Katie's Reviews > Freedom

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
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's review
Jul 20, 2011

liked it
Read in July, 2011

This was an epic and engaging study in in-depth character development. I really enjoyed delving into these characters lives, even though I certainly didn't like all of them and loved to hate some of them (loving to hate a character is in fact something I really enjoy, in books and movies... not so much in real life).

I found the story mostly well-paced, but with some parts I felt sort of dragged. It was a long book that I felt could have used some trimming (but not too much). It's basically an in-depth family drama which explores everyone's deepest flaws to the hilt, but you do tend to end up understanding most of them at least to some extent. I thought the character arc of Walter might have been my favorite--he starts off really wishy-washy but then becomes more and more understandable and honorable as the story unfolds.

I also really liked the technique of folding in two long passages written by one of the characters, to help explain why she seems so insufferable to others. It was clever--she kept pointing out mistakes she made and then stepping back in her writing and saying things like "the autobiographer acknowledges that this might not have been the wisest move," so you get a sense that she is actually learning from her mistakes, in a way that was funny and kind of different. It was an interesting writing technique that wasn't too cutesy or gimmicky.

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