I have done my best to slog through this book. Life is too short--I give up. The story moves very slowly, most of the characters are unlikeable and uninteresting. And the narrators attempt to speak in women's voices is profoundly annoying. Just a bad choice for this listener.
The author is certainly a master of writing literature, the reader with his many voices is awesome, however I wish I had purchased the Abridged version. Too many pages devoted to unbelievable characters and situations. It seemed every single human drama was covered in this book; from sexual abuse to infidelity to world population, politics, pollution, religion and everything else in between. Even Saddam was mentioned.
I found particularly annoying the author insistence to end phrases with a preposition.
I say that I wanted to like this book with the very real human dramas but if the author wanted to annoy the reader he certainly succeeded.
DO not reccomend.
I only started this book because Oprah recommended it. The characters and narration bored me from the beginning and then it got worse. I decided I didn't want to waste any more "life" hours listening to this book. I gave it at least 12 hours since I had paid good money for it but once I made the decision to move on, I felt so happy! I downloaded "The Help" and felt enriched by that listening experience. I will definitely read more reviews before choosing my selections in the future.
I listened to 2/3 of this book, and wonder why I even bothered to keep listening. It was so boring, and the language got worse and worse, and I got so sick of these characters. I never did get a plot to the book. The characters were boring and whining and I decided I couldn't finish--which I have never done with an audiobook.
I have listened to many books on audio and have never felt the need to write a review before, but this book was just awful. I made it through the first two parts (just) and cannot press play to start the third. So many words, the women in the story sad, pathetic and outright mean, the men selfish and thoughtless. Where did you go wrong Jonathan Franzen? Take a look at Tinkers before you start your next book, less is almost always more and shows the skill of an author.
Bloated and boring.
While I fully give Franzen his props for generally being a fantastic writer, the characters in this book made me want to end all contact with humanity. I don't mean to "pick", but Walter's continuous diatribe against American consumerism resulted in me wanting to punch him in the face......if he were real. I was about 2/3 of the way through the book before I had that icky feeling that the book itself was a big "middle finger" to the general American populous. Ever since Franzen's beef with Oprah over "The Corrections", I've had a sneaking suspicion that he generally loathes the readers who buy his books. "Freedom" effectively confirmed that, and by the end of the novel, I couldn't care less what happened to Walter, Patty and Joey. I really just wanted to buy an SUV and a pack of Chiclets.
I've tried again & again to listen to this book (mostly because my "reading" friends recommended it) but I find the narrator's sarcastic, sing-songy tone absolutely unbearable. I had a solid, three hour block of alone-driving time today, plugged in (I'm about a third of the way through), and, after less than five minutes, switched to channel surfing the radio. I'm not usually a quitter, but I give up.
While it is a true reflection of American upper middle class psyche of the last 30 years, it is an arduous
read. Chapters and chapters of introspective self indulgence. The reader, David Le Doux was wonderful and made it all bearable.
When I started listening, and then listened some more, I couldn't shake the fact that I felt that instead of watching an afternoon soap show I was listening to one. Was it well written, yes. Were the characters interesting, yes. However, one cannot liken this, or categorize this, as a Classic. Could I see these characters in my friends and family, yes. I've been an audible customer for years and this book was not worth my time or money. Meaning, I didn't sit in my car waiting for a chapter to end or, at the end of the book said "that was great". I was actually glad when it ended.