2012, book 1: Freedom, Jonathan Franzen

Posted on 04.01.2012

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My friend Deb loaned me this book on New Year’s eve. I’d been meaning to borrow it from her for a few weeks, possibly even months, but we’d just kept forgetting about it. So I finally got to start reading it as I sat on my couch on January 1, recovering from a gluten overload the night before.

I’d read a lot about this book before actually reading it, but I still wasn’t prepared for the monster of a story that I got myself into. This book is HUGE, both literally and figuratively. It took me 4 days, which feels like ‘a long time’ compared to other books that I’ve read. In my own defense, I spent my days doing fun things like taking photos and walking the city with a friend, so of course it took longer.

Admittedly, a story about no less than 10 different people (more than that, actually) should be a long read, especially when it spans a lifetime. So it was worth the long read. I really enjoyed reading all of the different points of view, and it was really easy to have a small bit of sympathy for everyone (minus Abigail, who I kind of despised for the entire book). It was also really easy to identify with a lof of the things that were going on in the characters’ lives. It was easy to understand all of the characters and their differing viewpoints.

If you’re down with reading something that feels like actual, real, dysfunctional life, then this is a great book. If you want action and Steig Larsson all the time, don’t read it. It’s a slow build story. A really great slow build story. I might have to read more from Franzen, when I’m between art history and Shakespeare books.

If any of my readers can recommend which of his books to read next, I’d appreciate it. I imagine there are a few of his at the library.

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Posted in: books