Friday, January 7, 2011
Week 1: Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen
This book is the latest selection for my book club. Also, it's a pretty long book. Those two attributes helped me to decide that this would be the first book of the year. I'd get my book club reading done, and by reading 562 pages in a week, I'd be preparing for a lot of upcoming reading time. This book has gotten a lot of hype, so I had somewhat high expectations upon opening it. It did not disappoint - this book is awesome. This is the story of a slightly dysfunctional family as they all struggle to figure out who they are and who they are becoming. There are segments of the book devoted to each family member's perspective and the reader becomes acquainted with each of them. Franzen is a great writer. He blends beautiful, elegant phrases with supreme readability. He does a great job of capturing ordinary moments and human emotion, with both tenderness and humor. Relationships, whether romantic or familial, are captured so effectively that I suspect anyone who reads this book will empathize with at least one of the characters. It will make you reflect on the nature of family and friendship and parenting, and how to be better at all of them. It will make you wonder what you'll be like when you're older, and you'll find yourself thinking back to past years and how you were shaped as an adult. All in all, this was a GOOD BOOK.