Book Review: Freedom by Johnathan Franzer

Let me start off by saying that I think I am too young for this book. Last week, computerless and with my boyfriend’s family in Kitchener, I hunkered down with the 550-plus page Freedom after both of Nate’s parents sung it’s praises. Although overly lengthy and in need of some editing, Freedom lived up to its reputation of being very well written. From everything I’ve read, Johnathan Franzen sounds like an arrogant prick, but in some ways he has every right to be. The scenes flow well, the characters are developed (all but one, where was the section from Jessica’s POV??), so on an so forth. However, if Freedom is considered the modern “great American novel,” I’d rather live in Siberia than live in the America depicted in Freedom. The people are selfish and self serving, they whine and complain, they use others for their own benefit, they seem oblivious to their effect on nor the obvious plight of those around them. They have zero redeeming qualities. Their lives have not been what they planned them to be and thus they are allowed to become horrible people? At least Serena‘s cold drive was somewhat offset by her ability to succeed in a man’s world. I appreciate Franzen’s message, that we should be free to be who we are and stop pretending to be something we are not, but I refuse to believe that given this “freedom” most people would turn out to be this deplorable. How do you move forward from such a diagnosis on your country’s psyche? Like I said, I think I am too young (I’m sure some would say naive) to really understand this book, but I also think that maybe that is a good thing.

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