I laughed, I cried ... And just about everything else, but I was never bored.
The book examines the life of a group of people who personify modern American Homo sapiens.
The story vomits up the underlying restrained desperation of a lost generation in the last century of a dieing Empire.
5 STARS +, One of the best books Audible has to offer in my opinion.
I couldn't stop listening to it. Great purchase for a long drive or for working out. I am curious to know, though, why the New York Times book review called Franzen a genius. It's true that it gives life to recent events and to characters we are familiar with-- and yet, I left the book feeling empty.
This is the latest in a relentlessly tiresome genre -- no plot, just people-watching, and self-absorbed bores to boot! Following the activities of pathetic people does not a good journey make. Unless you're interested in watching a bore discover how shallow she really is, skip this, and in my opinion, skip all the authors who think that whipping back and forth from the perspective of one character to another is the clever new norm. It's not new anymore; in fact, it's passe, or should be.
Although I heard the entire book and did find many part interesting I think I missed the point of the book - assuming there was one. I don't think I would recommend this to any of my friends unless they were desperate for an audible.
Oh how I hated the characters. I kept listening hoping for a likable soul or an epiphany for one of them. One of my book club members wanted to read this for our club...an emphatic NO from me
I picked this book to listen to on a cross country flight. I bought the book due to numerous positive reviews. I was about halfway through this book at the end of the flight and could not bear the thought of continuing any further. I found not a single character to be interesting or engaging. I kept waiting to discover a story or plot but never did. It seems to be a series of one conversation after another by people that are of no interest to me. I understand that the book has a great ending and that many things come together at the end. I could not bring myself to spend any more time on this book to see if that was true. I found another book for the return flight and am so glad I did.
Only reason I keep listening is that I paid good money for it. I'm ashamed of myself every time I turn it on.
Do you read the book before you dislike my reviews?
"Freedom" by Jonathan Franzen is more like a conversational piece than a stand alone read. In order to fully understand what is going on, this book needs to be read in a group setting. It's too hard to get through this book without discussing with others about their opinions. After talking to my friend, and listening to her observation, I started piecing the different characters and saw how the family was starting to form as what they are now. Very much like a TV reality show, the Berglunds are a dysfunctional bunch.
Each characters have their own side project going on with no real central plot to steer the reader. It is just a whole a lot of nothing, much like real life. At the end, I started to enjoy "Freedom" because most of our lives are pretty much the same as this book. There are only a few high points in our lives and the rest is dull and routine. If it wasn't for my friend's perspective, I would probably not had liked this one, but this book was meant for a book club to decipher.