Freedom by Jonathan Franzen (2010)
Fiction. Recommended by my friends Amy and Joanna, read it with my friend Victoria, and Oprah's most recent book club pick.
So...I was really disappointed in this book. I have never read Jonathan Franzen before, although he is critically acclaimed. There has been a lot of hype about his latest work of fiction and, really, I just didn't get it. I thought it was often long-winded and boring; often trying way too hard, and my overarching feeling is that the book couldn't decide what it was about, or rather Franzen couldn't decide what he wanted the book to be about: freedom, environmentalism, war politics, family dysfunction, depression, love, feminism, religion, overpopulation, capitalism, and on and on. By choosing to comment on so many issues, I felt he actually didn't tackle any of them in a meaningful way. I didn't find any of his characters to be sympathetic, and really only liked 1, maybe 2, of them even a little bit (and they were the most minor characters!). His writing is definitely intellectual and even though I don't consider myself to be anti-intellectual, I just couldn't stand it. The book is quite long and I read it quickly in two days because I just wanted it to be over so badly. I actually wouldn't recommend this book, except perhaps to people who already love Franzen because maybe they get him in a way that I don't.