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Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

This is Franzen's fourth novel, but only the second that I have read. I read The Corrections quite some time ago; however I picked up this novel not because of The Corrections (because, quite frankly, I don't remember too much about that novel) but because I've heard about this novel all over the place, from NPR to the Times.

Franzen begins by introducing us to his main characters - Walter and Patty Berglund - who are living in St. Paul, Minnesota in a run down part of town. They have purchased a home that can only be called a fixer upper. They seem to be a perfect couple - Walter works and is a sensitive husband to Patty, who stays at home, raises her children and makes staying at home her profession. And she does it well. The novel takes place in the years just following the September 11 attacks. Walter's son, Joey, is Patty's favorite and she becomes the classic helicopter parent to such an extent that she literally drives Joey away - he begins to sleep with the neighbor girl (Connie) and ends up living with her family because he can't stand to be in the same home as Patty.  Jessica is his sister. The story focusses on the questionable choices that each of Franzen's characters make.

I really enjoyed this book - it was a pleasure to read, even in my currently sleep deprived state. Franzen's prose makes it so easy to enjoy this book and to strive to read the entire 500 pages in one sitting.  The characters were well drawn and in depth.  It was a wonderful book to read.

Must add to your collection. I have an extra copy if anyone wants.  Please email me at mkowalewski[at]gmail[dot]com if you would like it. First one to respond gets it. Please include mailing address.


  1. Melissa, I love reading your reviews. I am currently reading this book, but I think it will take me a bit longer to get through it than it did you. I don't know how you get through so many books so quickly, and now with a new baby!


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