Saturday, April 25, 2020

Freedom - Jonathan Franzen ------------------ 3 Stars

I really enjoyed Franzen's other major novel - The Corrections. I assumed that Freedom would be just as good, if not better. For some reason it didn't hold up. And, I can't tell why. Was it simply not as good as The Corrections or am I a more discerning reader nowadays? By comparison - here is my review of The Corrections from nearly 9 (!) years ago!

Just re-read my past review; I do think this book is just worst. I talked in the last blog about how this is "modern literature" as the themes are about the modern world and all its craziness. Really, I found this book interesting but slow. It's about a pretty dysfunctional family (same as last time) but I found them super unlikable - which was probably the point. But, that was not why I disliked. I disliked because nothing really happened. The book is over 500 pages and a slog to get through. The characters are interesting and very real. Since the vast majority of the novel is based on a few characters, Franzen does a great job of rounding them all out. But, so much is about the boring of their lives and what they are thinking about it.

Of course, the book is still interesting to read. The dialogue is funny and the writing is crisp. Franzen is a gifted author. While I do think the novel's pace was glacial and the stories of the characters seemed real, I just didn't love their stories. It's like the characters were trapped. Franzen couldn't decide if he should go all the way with the craziness of the story and really push it and make it seem totally fictional OR if he should make this a more realistic story about people's lives that is more based in realism.  Being stuck was not for me. Again, it's not a bad read but just not sure it's worth the effort to get through this long read.

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