Ian Mapp's Reviews > The Corrections

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
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's review
Mar 02, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: humour
Read in October, 2007

** spoiler alert ** Been sat on my shelf for probably five years, at last I got around to it.

May have had something to do with the huge size - 653 pages, which is unfortunately the books achilles heal.

It starts so well with a family. Two elderly parents...

Enid - wanting then back together for one final xmas.

Alfred - suffering from parkinsons and dementia and losing control of mind and body functions.

And three grown up children, each one explored in some detail.

Chip - who is supposed to be entertaining his parents in new york but kind of leaves them to their own devices as he chases his run away girlfriend. History is revealed that he had to leave employment at a university for starting an affair with a student and he has a passion for class A drugs.... during the course of the book he moves to Lithuania to try and embelze funds from western investors.

Gary - My favorite character, with a truely laugh out loud moment when after spending 50 pages trying to convince that he is not depressed, manages to cut his hand whilst pissed on vodka and cutting the hedges. Once his wife sees what he has done - he surrenders and admits that he is depressed. He also in the course of the book dobs his siblings in for all their crimes and tries to charge his own mother $5 for some bolts he purchases through DIY.

Denise - The least believable character and maybe the one that should have been dropped in the interests of brevity. She is a top trained chef, had an affair with her fathers colleague (which he knew about but didnt reveal) and then has an affair with both the wife and the husband of her employer - eventually getting sacked.

The book starts wonderfully and is consistently funny. However, its length makes it suffer. I really enjoyed Chips story but as each child has 100 pages each on their backstory, when we revisited him later in the book in Lithuania, I had kind of forgot the story.

It's main drivers are the intracies and rivalies of family life. It also has time to attack a number of other subjects, such as sex, marriage, american imperialism, designer restaurants, designer lesbianism.

A worthy book but unfortunately, not a 5 star.

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