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FREEDOM a novel ~Jonathan Franzen



I was definitely not going to read this book. I was definitely not going to do a book review. I just felt that Opera had given this author and this book enough publicity. What would I say that would make any difference to someone who might want to read the book?

Then again I kept hearing a little voice in the back of my head which kept reminding me about how much I enjoyed reading THE CORRECTIONS also by Franzen. I had just happened upon this book when I was out of town, had never heard of it, and thought it looked interesting. I had time why not? A month later Oprah announced that THE CORRECTIONS was the new book for her book group. I thought it was a very good choice on her part, a book written by a very good writer and I was disappointed when he would not appear for the discussion section.  I have read this book 3 times just because I enjoyed it so much.

FREEDOM was released; Oprah announced that Franzen would be on her show and that she was choosing this book as her summer read. Then President Obama purchased the book for his summer vacation and that made the news. I read four or five very good book reviews online, about this book. Several of my reading friends made pointed comments referring me to this book.

When my family goes cross country skiing, I love to have a big read available. I just adore curling up and deeply engaging with characters and stories that transport my imagination. I went to the blog site BOOK SNOB and looked up her top five reads for 2010. I selected her top book A VISIT BY THE GOON SQUAD by Jennifer Egan as my vacation read. I absolutely detested this book, though I read it cover to cover. My heart and imagination needed a great story; I downloaded FREEDOM onto my Kindle.

Franzen has the remarkable ability to create characters which are prototypes of five or six different individuals. His characters are of my generation and they encompass so many of the important concepts of this generation they portray. He is a remarkable storyteller. The author’s words put you right in that neighborhood, into that work experience, and truly into that characters mind set. We were all truly going “somewhere” and were going to save the world.

I would highly recommend this book and I do think having a book group to discuss it with would make it even more powerful. I would caution that if you have folks who do not finish a book for your book group don’t discuss this book, which is the route I am taking with my own book group. It is a long book, it is a fascinating read, and one needs to read from start to finish, to comprehend the disillusionment and the recovery of a generation.

Redemption – now there is a good word.

This book is also about money, politics, and ideals all mixed up together until they produce corrupted outcomes. I think if I were not such an avid reader and I had not read extensively about the environment, history, politics, and human actions I would not have been able to approach the depths of understanding available in this fine story.

This is a story about the East Coast of the United States and although it applies in certain circumstances to the West Coast, forcing most environmentalists to go underground with their work — good works are less corrupted by the lords and ladies of the empire in the Pacific regions. It is a foghorn.

I did not pick out any quotes, I did not reveal the steps of the story, and I don’t intend to reveal the plot and its many psychological variations. I believe this to be a great read, a worthy read and there are many “spoiler” reviews online. I will just say if you want to read a remarkable story written by an excellent writer that captures a generation’s rise and fall, this is a story for you.

I rate this book 5 5-Ladybugs

More about Jonathan Franzen

Did you read some exceptional stories on your vacation? Have you read this book? Have you ever felt like you did not want to read a book because it was so popular? Do you like to discuss stories that you’ve read? Would you recommend a great read that you enjoyed to us?

Looking forward to your great comments; I read and appreciate each and every one.

Related reading you might also enjoy:

I Love This Magazine
The Help by Kathryn Stockett


19 Responses to “FREEDOM a novel ~Jonathan Franzen”

  1. Talon Says:

    I haven’t read his work, Patricia, so I really appreciate the review.

    I haven’t had any time to read lately – just little snatches that aren’t as satisfying as curling up and really having an hour or two with a fabulous book.

    I’m hoping time allows me to catch up with my reading…my night table is stacked with books that all clamor for my attention :)
    .-= Talon´s last blog ..Chill =-.

    Patricia Reply:

    This is a great big good read – I will read it again.

    I forgot to say that no on paid me anything for this review and I did not receive a free book. I just did it because I wanted folks to know my responses

    I have stacks of books too again, and on my Kindle….I do want to read more right now and there just is not time…

    Thanks for your good words.

  2. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    Although I tend to prefer books by female authors these days, this does sound like a great book. Thanks for the review!
    .-= vered | blogger for hire´s last blog ..40 is Good- In Fact Very Good- So Why Are Women Led To Believe It’s Bad =-.

    Patricia Reply:

    I would say that most of the books I read are by female authors right now too and that Dave Eggers might be my biggest exception to that trend. I am so glad I read this book though, it was a great read and just perfect for the season. Male authors seem to be able to create caricatures of human behaviors better than women are – Franzen seems to be near genius at it – meaning that one can truly identify and recognize the human actions, and yet they are not exact replicas of people you have met
    One would not be able to say: “This fellow was the President Bush philanthropist style character.”

    The story is well crafted. I think you would find it worthwhile – What were those baby-boomers attempting to do?

  3. J.D. Meier Says:

    > if you want to read a remarkable story written by an excellent writer that captures a generation’s rise and fall
    Now that is a something to sink my teeth into.
    .-= J.D. Meier´s last blog ..Five-Minute Thinks =-.

  4. Patricia Says:

    Yep JD – this is a powerful read

    He did not capture the women so well, but he certainly shared a generations life. Let me know what you think- I look forward to that

  5. Tess The Bold Life Says:

    I’ve not heard of the book. But then I’ve been out of the loop for a few months. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Happy New Year!

    Patricia Reply:

    Fabulous book Tess and I would love to discuss it with you after you read it…oh that would be fun.

    This was not a paid book review – I just read this book and reviewed it on my own FYI

  6. Barbara Swafford Says:

    Hi Patricia,

    I heard about this book on Oprah and even flipped through the pages of it at Costco, but due to the fact I have a stack of books I haven’t read yet, I decided to put this on hold.

    After reading your review of it, it will definitely be one I read in the future.

    Thank you!
    .-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..Finding Your Blogging Voice =-.

    Patricia Reply:

    I think this one will be a classic about the baby boom generation. Franzen can truly create a composite character that feels like a real person – amazing writing and the story will have historic relevance I am sure.

    Keep it on your list, but read some other things first…I am going to write about some lighter reads next week.

  7. Mandy Allen Says:

    Hi Patricia, Happy New Year to you. The last book I read I bought for the long flight home from America in October. It was Dewey, the library cat, and I loved every page of it.

    Enjoy the journey.


    Patricia Reply:

    Oh Mandy Dewey sounds fabulous…I have just added it to my reading list and will pass it on to Library Girl. I just love a good book

    You were going from America to where? I am very curious now

    Mandy Allen Reply:

    I live in the UK and visited USA twice last year, March and then for a month in September/October. It was fabulous!
    .-= Mandy Allen´s last blog ..A New Year Begins =-.

    Patricia Reply:

    Thank you Mandy for filling me in – I visited UK in 2009 and am hoping for another visit in the future. Checking out your book choice now!

  8. Sara Says:

    Patricia — This sounds like an interesting, but an “in depth” read. I will look it up and I thank you for the review:~)
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..Guilt- A Poem =-.

    Patricia Reply:

    A excellent read Sara and I am glad we got connected. I think you will enjoy it – just for the writing but it is so much more.

  9. Heather Todd Says:

    Great read Thanks for sharing

    Patricia Reply:

    Thank you for dropping by and your nice words. I could not believe how much I enjoyed this book, I tried to reflect that in my write up.


  10. Cradle to Cradle Design Concepts by Architect William McDonough | The Biking Architect Says:

    […] Just watching this video talk I understand why  Jonathan Franzen picked coal and birds as the compromise issue in his best seller  FREEDOM. […]