Book Review: Freedom

FreedomFreedom by Jonathan Franzen

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Freedom is the story of Patty and Walter Bergland, suburbanites living in St. Paul, Minnesota with their two teenage children, Joey and Jessica. Their life is not even close to as perfect as it seems to outsiders. Patty is depressed and dissatisfied with her life with Walter. As part of her therapy, Patty writes her autobiography, detailing the sexual assault she suffered in high school and her life in college as a star athlete where she met Walter and his best friend Richard the rock star. The Walter/Patty/Richard love triangle starts in college and continues throughout the rest of their lives in the book.

This book was a chore to get through. All of the characters had such bleak lives with no fun or happiness in them at all. I don’t mind reading about characters with sad lives but I found it unrealistic that every character in this book had basically joyless lives and no redeeming qualities. I also found the political messages in the book very heavy handed even though I agreed with most of them. The flow of the story was interrupted with editorial style political commentary.

I really liked The Corrections when I read it nine years ago so I had high hopes for Freedom. Unfortunately, it just didn’t measure up.

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