Friday, May 13, 2011

there, but for the grace of odin...

i'm reading jonathan franzen's freedom. like when i read the corrections, i am totally unable to put it down. and what's odd, it's not because i adore the characters. actually, i don't really like any of them all that much. patty, the main female character is self-absorbed, not at all self-reflective, selfish and generally i hope everything completely falls apart for her. her husband, walter, inexplicably adores her, but needs to just get on with it and have a proper affair with his assistant, because he deserves some modicum of happiness. the son is a complete asshole. the daughter, invisible. really pretty unlikeable all of them.

but i can't put it down. it expresses so much about the midwest, about the american middle class, about american culture, about what i saw and experienced growing up. about the people i knew. about the life i left behind. about the wrong life i didn't want to live, but was on my way to. franzen brilliantly and succinctly captures all of that. it's like he knows me, the innermost, most secret me.

and i can't stop reading it. even tho' i'm not that person anymore. somewhere inside, she's still there. and squirming like crazy as we read this book. but she's also grateful we changed course (and country).


9 comments:

Delena said...

I read that book too. I found it hard to put down also. The wife is really strange and I agree the son is an asshole who really is not like either his mother or father. I found the first part of the book better and then it became boring and finally picked up again near the end.

Andi said...

I gleefully put this one down just last night (55 pages in) because I wanted to stab the book and all its characters with a sald fork. A lot.

Just too much angst and dysfunction for me. Franzen's writing is pretty enjoyable overall, I just didn't find it an enjoyable reading experience.

Andi said...

Salad fork even. As opposed to the infamous sald fork. Arrg!

Sandra said...

Now I need to read it to see if I am living that life. I am living in the region.....

rayfamily said...

I looked it up & it is now on my list to read...thanks! :)

celkalee said...

What I discovered about myself after reading this book several months ago, I am so normal!

Me said...

Merci

mrs mediocrity said...

I haven't read it yet, but just finished my Hemingway Project and it is on the top of my list. I loved The Corrections, although I felt much the same way about the characters. But he is an incredible writer. And yes, that is how you know it was a great book, when you truly miss it when you have finished.

Bee said...

I was completely fixated by this book, but it left Simon cold. I wonder if an American just "gets" it that bit more.

It has permanently changed my thinking about cats/birds . . .