Freedom, Jonathan Franzen

Images Amazon delivered Freedom to my door the first day it was released, in hard copy.  I consumed all 576 pages over the course of a few weeks.  There has been plenty written on this book but I can't help but chime in.  Bottom line, it's brilliant.  Not a word goes wasted.  Each section intertwines with the next as the book follows the life of a Minnesota family.  A family living in our present world.

What is incredible is that Franzen doesn't miss a beat on anything.  From the alternative music concerts to the lives of birds to politics to describing rural areas turned into large high end housing developments. 

He writes about each character in such depth.  Following each one of them through their lives as they walk down the path of life making good and bad choices based on who they are and the life they believe they deserve to lead.  Each seeking freedom differently.   

As you read page after page until the very end you understand how every piece of the book connects and why he made those choices as an author.  This is one of those books that should be read years from now in English Literature courses at college where the students can decipher each character and discuss human nature in the year 2009. 

It is dense but a worthwhile read.  My brother finished the book a day before I did and texted me that I must call him when I finished.  I did and we had a quick 15 minutes discussion about the characters and the brilliance of the book as it related to the expectations of people today. 

Here is what my brother wrote which is spot on:  If there is such a thing as a great American novel this may be it. It
encompasses the last decade of the American socio-cultural
experience through the tale of a dysfunctional mid-western family. It
seamlessly touches upon everything from indie rock and environmentalism
to war profiteering and urban gentrification. It's masterful…….

Personal freedom can't just be a solo journey, you are still connected to the world around you.  

Comments (Archived):

  1. Cookiemoo

    Freedom is Oprahs new book club pick.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I saw that. Lots of controversy between the two of them.

  2. aarondelcohen

    Joann: Jerry is totally correct. It’s a tour de force. It must represent thousands of hours of work. I need to post about it as well, I really want it to do well.

    1. Gotham Gal

      You loved it, right?

  3. davecullen

    I am loving the book so far.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I’m still thinking about it. Check out the editorial section of the New York Times today. An editorial on Freedom and what it means

  4. jomama

    Can’t wait! But I am much more frugal than you and am waiting to get the good news that it’s available for pick up at the library! I’m sure it will be a while but that’s ok because I’m in the middle of Let the Great World Spin (am not loving it at all) and have Mr. Peanut and My Hollywood checked out from the library waiting for me.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I liked Let the World Spin but didn’t love it either.

  5. Germainsteven

    Got around to “Freedom” by Jonathan Franzen. Its worth reading since it got such raves but I am in the minority of people who wondered what all the fuss was about. Its a social commentary on yuppies and the Bush years and is basically a soap opera (populated with aging yuppies/ex-hippies ). Much like Tolstoy, it is epic in its scope. The characters are well drawn and in some ways, unforgettable, yet to me, had none of the finely nuanced psychological insight and revelation as Alice Munroe does in one of her short stories. Franzen’s characters are all about description and left nothing up to the reader to imagine. I felt the characters were, at the end of the day, rather flat. It is a very clever book which is not something that I generally appreciate in novels. I’d rather watch Jon Stewart or David Letterman for that!

    1. Gotham Gal

      i totally understand. the book is absolute a social commentary of the bushyears where most characters were rather flat, simple, greedy anduninteresting.

  6. Graham

    Couldn’t agree more with you that this is a worthwhile read, it kept me gripped.You can see my comments at http://mybookyear,

    1. Gotham Gal

      hate to say it but it is a total commentary on this generation of americans.