Welcome friends! I have started this entry in the global technosphere because I have been in love with books since the age of 2. Among the busy business of being a new teacher, this is my outlet for sharing thoughts on a love of reading a wide variety of books. My inspiration can be summed up with a yearbook quote from a teacher written when I was 8: "To the only girl at recess I see reading a book. Good for you!"
My blog title is quoted from a classmate who asked me this once. Believe it or not, I've also heard it as a teacher :D

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Freedom- Jonathan Franzen

Purchase:  Amazon | Chapters
Published:  2010
Length:  562
ISBN:  9781554688838
Genre:  Literary Fiction

Start Date:  Oct. 6, 2010
Finished Date:  Oct. 13, 2010 (up to page 204)

Where Found:  Chapters-Indigo
Why Read:  Heard good reviews, thought The Corrections was interesting, and was willing to try another Franzen book.

Summary:  The disintegration of a dysfunctional family is analysed from events occuring prior to the marriage of the basketball player turned housewife Patty and the meek, politically correct Walter, and "mistakes made" during their marriage with their prodigy daughter and Young Republican son, with neighbors, former lovers, and friends all playing a role.


I give up.  I reached a breaking point and decided enough is enough.  I only have so much patience with a book, despite its impressive array of reviews, that I simply cannot withstand another word.

If you did not like The Corrections, do not try Freedom.  It is barely discernable in style and in substance.  I finished The Corrections because it was for a university course and I felt obligated to see it through.  At first, I felt the same about Freedom, but could not keep from feeling utter disdain and contempt for the most unlikable characters I've ever read.  There is no liking them--not a single one.  How can you read a book without feeling a modicum of sympathy, delight, or friendship, unless it's Macbeth (and I honestly didn't like that much either!)

What's interesting is the mixed reviews on Amazon (not a reliable source, mind you, but a snapshot of the general public's reception to the novel)--as of now, there are 107 5* reviews and 83 1* reviews, the others falling lower in numbers.  Quite the polar opposites of opinion, wouldn't you say?  It strikes me as odd that a novel can fall into either the "love it" or "hate it" category with no option for in-between.

I'm hoping to get a refund or exchange at Chapters as this is a "Heather's Pick."  Hope so...  I've always been reluctant to buy a brand-new hardcover book, but now I'm convinced that it's not worth it.  I'm going to wait for paperbacks from now on.  Why risk it?

Rank:  (D)- Did Not Finish, Don't Recommend


  1. I'm sorry you couldn't finish it, but it sounds like why I bailed in the first 20 pages is the same reason you did later on.

    At least I know I'm not the only one out there ...

  2. Man, this book has gotten so much hype. I am glad that I read your review before launching into this book. Whew!

    Also: Tag, you are it. I have tagged you for this fun little activity. Feel free to do it or not.

  3. I hated The Corrections so your review does not surprise me. What is it with his books? Is he just SO brilliant that it goes over his reader's heads? I sometimes wonder about that. I mean, if I was an author I would want lots of folks to read my books, and it just seems as if he caters to a very small circle of readers.

  4. I'm really beginning to get annoyed with the new modern novel about the dysfunctional family. I've read (or at least started) a few of them now, and they're all the same: horrible characters, almost no plot, and pretentious writing just for the sake of being pretentious. They aren't usually even realistic, but then they aren't really satire either. They don't really make much sense, but then if you don't understand them it's just because they are too "profound" for you. I swear, they're like the hipsters of the literary world. Franzen is the worst of them, and his whole attitude of only wanting certain worthy people to read his books just makes it worse. This is one popular book that I am perfectly happy to skip.