This month our book club is discussing Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.
I'm not sure who picked this book but I can't wait to thank her. I'm not sure I would have picked it up if it hadn't been on the Book Club list.
First of all, it's gotten a lot of hype. Second of all, it's really big (almost 700 pages).
But I really enjoyed it. It is deserving of the hype. It was very easy to get into and the writing is very beautiful and accessible. I found the story engrossing and entertaining.
Basically, this is the story of a complicated, often unhappy marriage. The characters seemed very real to me and the portrayal of the marriage was straightforward and deceptively entangling. It would be hard for me to explain exactly what went wrong between these two, although I know EXACTLY what went wrong. I think its that way in most things. There aren't very many people who break up who can point to one thing, one distinct reason as to why their relationship didn't work. Lots of little things pile up or were never right to begin with. So it is here.
I like that the characters (Walter and Patty, if you'd like to know their names) eventually find their way back to each other and that the novel ends on an optimistic note.
As a little aside, I also want to mention that portions of Freedom take place in southern West Virginia. Immediately, the hair on the back of my neck stood up and I prepared myself to be offended. However, I have to say that Franzen got it really right. And I think I'm a pretty hard critic in such matters.
So five stars from me on this one.