Tom's Reviews > Freedom

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
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's review
Apr 04, 2011

really liked it
Read from April 04 to 27, 2011

It's hard to read a book like Freedom in isolation or ignorance of the hype machine that runs around it... OPRAH READ IT!! OPRAH LOVED IT!! On the other hand, I suppose you could be ignorant... or isolated... and in either one of those cases, you could read it without hearing the hype machine chugging around you.

SO with all that going on, I wanted to dislike this book on general principles. Also, I pretty much hated every character in this book. They are a bunch of overly-privileged, self-centered yuppies who do pretty much everything to condemn themselves and each other to a life of misery. Even Walter, maybe the only character without sin who might normally appeal to the reader, is so messed up in his own self-righteousness and white-man's-yuppie-guilt that its tough to be on his side.

And don't even get me started on Patty, Richard, either one of kids or any of the grandparents. I wouldn't want to be within 500 yards of these people... nor should the rest of humanity.

So it's a tribute to Franzen as a writer that he got me through all that. I was all set up to REALLY dislike it, and ACTIVELY disliked most of what was going on and everyone involved... but ended up liking the book anyway! How did he do that? That's talent people!

(A lot of St. Paul and Minnesota references here too, which I enjoyed)

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