'm not sure how I knew what was up, probably because I'd heard of a real life story that this may or may not have been based on. Anyway, like a good episode of Law and Order (classic) we follow the crime, the police investigation, then we get to trial. The bonus is we follow the fallout after t ...more
Jessica
May 23, 2009 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Picked up Price because I'd read somewhere that he was a huge influence for Dennis Lehane.

I can't really put my finger on why I didn't like this more. I didn't like Brenda, mostly because I didn't trust her (the cynic in me, I suppose). I wasn't too fond of Lorenzo's interactions with Brenda, but I liked him when he wasn't around her. I don't rightly know how to explain that one, but there you go. I didn't particularly care for Jesse, either. She gave off an undesirable aura that I just couldn'
...more
Anastacia
Apr 05, 2009 Anastacia rated it did not like it
Shelves: crime, fiction, 2009
SWEET LORD. It wasn't until the dead middle of the book that it started to get interesting, and I almost quit reading before then. I probably should have. I thought this would be a great read because I know that Price is similar or close to David Simon, creator of The Wire and author of Homicide, which is a fantastic book and one of my all-time favorites. This, however, was not the case. It was a terrible read. The plot was a good one, but the events surrounding it were ridiculously unbelievable ...more
Samuel Muggington
Dec 19, 2015 Samuel Muggington rated it it was amazing
Shelves: done
Freedomland grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go. The suspense builds and reaches a climax, and then, for some reason, the books tails off. I found myself wanting to know what would happen to the main characters, and at the same time, I knew exactly the fates that lay in store for them. It is a powerful and prescient book that reflects the never-ending turmoil of race relations in the America.
Shannon
Oct 13, 2015 Shannon rated it it was ok
Shelves: bookclub
Although I found this book to be slow and tedious and not that interesting I can understand why others would love it and why it has a place on bookshelves. It is a statement about society (American society especially and about race and poverty)
Daisyaday
May 24, 2011 Daisyaday rated it did not like it
Shelves: hb-discard
From the beginning, with a distraught mother and a missing child, I wondered why the authorities didn't question her with a polygraph, the way Susan Smith was. Well, I suppose it would have shortened the novel, which would have been a blessing. I just can't care about these characters the way I would like to have. Brenda is semi-comatose most of the time and Jesse is annoying, especially the way she treats her puppy-dog loyal brother. Lorenzo is trying to be a good cop, but comes off as being a ...more
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Freedomland 2 20 Dec 10, 2012 07:47PM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

A self-described "middle class Jewish kid," Price grew up in a housing project in the northeast Bronx. Today, he lives in New York City with his family.

Price graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1967 and obtained a BA from Cornell University and an MFA from C
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