Julie's Reviews > The Corrections

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
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F_50x66
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May 01, 10


I'm really surprised at all the negative reviews of this book. I was also surprised when a good book-loving friend of mine told me that he wasn't impressed either. Maybe Franzen isn't for everyone, but there is a few common complaints in the reviews that I disagree with.

One is that the characters are unlikable. It's true that all of them have their faults, but this isn't a fairy tale. Morally ambiguous characters help this book feel more real. I thought Franzen did a wonderful job of creating characters that make questionable decisions, but are still understandable and even endearing to the reader. I understand that Gary is a dick to the family in St. Jude, but he also seems to be depressed and his marriage is on the rocks. Chip slept with a student, but he paid for it and he seems to realize that he is too old and too uncool to do the things that he does.

And what about Denise? Is she really unlikable just because she slept with married people? On the contrary, Franzen made me want to sleep with her. I think she was easily the most likable character, and her going back to St. Jude was wrenching.

I really, really liked this book. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me want to move to Philadelphia, and it made me want to cook. It was harsh. It was really harsh. A lot of the parts involving Alfred and Enid were difficult to enjoy, but getting old and having Parkinson's isn't a fun process. The Corrections may be sad at times, but it did make me laugh out loud. I think Franzen is a wonderful writer, even if he did use a "dumbed down Delillo" style of prose for this book. Whatever you want to call it, I think it worked.
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