Taylor's Reviews > The Corrections

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
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's review
Jul 26, 2007

liked it
bookshelves: fiction, recommended, its-a-family-affair, awards-and-accolades, pop-pop-popular
Read from September 01 to December 01, 2010 — I own a copy , read count: 1

This is the only book I've rated without a review, so I feel (mostly) obligated, and (somewhat) compelled to say something about it.

Firstly, I'll admit that I did not want to like this book. I'd heard mostly mixed things from my friends who'd read it, though with a few stand-out "It's great"s from people whose opinions I trust. I put off reading it for a few years years to help forget the initial hype, then stumbled across it for $1 at the Strand in NYC. Around the time Freedom started getting hyped, I figured it was time to give The Corrections a shot. Despite my best intentions to be a curmudgeon about it, I ended up liking it, though not loving it completely.

Close family dramas always have a bit of a feeling of "otherness" to me, since my father died when I was young, and I'm an only child. My immediate family is pretty tiny. (My extended family is a different story.) So throw in some mother-father drama, some sibling drama, and the way those things intertwine and affect each other, and I'm scratching my head a bit, because I can't really relate or understand it to its fullest extent -- though it's fun to try to, through fiction.

I mention this because, with regard to The Corrections, I was iffy on some of the family dynamics. With not just this, with many things, really -- I struggle with the "I'm fucked up because my parents are" thing. I really only jive with that for so long. Yes, of course, our parents influence us and all, but at the same time, I know people with great parents and families who have plenty of issues and plenty of people from messed up parents and families who have managed to get through fine. Because of this, I felt pretty meh about the way The Corrections ended.

The other issue I had with it was that it felt uneven. Chip's storyline went from being believably trite to unbelievably interesting. (I did not buy any of that Lithuania stuff at all. It was a nice change from the rest of the book, but I just kept thinking, "Yeah right," and "uh, what.") Denise's storyline was mostly great, but I could not have been less interested in Gary, and Enid had her moments but felt more stereotypical retro wife/mom than I would've liked.

Thinking back on it, I can only remember the things I didn't like, and can't remember the things I did -- though I know there were some! Just don't ask for specifics.
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