Blaire's Reviews > Freedom

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
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's review
Dec 26, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: fiction
Read in December, 2010

This book had some strengths, but on the whole I thought its negativity outweighed them. The book's greatest strength is in depicting the ills of our society, and I have to admit Mr. Franzen nails it. The book's focus is sort of split. On one hand, it's a study of a contemporary family that is subject to many of the syndromes that plague us. On the other hand, it's a rant about the effects of our society on the environment. I'm with him about the environment, although I don't want to have to read close to 600 pages on the subject. My problem with the book is mostly that I disliked all of the main characters. I think Mr. Franzen's points about the environment would have been more effectively made if his characters had been more sympathetic and had possessed a richer inner life. As it was, I felt that they were simply vehicles in service of the politics of the book. The impression that I will carry away is that the book is a 600 page diatribe by an angry man. Great fiction, for me, is more balanced and has greater dramatic tension.

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