Herzog's Reviews > Freedom

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
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's review
Jan 30, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: literary
Read in January, 2011

All of the hype for this book caused me to be continuously comparing it to other great works of literature. I mean, Franzen himself has Patty reading and ruminating on War and Peace. Does he want to be compared to Tolstoy? And what to make of the Jewish story line? As far as I can tell, Franzen himself is not Jewish, but several characters in Freedom are. Since the book tells its story from the perspective of several different family members, is this supposed to be a modern Family Moskat or Adventures of Augie March?

When I look past the comparisons and consider the book on its own merits, it comes out pretty well. Perhaps the Berglund's story is rather too dysfunctional, but, I suppose, appropriate for our age. Some of the subplots, e.g. Jenna & Joey, don't really lead anywhere or add a great deal of insight, do they? In the end, I'm not sure that the book is terribly instructive, but it was enjoyable reading.

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