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Freedomland
 
by
Richard Price
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Freedomland

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  2,081 ratings  ·  157 reviews
In Freedomland, Richard Price returns to the gritty terrain he first explored in Clockers. This time, the fictional (but all too convincing) urban eyesore of Dempsy, New Jersey, is convulsed by a high-profile carjacking. A single mom named Brenda Martin insists that a man stopped her car, yanked her from behind the wheel, and drove off with the vehicle--and her young son. ...more
Kindle Edition
Published (first published January 1st 1998)
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Average rating 3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,081 ratings  ·  157 reviews


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Paul Bryant
I reviewed Clockers and Lush Life but not this mighty novel. What's that all about, hmm? Exhaustion, I think, because all these novels are quite similar and told in the same manically detailed no-stone-unturned way and they all do the same thing, which is to take a tale from the urban underbelly which could be easily summarised in two sentences and expand it into a 700 page brainmelt.

I love them all, but I read Freedomland first (5 stars), then Lush Life (4 stars), then Clockers (3 stars). So h
...more
Matthew
Dec 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: most
this is an amazing book. After reading it I put it down and then read four more by Price--there's quite an evolution in his plotting. But throughout his books, the dialogue is as good as any I've read. His novels are as novels should be: deceptively easy to read--simple at first glance, but filled with complex prose and just enough wisdom that the reader doesn't notice until the last page is turned.
Paul
Jan 30, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-crime
3.5*

Alright but, tooooo looooong!
Daisy
Apr 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of The Wire
Shelves: recommended
Price is an author in the vein of David Simon. He's a white man who, for whatever reason, can really write about the black experience. I don't know if that's a fair or accurate assessment - or one that he would even want to claim - but it's the feeling I get when reading his novels.

Price uses some of the same tricks as Simon, the most prominent being his unwillingness to dumb down or explain street slang, his jumping straight into a story without bothering to lay out an easily understood back s
...more
Ned Andrew Solomon
Freedomland is an epic novel. The fact that the action takes place over the course of just 72 hours, and the geographic reach encompasses only a few square miles in New Jersey does not alter that description. This is a big story that asks big questions in great depth. It's about law and order, truth and lies, the role and boundaries of the media and law enforcement, race relations, friendship, family, trust and loyalty.

At it's core is the death of a small child, which may have occurred by accide
...more
Leora
Jul 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading Freedomland, Richard Price quickly became my guilty pleasure. I have since listened to the audio version of "Lush Life" (great audio, fantastic text), and read "Clockers." There are one or two more sitting on my bookshelf. Yes it's a cops novel, but the questions is not whodunnit, it's something deeper and better. Here, there are real racial tension issues and questions of the role of a reporter, a cop, and a mother, in figuring out what happened to a kid. No one's motivations are ...more
Jenn
That was a loooooong book. Over 700 pages. I’m surprised I finished it as I somewhat remembered the movie. I knew how it ended. But I didn’t recall the actual ending. I had forgotten certain key points. I knew there was a race thing going on but I didn’t remember the walk and the clash that happened near the end. I expected a clash and envisioned a much more violent one.
Seth
Jan 11, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book could have been a three or even four star book if it didn't have a major fatal flaw. The story is overly ambitious and not primarily feasible. The author made a good attempt to write an "epic small town" story, he remembered that it's important to have likable characters, true to form dialogue and a writing style that moves with ease inspite of the 700+ page total. But this book is full of side stories, some of which sound pretty interesting to be honest, but they don't have anything t ...more
Jack
Jan 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Debbie
Oct 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Richard Price, where have you been all my life? Seriously, how could I have missed this guy for so long? His credentials include being the screenwriter for "The Color of Money", "Sea of Love" and "Ransom".
This novel is akin to a top-notch "Law and Order" miniseries, only more profound. His characters get under your skin in ways that make you think about them long after you put the book down. He's one of those writers that can make the setting a character, you know like Thomas Hardy does with th
...more
Richard
May 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This novel is alive in ways that so many others aren't. Price digs in and explores every aspect of the tragedy at the center of this book through the eyes of his two main characters using a verbal writing style (deos that make sense?) that keeps things cooking but never feels rushed. His descriptions, his dialogue, his insight -- I came away from this book a better writer than when I went in.
Laura
Sep 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know what I expected from this -- certainly not the brilliant exposure & exploration of racism in America I got. Price's dialogue is dead-on, and his stories are just heartbreaking. Un-put-downable. ...more
Guy
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly, the slow, 'Dickensian' pace and richness that gave most of his other novels a sense of space, was actually this novel's biggest flaw. Pedestrian, even lumbering, and almost too tedious to finish.
Kevin
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't usually read books this lengthy. But having read both "Lush Life" and "Samaritan" I decided what the hell it's worth the time. And of course I wasn't disappointed. Price's characters and their dialogue ring true and you believe these people really exist. Having lived in NY for a couple years I'm sure they do exist. They draw you in and make you sympathetic to whatever they're going through. Lorenzo, Brenda, Jesse and many others throughout the book interact in such a natural way. Whether ...more
Andrea
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have had this for a while and picked it up running after being disappointed by the latest great SFF hype. I needed someone who knew how to write.

So I'm prejudiced towards his works because of the writing.

It's dated in terms of technology and in social aspects and was jarring at times.

(And, in retreat from the latest great SFF hype, I ordered everything else he has written just in case I need it).
Emily
Sep 19, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was obsessed with Clockers after I slogged through it and got sucked in halfway through, so I had high hopes for Price's follow-up, which is set in the same fictional NJ town of Dempsy. Unfortunately it is a little overwrought and tends to rely a bit too much on Price's favorite device of ruined and abandoned places. My favorite scene in Clockers was the 'baby hospital' chapter, which literally took my breath away, but in Freedomland we see at least 2 scenes set in ruins, and it gets to be a b ...more
Thomas
Mar 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I heard the movie was terrible but don't let that scare you away. I read this when it came out and thought it was the best book I had read in years. The characters are alive and you can talk to them (scream at them).
Pete
Jan 08, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: race
Overly long, drawn out, melodramatic, anticlimactic waste of time.
Pradeep Badatiya
Excellent theory of author which compels you to contemplate about your freedom.
Jonathan
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Freedomland (1998) by Richard Price: A critical and commercial hit in 1998, Freedomland has lost none of its sting in the intervening decades. Maybe it's more relevant now in The Age of Trump than ever, dealing as it does with America's deep-seated racial divisions and unequal treatment at the hands of the law, media simplification of tragic events, knee-jerk bigotry, the politics of policing, and so many other 'Hot-button' topics.

A white woman stumbles into a hospital in New Jersey claiming to
...more
Dave Cohen
Freedomland tells a story about a white woman who apparently has her child taken from her by a black man in a carjacking in a carjacking. In the bulk of the book, the police - or specifically one specific cop - search for the culprit, or at least the truth. There is a lot of suspense regarding how the crime will play out. Price does a good job of bringing the main characters to life: the woman whose child was taken, the reporter, the cop.

I only gave the book 3 stars mainly due to my tastes. The
...more
Keith Bradley-Hewitt
Really liked this novel for the most part. The main characters, a detective named Lorenzo Council and a crime reporter named Jesse Haus, were both pretty engaging. I dug their intertwining storylines as they both attempt to make sense of a crime for their own purposes. I also liked the detail that Price gives to more minor characters. I found most of them to be pretty sympathetic.

I plowed through the first 3/4 of this book or so. With the big reveal and the associated aftermath, I felt like Pric
...more
Megan
Apr 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A big read (546 pages) and took a while to warm up but had a big impact when it did. Spare but impressive writing. At times I wondered whether it would be worth it, but looking back, there was nothing that didn't add up to the whole. White and black towns hard up against each other with a park dividing the two in a fictional town called Dempsy (based on Jersey). A park from which, late one night, an injured white woman emerges, with a tale of being carjacked by a black man, one who inadvertently ...more
Katy
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, 1998, read-2020
I had high hopes for this book, having loved his "Clockers" a few years ago. But this is no Clockers. Same fascinating, timely subject matter, but "slow-moving" doesn't even begin to cover it..."turgid" is more like it. When even the climactic riot scene goes 18 pages of description before anything happens, something's not working. Disappointing.
Theodore Kinni
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Racially-charged social dynamics swirl around this story a mother who reports her 4-yr-old son taken in a carjacking in the New Jersey projects. Amazing how Price can strip away stereotypes and create fully human characters.
Amy Sohner
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most novels by Richard Price are interesting. They really get inside the culture of NYC, especially the New York of drug dealing, the inner city, and the police. I liked some of Price's other books better, but this one held my interest. I especially like thw work he's done for TV.
John McPhee
Sep 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed it

Freedomland is so well-written and the dialog and characters are thoughtfully crafted. IDK WHY i never embraced it. I’m sure it’s me - not you. As a (every) famous woman once said. I’m postponing reading Samaritan (his next one) ...
Nial
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Very realistic and gritty but was a bit too long for my liking.
Steph
Jul 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I always love the intensity of the books of Richard Price. Although this one is not as great as Clockers, it was still an enjoyable read.
Aaron
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Way better than the movie.
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Freedomland 2 21 Dec 10, 2012 07:47PM  

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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name.

Also writes under the pen name Harry Brandt

A self-described "middle class Jewish kid," Price grew up in a housing project in the northeast Bronx. Today, he lives in New York City with his family.

Price graduated from the Bronx High School of Science in 1967 and obtained a BA from Cornell University and an MFA f
...more

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