Angela's Reviews > Freedom

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
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's review
May 06, 11

bookshelves: indiespensable, favorites, american-fiction
Read from April 15 to 26, 2011 — I own a copy

I’m not usually a contrarian, but I wanted to hate this book. After all the hype, I wanted to read it and think it was horrible. And I wasn’t even planning on reading it for while. I figured I’d get to it once the hoopla died down. Then I got a copy as a gift, so I figured I might as well read it.

So, of course, it’s brilliant and far more intelligent and articulate people than me have praised it at length. I’ll just mention a few of the things that really struck me.

Despite being awful people, I could not help sympathizing with Patty, Walter, and Joey. Kudos to Franzen for creating such human characters.

Franzen uses capitalized common nouns to great effect. This was one of my favorite things about the book.

I loved the themes of the book and thought Franzen did a brilliant job with them. There was a point about halfway through that it seemed like he was hitting you over the head with them and I remember thinking: I get it, Patty is Competitive, Richard is obsessed with Goodness, Jesus Christ move on already. But then, things started to get more complicated and nuanced and you really started to see the fault lines within the broader motivations and how they broke down in practice. Again, just brilliant

The more I sit with this book and let it sink in, the more I discover the complexities of the personal relationships. The different points of views and time lines start to meld and you can see how it all fits together in the arc of the book.

It's such a wonderfully complex and humanly flawed text.

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Reading Progress

04/15/2011 page 49
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