Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wednesday's Book

Freedom, A Novel
by Jonathan Franzen

Much was written about this book when it first came out last year to great reviews. I read it a while ago and enjoyed it, but have since found myself unable to get enough of a grip on it to talk about it here. I read Jonathan Franzen's  earlier book, Corrections, also much loved by critics, but not by me. I could not relate to it at all. I looked up a few reviews on and found that the average reader was not nearly as enthralled by either of these books as were the critics.

Freedom is a long novel that wanders all over the place as it follows the life of an American family, named Berglund – yes the husband, Walter,  is of Swedish descent, and much of the book takes place in Minnesota. A large part of the book describes his wife Patty as she strives for perfection early in her marriage. It covers her college years and later how she changes: Her regrets of what she perceives as missed opportunities, her anger and depression as the couple struggles with their family and their lives. Her husband changes too in ways that are difficult to understand. Also included is the story of the couple's son, which does not make sense, and to me does not add anything of value to the book. There are issues raised of mining,  evicting people from their land in order to blow tops off mountains, using a small bird and the threat of overpopulation as a sort of cover for this. At least that how I saw what happened. 

The book did something for me though: It helped me understand what freedom means to many Americans, something that I have never understood before. I will not get into the details of this new understanding here because the issues raised are complex and I want this to be a simple blog about country life. What this book does very well, I think, is to  remind the reader that freedom can be a burden and liberty brings temptations. 

If you are interested in reading this book, I suggest you go to and read a few reviews first. I enjoyed the book very much, it gave me something to think about, but I found it to be not as great as the reviews I read in magazines last year.


  1. Inger - this was a great review

  2. DeanO: Thanks, I wasn't sure about that.

  3. Thanks for the book review. I'm always looking for a good read and am hesitant about getting a book I know nothing about.

  4. I read a book to be entertained, amused or educated. This one sounds like too much work.

  5. I'm kinda with Fishducky. There are too many books out there and I've long passed the time when I need to read something for some sort of deeper meaning, and possibly report on it. I just like a good read. Something that isn't too deep. Something I can drop and pick up again easily.

  6. Thanks for this review. I have thought of reading this before, but just haven't gotten around to it.

  7. Good review, Inger. I think maybe it sounds like work too. Thanks!

  8. "Corrections" turned me off of him as an author. I could not understand the rave reviews he got. So when I saw this work, I passed it by.
    However, your review may have me rethinking the book.
    Thanks for the honest review.

  9. Thank you so much for your comments. I am really happy when someone comments on these the most difficult posts for me to write. The book wasn't difficult to read, just difficult to digest once you had read it.


Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


Related Posts with Thumbnails