Freedom, Jonathan Franzen


I told you I was getting on a Franzen reading kick and it continues with this long novel on the Berglund family. From the voice of Patty Berglund, a star college b-ball player who get’s injured for good, wants to keep winning, so she marries the nicest guy in Minnesota who worships the ground she walks on in order to try and live a bigger and better and more interesting life and house than anybody in her family. She continually gives Walter (her husband) the impression that she wasn’t comfortable having him around, rather she was in love with his roommate, a punk rocker named Richard who treats women poorly and could care less what anyone thought. She tries for one last fling and get’s rejected, so she moves on to safe and loving Walter. They have two kids, and conflicts insue of course. They cover topics on the free market, the rights in our country being not rational, levels of emotion, class resentments, backstabbing, lost love and friendships, crisis at home and abroad, right and left wing crazies spewing lies, anew ecological disasters on a daily basis unfolding in the global endgame, the outside world closing in on them and everyone. Death ensures and like us all some become more determined to hold on to what little of someone else they still had. Walter’s pontification on population growth killing each other in competition over finite resources, wiping out every other living thing along the way… i.e. humans have become a cancer on the planet. Things do way wrong in the relationship as to be expected… I won’t reveal whether they get back together. In the end it doesn’t matter, or does it?