Lauren's Reviews > Independence Day

Independence Day by Richard Ford
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Nov 05, 2009

Read in November, 2009

I wouldn't recommend this book. I found it at a used-book store and picked it up because it won the Pulitzer Prize. Although I found a few things in it that will stay with me, overall I wish I had spent that time reading something else.

Frank, a middle-aged divorced real estate agent, spends a long Fourth of July weekend showing houses and taking his mentally/emotionally troubled 15-year old son on a road trip to the basketball and baseball halls of fame. If the book were actually distilled down to this plot, in action, I would have liked it a lot (and it would also be about 200 pages instead of 450.)

But instead we spend the vast majority of the book inside Frank's head as he drives around, for days, contemplating, philosophizing, ruminating, musing, reminiscing, pondering and brooding about his life and relationships so far. For some reason he also likes to provide us with all the intricate details of his journey, such as the names of every road, highway, turnpike and off-ramp he encounters along the way.

You may be thinking, "ruminations on life and relationships- but that sounds kind of interesting..."

No. Even the New York Times tells us that there are a lot of "unnecessary sides and digressions" in these books (this book is the second in a trilogy), and that the narrator can be "long winded" and "irritating".

But obviously they gave the book stellar reviews anyway, and it won the Pulitzer Prize and everything, so joking aside I would say it just depends on your affinity/tolerance for this kind of writing style, your patience level, and your willingness to skim if bored (I hate skimming. It causes me too much anxiety).

If you have all those qualities in greater amounts than I do, there are aspects of the book I really liked: there some very humorous moments, and all of the interactions between Frank and his son Paul and daughter Clarissa were great. I just spent too much of the book waiting for the good stuff to start and thinking about how much the book was annoying me.

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message 1: by Melody (new) - added it

Melody I like your review and will take your advice and pick another read.

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