Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Corrections” as Want to Read:
The Corrections
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Corrections

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  122,083 Ratings  ·  7,768 Reviews
After almost fifty years as a wife and mother, Enid Lambert is ready to have some fun. Unfortunately, her husband, Alfred, is losing his sanity to Parkinson’s disease, and their children have long since flown the family nest to the catastrophes of their own lives. The oldest, Gary, a once-stable portfolio manager and family man, is trying to convince his wife and himself, ...more
Kindle Edition, 610 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published September 1st 2001)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Corrections, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Nanno Mulder No, but mr Franzen creates for his books nasty characters irrespective of generation. They act in character hence the style of the interaction in…moreNo, but mr Franzen creates for his books nasty characters irrespective of generation. They act in character hence the style of the interaction in families, but also between lovers, strangers , neighbours. Sometimes at the very end there is some light, see Freedom.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
May 23, 2007 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I'm writing this review in response to Kate's review, which tore it up with a lot of intelligent points. I feel the need to respond because I loved this book, and even re-read it about a year ago.

One point Kate makes is that this book is full of rotten characters and some of them don't stand up off the page. (My mother's main complaint, too, was that the characters weren't nice.) I'd agree that there are a couple characters who are flimsy (mainly, SPOILER, the couple Denise has her thing with),
Apr 13, 2007 Alan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
From start to finish on my third time through this book - my first experiencing it through text and not audio – I was struck anew at not only the bleak, hilarious story it tells but at the beauty of the writing, at the way Franzen knows how to turn a phrase.

One thing I kind of noticed on my own but had my eye made more aware of by a New York Times review of the book was how meta-fictive the book is. The Times – or whatever publication it was I found on the internet as I obsessed over this book
Jan 03, 2008 Kate rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kate by: Emily
Conrad told me that Jonathan Franzen has been quoted as saying he deliberately rips off influential late-century American authors such as Pynchon, DeLillo and Roth, but tries to make the prose less difficult, more easily consumed.

Leaving aside for a moment the irony of that statement in light of his outrage over the Oprah thing, that is retarded. Those authors are not great because their writing is accessible when the complexity is removed.

It was when one of the main characters in The Correction
Jul 22, 2008 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Steve by: Bob's Top 5 Lists
First let me say that this Franzen guy, he can write. That by itself justifies a minimum of 3 stars. He turns a phrase as well as anyone in modern literature, with a style that is both artful and incisive. His brainpower is on display just about every page. In a way, though, that’s part of my frustration with the book. When someone as clever as Franzen is sharing insights, you might hope for some traits to borrow or views to adopt from his characters—something to include in your own eclectic por ...more
Oct 08, 2014 Angela rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people dying a slow and painful death and want to make it worse
Shelves: modern-canon
A seemingly unending stream of word vomit.

I can think of no other way to describe this thing.

I really, really despised almost everything about The Corrections. I finished it solely so that I could write a horrible review and have it be valid.

At no single point before the last 10 pages of this 566-page monster did I feel a shred of sympathy with any of the characters. There were several moments where I thought Franzen would have been better off writing dialogue-for-the-average-Joe instead of the
Paul Bryant
Nov 12, 2013 Paul Bryant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
JONATHAN FRANZEN'S TOP TEN RULES FOR WRITERS (as given to The Guardian on 20 Feb 2010)

with additional commenty comments by me :

1. The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator.

Hmm, well, maybe. I can't think Hugh Selby had very friendly thoughts when he wrote his brilliant Last Exit to Brooklyn, it reads like he wants to shove all of us into a landfill site and have done with the human race. But quite often that's a good attitude for a writer to have. Some books you walk around and p
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
I can't think of a single other book where I got to end and wanted to ask someone for my time back. Most books that I've strongly disliked or thought were crap were genre books, typically short and relatively fast reads. At close to 600 pages, there is nothing short or fast about The Corrections, and nothing to savour in its slowness either.

The story - about a depressingly typical and dysfunctional, middle class Middle American family from the 60s to the present - is a thief. It steals your time
Justin Sheppard
I find myself of two minds after finally getting around to reading The Corrections. While Franzen is undoubtedly a supremely talented writer, I can’t help but feel that what could have been a legitimate classic novel was ruined by the author’s idiosyncrasies.

Unlike most people, my complaints don’t lie in the novel’s hyper-sexuality or its cast of unlikable characters. Sex in literature has never bothered me as long as it serves to advance the plot in some way (which, I believe, it does here) an
Apr 26, 2008 Jordan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this book a second time (the first being in August last year), I am happy to report that this time, I was able to leave the house and be a fully-functioning member of society (well, as much as I ever am) while in the midst of it. Yay for me!

That's not to say this book didn't have as profound an effect on me the second time around; it did. It was just that I knew what to expect. The first time, I was so hooked that there was nothing else I wanted to do, other than read it. Food lost all
Jul 29, 2008 Sarah rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: middle-aged ex-Midwesterner dudes who hate their parents.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
July 2012

Facts concerning Jonathan Franzen's novel The Corrections
•Print runs of Jonathan Franzen's novel The Corrections are believed to be the largest in recorded history.
•Although no reliable count exists, experts believe that the number of printed copies of Jonathan Franzen's novel The Corrections runs into the hundreds of millions in the United States alone, with perhaps more than one billion copies of Jonathan Franzen's novel The Corrections in existence worldwide.
•Jonathan Franzen's nove
Jan 27, 2014 Brian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An open letter to my former copy of The Corrections:

First I want to tell you that it isn’t you, it’s me. People and books grow apart just like people and people grow apart. I remember years ago when I read you that there were certain things about you that I really liked; but the truth is, I just wasn’t really that into you. Yeah, that little stunt with Oprah was pretty cute, and I recall we had a laugh, but I’m just at that point in my life where I need to make space for new experiences – open
Se dice de ‘Las correcciones’ que es la Gran Novela Americana de principios del siglo XXI. Tal vez, no lo sé. Lo que sí está claro es que se trata de una gran novela. (Escribir la Gran Novela Americana es algo que obsesiona a todo escritor norteamericano, entrar en la posteridad escribiendo una historia total, de gran extensión a ser posible, que hable de un período histórico concreto de la memoria de su país. Es curioso que este fenómeno no se produzca en igual medida en Europa.) Sin abusar en ...more
Sep 19, 2016 Fabian rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On the other hand, there are IMPULSIVELY READABLE works of fiction. The much appreciated "The Corrections" is a prime example of what can occur if all you do is describe members of a family (it is not even all that dysfunctional--which is why the pathos is all too real). The Lamberts have a fallen patriarch, a mother who is on the verge of being taken under by her spouse (in other words, she's The Mother), a sibling who cares too much, another one too little, and a younger sister who may be a wo ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Aug 01, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 and 1001
Shelves: 1001-core
I enjoyed reading this book. It is one of those rare instances when I fully agree to all those blurbs written in the front and back covers of a book. No wonder that The Millions (Reader's Choice) voted this book as #1 novel of this decade (2000-2009) that is now about to end. It is also in the 501 Must Read Books, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, Time 100, Oprah Selections and won the National Book Award.

This book was published in 2001 at around the same time as when 9/11 happened. Sinc
Mar 02, 2010 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jonathan Franzen, you bespectacled metrosexual, you. What a great book. 4.5 stars! Now hang with me, I know this book is pretty divisive.

HERE'S WHY YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK: at some point in your life, you will make a very difficult decision on how to provide medical/hospice care for an aging, ailing family member. Most likely that family member will be a parent (or a Baby Boomer), and that decision will not be accepted--not by the member, not by your siblings. The decision will most likely oc
While reading The Corrections I really understood the meaning of ‘schadenfreude’ because I despised almost every character in this book so much that the more miserable their lives got, the more enjoyment I took from it. And when a shotgun was introduced late in the novel, I read the rest of it with my fingers crossed while muttering "Please please please please please please..." in the hope that at least one of those pitiful shits would end up taking a load of buckshot to the face.

The Lambert’s
Moira Russell
Dear Mr. Franzen,

Please be so good as to kindly go unfug yourself.


The fabulous Edith Wharton

Books Ring Mah Bell
My first Franzen.

Really I don't even know how to start this review. I could begin, I suppose, by discussing the pure perfection of his writing. It is REALLY DAMN GOOD. If I could break reviews down into little sections, he'd get 10 stars for his style/technique. Excellent.

On the other hand, I can't give this a full 5 stars. Or can I? Yeah, it was well written. The depth of the characters and the storyline maybe just a hair short of phenomenal. ???

Why do I bother with fiction? I feel guilty
There is a crowded shelf, among my overflowing bookcases, dedicated solely to books I’m getting around to reading. However much I read, this shelf is always crammed. Most of the books are new, given as gifts on Christmas or my birthday. These are big hardcover titles with tight bindings, handsome dust-jackets, and $35 cover prices. I’m excited to read them, but I hew to a loose first-in, first-out policy, meaning I have to wade through older purchases before I can tackle them (which is part of t ...more
Ian "Marvin" Graye
An Opportunity to Make A Few Corrections

I read “The Corrections” pre-Good Reads and originally rated it four stars.

I wanted to re-read (and review) it, before starting “Freedom”.

I originally dropped it a star because I thought there was something unsatisfying about the whole Lithuanian adventure.

Perhaps, when I re-read it, I wouldn’t object to it as much and I could improve my rating.

Having just finished it, I could probably add a half-star, but I’m not ready to give it five.

Second time around,
Franzen’s writing is impeccable. Not only does his understanding of complex, familial relationships fascinate me, but his ability to capture these characters—all five of them, I might add—with such depth...I think that is what really drew me in as a reader. I mean, these are people who are so flawed emotionally and so utterly selfish inherently, and yet each of them has this capacity for loving one another even while recognizing their inability to stand each other for more than five minutes at a ...more
I love this novel as much for what it turned out that it wasn’t as for what it actually was. The opening vignette was a deep dive into the subterranean conflicts of a middle class home in Middle America. We're immediately focused on the agony and resentment of the emasculated American male wrought by decades of marriage to a dutiful wife who dutifully domesticates the family and becomes an expert in polishing the façade. In our initial meeting, the retired Alfred has dug himself such a deep tren ...more
May 24, 2014 Arnie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviews
I didn't like The Corrections. I didn't like or care about any of the characters. Seems like I've been reading about the prototypical dysfunctional American family for decades. This one was humorless and boring. Probably because the characters lacked personality.
I know most people loved it or said they did, I've already heard all the arguments defending it.
Andrew Smith
Sep 11, 2015 Andrew Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved Franzen's Freedom and really couldn't wait to get into this novel. I listened to this on audiobook (it helped that my favourite reader, George Guidall, recorded this in unabridged form). George does a brilliant job, as he always does. The story is long and complex and funny and sad. It has the right mix of obnoxious characters and those who evoke sympathy. I liked it and I loved bits of it. The last part of the book was brilliant and in the end I was really sad I'd finished it.
Sep 14, 2015 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-usa, e5, l-1001bymrbyd
Correcções é para ler...

Até mais de metade pensei que era um livro para a minha estante das quatro estrelas mas, ao cerrar a última página e já com saudades da família Lambert, corrigi para cinco estrelas.
É um romance poderoso. Sim, muito chato nalguns partes. Mas as pessoas e as suas vidas nem sempre, ou raramente, são interessantes. Este é um livro sobre gente vulgar, que comete erros, injustiças, que tenta corrigir, mas em vão, pois o passado não pode ser rasurado e a vida não se compadece de
Jeffrey Keeten
Oct 01, 2015 Jeffrey Keeten rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“And when the event, the big change in your life, is simply an insight—isn't that a strange thing? That absolutely nothing changes except that you see things differently and you're less fearful and less anxious and generally stronger as a result: isn't it amazing that a completely invisible thing in your head can feel realer than anything you've experienced before? You see things more clearly and you know that you're seeing them more clearly. And it comes to you that this is what it means to lov ...more
The critics loved The Corrections. Published in 2001, it won the National Book Award for fiction for that year and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize a year later. It also won or was nominated for a number of other prestigious literary prizes.

David Gates wrote in his glowing review in the New York Times that the book had “just enough novel-of-paranoia touches so Oprah won’t assign it and ruin Franzen’s street cred.”

Wrong, David. Oprah not only chose it for her book club but went so far as to pr
Apr 04, 2015 Lyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Imagine owning a bonsai tree and snipping, cutting, making small corrections from the plant’s growth, guiding it and making it become what you want it to be.

Imagine an engineer with a sharpened pencil making schematics and rigidly following mathematical, precise principles, forming a design that fits a specific purpose and allows for only infinitesimal error.

But these ways of making corrections are not ways to deal with humans, this is not how people exist, there are no hard fast rules, no blac
Jun 17, 2016 Perry rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Gunter gleiben glauchen globen
All right
I got somethin' to say"

For this book: "no serenade, no fire brigade, just pyromania"
{{ Def Leppard, Rock of Ages, 1982 }}

Despite Lord Franzen's picturesque prose and stellar structuring, I could not get past the gloomy, grating and grinding, megalomaniacal, monomaniacal, hypochondriacal, nymphomaniacal bitching, bemoaning, boohooing, bleating and bloated backbiting of this family full of neurotic whiners, stretching from the Midwest to the Northeast for
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Sabbath's Theater
  • The Fortress of Solitude
  • Europe Central
  • Money
  • The Assistant
  • Dog Soldiers
  • Falconer
  • The Recognitions
  • The Man Who Loved Children
  • The Berlin Stories: The Last of Mr Norris/Goodbye to Berlin
  • Rabbit Is Rich (Rabbit Angstrom #3)
  • Consider the Lobster and Other Essays
  • Spring Flowers, Spring Frost
  • Drop City
  • Ten North Frederick
  • A Dance to the Music of Time: 1st Movement (A Dance to the Music of Time, #1-3)
  • Herzog
  • In the Forest
Jonathan Franzen is the author of The Corrections, winner of the 2001 National Book Award for fiction; the novels The Twenty-Seventh City and Strong Motion; and two works of nonfiction, How to Be Alone and The Discomfort Zone, all published by FSG. His fourth novel, Freedom, was published in the fall of 2010.

Franzen's other honors include a 1988 Whiting Writers' Award, Granta's Best Of Young Ameri
More about Jonathan Franzen...

Share This Book

“And when the event, the big change in your life, is simply an insight—isn't that a strange thing? That absolutely nothing changes except that you see things differently and you're less fearful and less anxious and generally stronger as a result: isn't it amazing that a completely invisible thing in your head can feel realer than anything you've experienced before? You see things more clearly and you know that you're seeing them more clearly. And it comes to you that this is what it means to love life, this is all anybody who talks seriously about God is ever talking about. Moments like this.” 147 likes
“The human species was given dominion over the earth and took the opportunity to exterminate other species and warm the atmosphere and generally ruin things in its own image, but it paid this price for its privileges: that the finite and specific animal body of this species contained a brain capable of conceiving the infinite and wishing to be infinite itself.” 98 likes
More quotes…