Brett's Reviews > Freedom

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
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Feb 07, 11

Read in January, 2011

Franzen's book has received a lot of press over the past few months and most of the reviews I read in the press were favorable. Then I checked Amazon and one-third of the reviews were five-star, one-third were one-star, and one-third were in the middle. It's a pretty divisive book, and one of my favorite books of the past few years. The story is about a married couple, Walter and Patty, who have two children, Jessica and Joey. Walter is liberal and working for a company that's trying to protect an endangered bird. Patty is a former college basketball star who grew up in an unloving family and has trouble parenting her own children, despite her good intentions. Joey rebels against his family and ends up becoming a hardcore Republican. The book not only tells the story of the family during the George W. Bush era, but also spends a good deal of time telling the story of how Walter and Patty came to be the people they are. An interesting set of secondary characters complement the story, and there's a fair amount of social and political discourse throughout the book. I can see how some people wouldn't care for the book, particularly conservatives who might see some of themselves in the somewhat unsavory aspects of the characters. It's the type of book that I was sad to see end. 562 pages
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